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Thread: What are the 1st year expectations as a phd student?

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    Re: What are the 1st year expectations as a phd student?

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    I have a slightly different approach towards the question of research. In my statement of purpose and other essays, and during my interviews, I talked about the aspects of my field that I was interested in and the kind of ideas I had. After my acceptance, I talked to my professors about these ideas, I looked into their recent research and found where there was an overlap. I did not really delve into the stats methods used but tried to get a general high-level overview where their interests lay. Where there was an overlap, I sent an email in and set up times to talk on the phone/skype. I asked them to list some papers that I could read in the meantime to develop a better understanding of the material (the bibliographies in the recent papers helped a lot too). I've already started working on my project and am aiming for a conference in September. My program believes that the #1 thing they can do for their students is guide them towards publication. The professor I am working with on this paper has been instrumental in "helping me write for academia", and has constantly provided motivation, mentorship, and guidance throughout this process.

    As far as teaching responsibilities go, we are expected to teach 1 class a semester for 2 semesters starting the second year. The rest of the time the departments expects us to be in classes and working towards improving our understanding of the literature, and advancing it.

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    Re: What are the 1st year expectations as a phd student?

    Quote Originally Posted by XanthusARES View Post
    I've spent some more time thinking about this and while my original post stands, it does not include my personal opinion on the matter.

    You should do everything in your power to start researching your own ideas as soon as possible. While there are merits to jumping on a profs project, you really really should be doing your own work. The sooner you start generating ideas, even bad ideas that aren't worth pursuing, the sooner you'll learn what a good idea is. Go in on day one and plan a meeting with a professor to talk about their research and how your ideas could fit into their research path. Come with ideas, maybe write a bunch of ideas down and bring the list to them. Be prepared to get most (or all) of them rejected. But learn from the rejected. Learn why the prof thinks the idea is not worth pursuing and then adjust and be better and try again, until something sticks. Seriously this is something I guarantee you won't regret. Don't wait, act.
    This is great advice and echoes what I just posted. The whole process of learning how to develop ideas is crucial. I can't say my ego wasn't hurt when I went through my list of ideas and how the professors poked holes and rejected them. And boy, was I over the moon, when I proposed our current idea and he agreed that it would be worth researching.

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