concerned grad

4700gbera at 4700gbera at
Thu Oct 5 08:39:56 EST 1995

In article <mrtour-2809951646210001 at>, mrtour at (michelle or doug) writes:
>I'm a 4th year grad student in Immunology and i'm getting rather concerned
>about my grad school career...
>essentially i cannot tell whether i am progressing or not in my work...

>my problem seems to come in the small details of experimentation
>(maybe)...i often have a control missing (but i never repeat such
>or the problem may lie in the fact that i don't have one all-encompassing
> the moment i am working on 2 projects, one peripherally and
>one which i am the sole person....neither are working particularly
>well....and i am not entirely convinced that my technique is the only


Sounds like you are hitting that midway slump...when you can't see the end
and you feel like you are never going to finish. Although, sometimes I still
feel like that, and I only have a few more months to go...

I do think it's hard to work on more than one project. I found out it was 
best for me to work on one part of my work exclusively for several weeks,
and then if I had to write or analyze data, to do that until it was finished.
I find it very difficult to switch my focus back and forth. 

I think it's also hard when your experiments aren't working. Have you  voiced
your frustration to your advisor? Maybe he/she has some encouraging words. In
my experience, I found that I would have periods of time where I felt  like I
was going backwards. (Sort of like "If I stayed home today I would have been
less behind") But then when things are working, it can go very quickly. It can
take months to get something to work right, and then just a few  weeks to
finish it up. 

Having a six year limit for housing must be tough. It's great if you can get
through in six years, but not everybody can. I don't think as grad students we
need any extra pressure to get done. 

Anyway, I don't think luck has a whole lot to do with it. Hard work, being
observant, thinking things through, and then being good to yourself and taking
a break will get you through. So hang in there, it can be done!

I hope this helps, at least a little-

Take care-


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