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*I'm a Grad Student! Now what?

Things researchers learn --that's right, learn; not things just intuitively known

Graduate School is fabulous and exciting!  But . . .it is also:

  • Challenging both in learning a new discipline and developing balance; achieving balance among work, school, and life.
    • It takes some letting go of perfectionism and developing perseverance.
    • Sleep!  You really will 'do' better when you get enough
    • Self-care: What is essential to you? Exercise? Watching TV? Draw? Zentangle? Knit? Seeing friends? Schedule time for what is your essential for coping.
  • Satisfying
    • A sense of accomplishment in gradually mastering the depth of content
    • When you feel overwhelmed remember everyone had to work to learn one's chosen discipline; no one knew the body of knowledge without your same struggle(s).
  • Unwritten expectations
    • Who knew all the other scholarly activities that are 'required': workshops, conferences, writing and publishing, networking, skill building
  • Graded differently
    • Usually fewer papers but each 'counts' more heavily.
    • Hint: strategize to make each useful in other avenues: toward your literature review, for publication (or can be revised/added to), conference presentation etc.
  • Social change
    • Grad school can be lonely
  • Financially worrisome
    • Often are (or feel) 'poor' in that every penny must count

Metacognition--what is that and why would you care?

Think about the list of 'abilities': do you already possess each?  These take reflection (and self-honesty) but likely help you grow from student to academic; student to life-long learner.

Metacognition is the ability to:

  • Think about one's own thinking
  • Be consciously aware of oneself as a problem solver
  • Monitor, plan, and control one's mental processing
    • Am I understanding this material, OR just memorizing?
  • Accurately judge one's level of learning

From: Flavell, J.H. (1976). Metacognitive aspects of problem solving.  In L.B. Resnick (Ed.), The nature of intelligence (pp.231-236). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

Reading research articles--reading to understand the content and then critique it--is a learned skill.

Below are links to several articles that will walk you through the process.  Whether the tutorial is titled a scientific or research paper, the processes are essentially the same.  The same skills will translate to non-scientific or humanities based materials.

Mary Purugganan and Jan Hewitt: How to Read a Scientific Article  (their worksheet/template is below)

Critically Reading Journal Articles

 

Turning Research Questions into Search Terms: How To and Worksheet

How to organize all your research