Image credit Avolore. Used under CC BY 2.0

So You’re Starting Grad School…

  The new school year is rapidly approaching, or has perhaps already arrived for some. As one of the resident graduate students here at EngineerBlogs, I thought I’d offer some advice to anyone embarking on the quest that is the US doctoral degree. On my own blog, I’ve offered advice about questions to ask on visits. So now that you’ve matriculated, what’s next? Accept that everyone is going to have advice, and much of it may be completely irrelevant to your department and situation. Learning to parse large amounts of information to find something relevant is a critical skill in graduate school, so consider this practice. Make sure you have all of the requirements for candidacy/graduation written down in one place. What courses do you need to take? How are your qualifying exams structured? When are you expected to achieve candidacy? In the beginning, you’re still going to have courses, but you’ll want to […]

Finishing Projects

Finishing Projects

As a naturally curious person, I find I’m often researching new subjects, learning new skills, and trying new things. (I’m sure you can relate, but Wikipedia is like a big giant black hole of time.) This typically means I have a lot of half-developed talents and unfinished projects. I actually did finish a (small) project lately, and it got me thinking about what the difference in motivation is between projects I start and finish and those I abandon. In this instance, the small project happened to be an engagement website (for myself and my new fiance! I guess this is what happens when engineers get married…) Now I wrote an article a while ago about the difference between academic vs. “real” programming, and I’d been meaning to learn some web development lately. Learning to program “real code”  was sort of a vague, ephemeral goal, but the engagement website and server was a tangible, defined thing, […]