Other Stuff that you need to find time for when completing a graduate degree:

Keep up with the literature.
  • Scan a few journals in your field on a regular basis. Many are now available on the WEB and can be saved as PDF.
  • Also scan through a few general journals (e.g. Science, Nature, TINS, Current Opinions in Neurobiology) so that you have an idea where things are going.
  • Use computer searches to spot this week's/months key papers. But be focused in your search
  • Avoid the Xerox disease. Limit yourself only to those that are especially interesting or pertinent.
  • Some people end up spending more time Xeroxing and filing than reading and understanding.
Join journal clubs.
  • You need to become familiar with the broader issues that relate to your thesis work.
  • You will need this knowledge in the oral defense of your thesis and to develop as a scientist.
  • If there are no journal club in your areas of interest, get together with a few friends and organize one yourself with a few friends.
Ask questions at seminars.
  • Don't just sit there. You learn best by active participation.
  • Take a notebook along. Use it.
  • Trying to come up with a good question is a great for staying awake.
Go to the graduate club.
  • See how others students are making out.
  • Good friends are essential.
  • Being a scientist is being a part of a culture. Culture is more than movies, music art, & theater. It is exchanging thoughts. The university is a wonderful place for doing this. It contains such a variety of thoughts.
  • You will be surprised what you can learn about the brain, playing pool with an anthropologist.
Make sure to leave some unscheduled time in your regular working time.
  • Sit back and let your mind wander. You will find that this is your most important time.

Most graduate students have an inordinate number of things they want to investigate, master and do.

But you have to learn to face the fact that you can't do it all.


Copyright 1995
Tutis Vilis
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
University of Western Ontario
London Ontario Canada

Created 28 Sept 1995
Last updated 10 January 2007
Comments welcome: tutis.vilis@schulich.uwo.ca