I cry when I work

Doing a dissertation is an emotionally draining process. It is known.  I have many different ways to cope, but I sometimes find myself crying. I am not alone in this, my sister was told at the beginning of her PhD Journey that if she did not cry at least twice in her first quarter, then there …

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How to Read an Academic Paper

If you are brand-new to research, you will soon discover that academic papers should come with an instruction manual to understand. The first time I read an article, I felt like I was going to cry! I could only understand one out of ten words. At some point, I decided to blame my dyslexia and English as a …

Day 27: The Right Work Environment

Finding the right environment to work and learn is very important for anyone. Just as it is important, it is challenging. Which is why there are countless articles written about how to create a workspace that allows you to focus (see almost any article at Lifehacker, for example). I have found that I work best in three …

The Dyslexic Grad Student’s Tool Box

What do you need in order to succeed in grad school? ✓ Hard Work? ✓ Determination? ✓ Passion? ✓ Luck? Absolutely! And if you are dyslexic, you are going to need a lot more than that. This is my personal Dyslexic Grad Student Toolbox. Mac Laptop Every grad student needs a laptop. I recommend the …

Day 6: “It does not do to Dwell on Tickets and Forget to Dissertate”

I had high hopes for today. Wake up early, get Harry Potter Play Tickets, work on my dissertation the rest of the day. I was so wrong. The Naive First Attempt I woke up bright and early at 6 am, full of excitement. I got my priority email and immediately clicked it. After waiting in …

Day 1: The 100 Day Challenge

I passed my Comprehensive Exams on September 23, 2014. It has been over a year and I am STILL NOT a candidate. Sigh. There are plenty of excuses as to why: First, I had to recover. The comps process was very hard on my body and mind. I needed to get those back up before using …

Organizing what you Learn

Regardless of what you are studying, you have to consume an incredible amount of information. And you have to keep it all in order so that you do not waste time remembering something you read several years ago. When I started my PhD, I started a spreadsheet. Every paper I read (and want to remember) …

Preparing to Lead a Seminar

It is very likely that at some point during your PhD coursework, you will have to lead a seminar. Professors usually let the senior students do it first so that the junior students can see them in action. In order to prepare to lead a seminar, you need to do the following: ONE: Read all …

Surviving Grad School with Dyslexia

Earning a PHD is hard. REALLY hard. My advisor recently told me that if I ever met someone who had an easy time writing their dissertation, they were lying. This is a process that is supposed to fundamentally alter your thought processes. You become a scientist. It is exhilarating. It is hard. And if you …

What to Expect in a Doctoral Seminar

If you are anything like me, you are a professional who has been out of school for more than a few years. You might also be the first person in your family who went to college (not to mention getting a Master's degree or PhD). If so, there is little in our networks that will help …

The Basics

If you are a brand-new doctoral student, you might be wondering what life will be like. More importantly, you might wonder what you need to do to prepare. With the new academic year about to start, I decided to start this new series of resources. These are the posts that I will write over the …

Earning a PhD

The process of earning is a PhD varies from school to school. And from discipline to discipline. In a Business program, the process generally unfolds in three stages. In this post I will discuss what each stage entails, what faculty expect of you, and most importantly what YOUR agenda should be as a student and …

Always Up-to-Date: Learning Resources

This is my always up-to-date page of Learning Resources. As I navigate the PhD process, I will make sure to collect as many resources as I can. At the moment, I have collected resources for Statistics, Programming, and Writing. Last Updated: August, 2016. STATISTICS Learning the Basics Khan Academy: Probability & Statistics Khan Academy provides …

Productivity Tactic #3: Captain’s Log

I have often been told: "If you didn't write it down, it didn't happen." And I never wanted to listen. It just took too much time and effort to write things down. But when I started my PhD, I knew I would need some sort of way to make sure that I stayed on track. …

Productivity Tactic #2: Rescue Time

My computer is the source of all the things. It is both my place of work and entertainment. I connect with my family and friends and conduct meetings. I have all the papers that I am writing for my degree as well as a science fiction I have been working on. I learn by participating …

Productivity Tactic #1: Mailbox

A lot of my work takes place in a web browser. Unfortunately, that is where all my distractions happen too. In order to minimize distractions, I have been finding ways to move my work away from the web browser. Enter Mailbox for Mac. It was quite a quest to get a betacoin in order to …

Stages of Studying for Comps

Comprehensive exams are a thing of legend. Every PhD hopeful must endure the process of preparing and must survive the exams themselves. If you have not taken these exams, here is what is in store for you: Vague Awareness At the start of your PhD program, you know you will have to face comps one …

The day before comps

Tomorrow, I finally take my comps. FINALLY. Sadly, I did not get to take today off... I had so much to do before tomorrow. In an ideal world, I would have one more week to practice more questions and really memorize all the cites. Though I am not sure this will make a big difference. …

… and it continues

Since 90% of the test relies on memorization, this is all I have done today. Yesterday I focused on making flashcards for economic foundations topics. Today I practiced over and over and over until I could write out all those cites and their key ideas. My goal is to complete the sociological foundations flashcards today. …

Just studying

All I plan to do from now until the test is to keep reviewing. I am still making flashcards by hand. And I am still memorizing all the information in the tables of articles.

Grad School Wisdom

"True wisdom begins when we accept things as they are" I came across this quote while watching cartoons. It was quite unexpected. And yet it was perfect. With so little time to my comps, I am naturally stressed. Every PhD student I have spoken with describes the comps as one of the lowest and most …

The Final Countdown

My comprehensive exams are in 21 days. Just today, I was informed the source materials for the exam have doubled. Doubled! I have been enjoying my time preparing for "the last exam I will ever take." It has been a fantastic opportunity to review the material I have been exposed to, and an interesting way …

Lego Calendar

I am having a hard time getting started today. So I decided to get warmed up by writing about how I like to stay organized. More specifically, how I organize my time. The LEGO Calendar Lego Calendar Awesomeness! Why It's AWESOME It is (in my own biased opinion) the best way to think about time. …