Post information, resources, and materials that are of potential interest to graduate students here.


Doctoral Distractions - A collection of games and PhD comics

Helpful Hints

1) DEVELOP SOCIAL CAPITAL - Social capital is the currency of higher education. Your success as an academic depends not only on what you know, but also on who you know. This extends beyond just getting a job once you graduate. Surprisingly, what you will learn in graduate school also depends primarily on who you get to know (both professors and other grad students). So be social! Get to know as many professors and other graduate students in your program as you can. As Dr. Meredith wisely noted last week, “Graduate students don’t come to grad school to take courses, they come to take professors.” Find out which professors are thinking about things that are interesting to you. Discover which ones stimulate your thinking. Take classes from them. Get involved with their projects. Learn all you can from them. There will be times when you may feel that you don’t have time for such things, but it is important to make time for them.

2) VOLUNTEER - Volunteer to do things that are interesting to you—even if you don’t get paid. That kind of service often leads to tremendous future opportunities for which you will get paid. However, don’t be afraid to set boundaries—say no to things that drain you physically, emotionally, or socially. Your future learning and opportunities will depend on the relationships you cultivate with other graduate students in the program.

3) MAINTAIN BALANCE - “Campo no descansado tórnase esteril.” – Downtime and balance are absolutely essential components of creativity. Don’t make the mistake of working 24 hours/day. It isn’t necessary, and in the long run, it will be detrimental to you.

4) WRITE DAILY – Get in the habit now of spending at least 15 minutes per day doing academic writing (and try to schedule it into your routine as opposed to just writing for 15 min. sometime during the day). One of the best (read non-threatening) venues for this is a blog in which you write about the things you are reading and learning in your courses. Over time, you’ll find you can pillage your blog for course papers, and more importantly, it will get you in the habit of writing regularly so that when the pressure is on re: your thesis, you won’t panic.

5) USE TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY - Tools such as Diigo, FoxIt, and Zotero can substantially increase your productivity. Install them and begin making them part of your regular workflow.

6) ESTABLISH AN ONLINE PROFESSIONAL PRESENCE AND A PERSONAL LEARNING NETWORK - Although creating a static webpage is a good place to collect evidence of your professionalism over time, blogging, FLTEACH, Ning, Twitter, and other online tools will be even more useful to you because of what they "give back."

7) MAKE YOUR WORK COUNT – If you have to write course papers, then write for real audiences (as opposed to the professor). Try to leverage every course paper into a publication. Doing so will make the tasks feel less like hoop-jumping, will strengthen your résumé so you are more hirable when you finish your program, and if you decide to get a PhD, will significantly increase your chances of getting into a good program.

8) SEND OUT DRAFTS – Get people to respond to your work while it is still in rough stages. This helps to keep your work moving and will help you make adjustments early if they are required rather than having to start over after you’ve already invested a lot of time. It will also keep the damage that perfectionism does a lot more contained.

Grants & Funding

Academic Exchange Quarterly - Assistance-in-Kind Grants


Research Resources - A wiki I organized for graduate students at Michigan State University with links to lots of resources that will assist Master's and Doctoral students with research - chericem1 chericem1

Tech Tools