Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Things I Learned in Graduate School and Some Advice

Things I Learned in Graduate School
  1. No matter how much I study or "think" I know, I will never be good at taking tests.
  2. Group projects are bipolar. Sometimes you learn a lot and feel accomplished, but mostly just get many headaches and want to cause some violence.
  3. Everyone has an intellectual limit - I believe it's called a learning curve. I am pretty sure I hit the learning curve about 7 years ago and have skidded along since then.
  4. The more I know, the less I realize I know.
  5. Don't get your PhD unless you really, truly love researching a subject for 5 years of your life. (Thank God I'm not getting my PhD)
  6. Undergrad is way better than graduate school in terms of the experience and the friends. As a graduate student, I pretty much knew where my classes were and where the food was.
  7. Graduate school is not like undergrad. My classmates ranged from married housewives stuck on dependent visas to full-time employees who have been in the software field for 5+ years to international students who are not living with their parents for the first time in their life. Basically, being a student is not exactly their singular identity like it was for everyone in undergrad.

Things Teachers/Professors Should Do
  1. Never make an exam worth 50% of the total grade.
  2. Always be clear on class expectations - not verbally, but written down on an actual sheet of paper or posted on Blackboard/class website.
  3. Don't hand write lecture notes on the white board. Use powerpoint or the zillion of the other tools out there available on the computer. We don't live in the 1980's anymore.
  4. Don't repeat verbatim what's on the lecture slides and then proceed to go through 100 of them. You seriously can't expect someone to learn or get any semblance of anything that way.
  5. Treat students respectfully, don't look down upon them for their lack of knowledge. If they knew it already, why would they be taking the class?
  6. Don't pawn parts of the dirty work of your research project onto students who don't necessarily understand the complexities of the 10 years of work you put into it. That does not make anyone look good.

Would anyone like to add?