grad school

DELFINO R horvath at ucsvax.sdsu.edu
Wed Jul 20 17:41:00 EST 1994


In article <199407201558.IAA02343 at net.bio.net>, ASRINIV at UCONNVM.UCONN.EDU (Asha)    writes...
>Hello!  I agree with Seanna that finding a supportive advisor is quite
>important.  It makes life in the lab and in grad school as a whole a lot
>less stressful.  I have been in grad school for a year now, working on
>my master's and my advisor is often inaccessible for even a quick question.
>When I interviewed I didn't notice it, but if I had spoken with other grad
>students in the dept. then I would have known.  I guess that is what I would
>suggest: talk to the grad students in prospective departments before you
>make your final decision.
>Good luck,
>Asha

I can't agree more.  I've actually just finished a master's in
Public Health (Epidemiology) so I'm not quite of the same background
as most of you, but I think my experience can't be too different.

I was one of those people who was quite insecure about their
abilities during undergrad.  I bailed out of a Masters/PhD
program in another science before I'd even started, because
I had convinced myself I couldn't do it.  However unfortunate
this was (since I was WRONG :))  I then was able to go out and
find a job, which was probably the best thing I could have done.
I found that, not only did the job teach me to respect my own
abilities, the fact that I was earning money and supporting
myself for the first time in my life was empowering (I live
in CA too! couldn't find a better term).  

After a few years of working I went back for my masters.  I
began this program thinking it would be very difficult and that
everyone else there must understand it so much better than me
(someone else mentioned something similar in regard to her
advisor).  However, with my new-found confidence this feeling
did not last very long, in fact I became quite frustrated
with the professors at my school.  They certainly didn't know
everything, and neither did my fellow students.  Anyway, I
managed to find a good advisor and finished my degree happily.
(At least happy to finish!).

If I continue on into a PhD eventually, I will be VERY careful
researching the advisor I want.  It is not enough that the
person has a project or research interests that agree with yours.
In fact I think that the interpersonal relationship is much
more important.  I think it would be better to work with a
group of people you enjoy, on something not so interesting,
than to work on the more interesting projects with people
you can't stand.  Finally, the importance of a supportive,
motivated advisor is especially important when you need to
get a grant to fund your research.

Anyway, sorry this is so long, but this thread got me thinking...

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horvath at ucsvax.sdsu.edu
Carol Horvath Gardner
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