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24 January 2012

Graduate School Advice: Part 3 – Staying Sane and Happy

Grad school can be an emotional rollercoaster, and there are a lot of cultural forces at work in academia that don’t have grad students’ happiness and mental health as a high priority. Still, it is possible to get through graduate school while minimizing the low points, and I think things are generally getting better in the academic culture (though there is always room for improvement). This is a huge topic, so I’m going to focus on several particular sub-topics: Impostor syndrome, doubt, and guilt (a.k.a. work-life balance).

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11 January 2012

Graduate School Advice: Part 2 – Qualifying Exams

You’ve probably heard of the dreaded Qualifying Exam, but what is it like? Well, it varies a lot from school to school and between disciplines, but I can tell you what ours was like in Astronomy at Cornell. The qualifying exam (or “Q-exam”) was split into two parts for us. The first part is a written test at the end of the first year, taken along with the other first …

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