Welcome to Graduate School!

Hello there!

The SGPS Orientation flyer is being mailed out, and so we’re expecting lots of new people checking out the site and going through the archives. To make your life easier though, I thought I’d summarize some of my favourite Gradifying posts. So, without further ado, here’s a very special “bottle episode” of Gradifying!

First off, you should get to know us! We’re four PhD students at Queen’s at various stages of our PhD careers in very different fields! I’ve included pictures of myself and my wonderful co-bloggers throughout this piece, but if you see us, be sure to say hi! Also, if you click on our pictures, you can see an archive of posts written by that author.

This is our Grand Exalted Leader Sharday. She's been told she holds her pens funny.

This is our Grand Exalted Leader Sharday. She’s been told she holds her pens funny.

Now, when you get to Queen’s, you’ll probably have some questions. First off, why are there purple people everywhere? What’s a “grease pole”? And, more importantly, where’s a good place to get dessert and ice cream?

Amanda is a first year PhD in Biology at Queen's. Scheduling meetings with her in the summer is tough as she's always out in the field (see pic).

Amanda is a first year PhD in Biology at Queen’s. Scheduling meetings with her in the summer is tough as she’s always out in the field (see pic).

Graduate school can be a stressful experience. We talk about maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and concerns that may arise during your PhD. First, we want you to mind your mental health. At various points you might feel like you’ve hit a wall, or you might want inspiration. You’re not in this alone; many students have approached us asking about these topics. I posted a reflection of what things were like when I was 2 years into my PhD, and I’m sure others can relate to that. While we can provide our own perspectives, we’re really hoping that this year graduate students will comment and engage with us to provide their perspectives on these common graduate student issues and concerns.

Rachel is a third year Clinical Psychology PhD Candidate. Rachel recently drove ~ 9000km across Canada, and made me very jealous with all the pictures she posted of glorious vistas and sunsets (my office has no windows)

Rachel is a third year Clinical Psychology PhD Candidate. Rachel recently drove ~ 9000 km across Canada, and made me very jealous with all the pictures she posted of glorious vistas and sunsets (my office has no windows)

We’ve also discussed various tools to help you organize your graduate life. Sharday reflected on her love of her daytimer. I’m more of a Google Calendar man myself, but each their own. In fact, one of my favourite utilities is Dropbox. I have destroyed many USB keys in creative and unexpected ways, and keeping everything online is one of the best ways for me to sync data across all the different machines I use (at last count: 4), and ensure it’s all backed up.

This is me: Atif. If you're reading a post resplendent with GIFs or funny cat pictures, it's probably one of mine.

This is me: Atif. If you’re reading a post resplendent with GIFs or funny cat pictures, it’s probably one of mine.

We’ve talked about some practical issues you might have to deal with. Applying for funding is something that comes around very VERY quickly – deadlines vary and some may be as soon as October of your first year. And so we’ve discussed how to write a personal statement, and some tips on how to make that process easier. You’ll also need reference letters or four, and knowing who and how to ask for those is something that we’ve been asked a number of times. Finally, we’ve talked about the relationship between you and your supervisor. While you’ll form many relationships in your graduate training, the one with your supervisor can be the most important, and picking one can be a stressful process. However, if you’re both on the same page in terms of work style, expectations and goals, the process will be considerably easier for you.

If there’s anything you’d like us to chat about, or if you’d like to write a guest post for us, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line at gradify[at]queensu.ca

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Posted in General, Kingston, New Students, Student Perspective
2 comments on “Welcome to Graduate School!
  1. Sharday says:

    Atif, my trusty Undersecretary of Awesome, you’ve done it again. It puts me in mind of a new school year, new friends, a new bento lunch box shaped like the head of some anime creature…it all seems so full of hope (and lunch foods).

    Wait…what’s the secret hidden hashtag?

  2. HI Atif
    Great way to start the approach to a new academic year. Going back over the archived articles from you all sent me giggling again. Don’t hesitate to use the GIFS more. My favourite was the one on Frosh week using Star Wars. Oh it is so close to that happening again!

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