via ProfHacker: An Open Letter to Grad Students

The always useful ProfHacker this week features an open letter to grad students with lots of good advice for those at this stage in their careers.  Even if you disagree with the advice, the points here are worth thinking about.

Of all the points, this was my personal favorite:

Understand that you’re not locked into a particular field, project, or personality. When you arrive at grad school, you will likely have a sense of what you want to work on. After all, this is what you discuss in your statement of purpose. You’ll hear that some people change their topics or even fields, but you might think that that will never happen to you. It might not, but it’s absolutely okay if it does. Likewise, you’re not obligated to work with the faculty members you initially thought would be your mentors. Be open to the new subjects that your coursework will provide you.

I think that one of the stresses we always feel in grad school is the sense that we are locked into what we intended to do when we arrived on day one.  Grad school does not work like this.  It is always about the gradual evolution of one’s thoughts and the discovery of how a career might arise from that process.  Being open to what you find, and curious about what others are doing, is the whole point of the enterprise, in my opinion.



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