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How To Survive As A CSD Graduate Student Seán Slattery.

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Presentation on theme: "How To Survive As A CSD Graduate Student Seán Slattery."— Presentation transcript:

1 How To Survive As A CSD Graduate Student Seán Slattery

2 Current Survival Rates


4 Your Immediate Concerns Finding an advisor Doing some research Classes & other requirements –Writing/speaking/hacking –TA’ing Staying sane

5 Finding An Advisor: Step 1 Find faculty you might be interested in –IC Talks –Web pages –Faculty Research Guide –Suggestions from students & other faculty

6 Finding An Advisor: Step 2 Find out more about them –Ask them for a meeting –Talk to their students –Talk to their ex-students –Read some of their papers –Maybe attend a project meeting

7 Finding An Advisor: Step 3 Come to an agreement –Tell them you’d like to put them down as your 1 st (2 nd, 3 rd ) choice –Verify that they’ll ask for you too –Fill out your marriage form accordingly

8 Finding An Advisor: Questions Questions to ask: Availability – does s/he have room for you? Commitment – will s/he stand by you? Personalities – will you get along? Research style – can you do it that way? Research topics – are you interested? Resources – do you want travel and toys?

9 Finding An Advisor: Pitfalls Not getting the one you wanted Not getting along with the one you got Losing the one you got (they leave CMU) Reassurance: you can change advisors, but –Don’t do it too many times (more than twice) –Don’t burn your bridges

10 Finding An Advisor: Variations Multiple advisors –More benefits, more pitfalls –Often one has the money, one has the time –Maybe you want a non-CSD advisor –Sometimes a tactful way to transition

11 On Having an Advisor Like having a temporary parent –Invested in you, responsible for you –Sometimes that makes them act weird Communicate lots –Tell them what you’re doing –Tell them how you’re doing –Tell them what you think you need

12 More on Having an Advisor Advisors are human and flawed –Often under lots of pressure –Don’t always have great social skills –Often forget to give any positive feedback –Can unintentionally seem rude or disapproving Coping advice –When you can, don’t take it personally –When you can’t, ask for reassurance

13 Research: The Early Years What you’ll (hopefully) get out of it –Learn your own research style, and whether it meshes well enough with your advisor’s –A publication or two –Your hacking/writing/speaking requirements Doesn’t need to lead straight to thesis work.

14 Research: How’s Your Ego? Undergraduate work –Get given a task, complete it well, get praise Graduate work –Find a problem you want to solve –Get grudging support for working on it –Have to justify why your work is worthwhile Do it because you want to

15 Classes, Skills Classes –May seem very hard or very easy –It’s not unusual to fail one, nor is it a big deal –Always take more time than they should Speaking/writing/hacking requirements –Still being debugged

16 More Stuff TA’ing –Always takes way more time that it should In general –Take your advisor’s advice on scheduling

17 Black Friday - How it works The faculty meet and discuss each student Key question: Are you progressing and do the faculty believe you will finish eventually? Your advisor writes a letter giving you feedback and setting goals for next semester Jeanette signs the letter

18 Black Friday – What to do Make sure your advisor will be there, or has arranged for someone else to be Talk to your advisor about what they’ll say Give your advisor information to work with Then, stop worrying –Go back to your work –Go to the Black Friday TG

19 Staying Sane Don’t get isolated –spend time with people –talk to people about your work Remember –there’s life after CMU –there’s life outside CMU –you do this because you want to Work on something you love

20 Staying Sane: Maladies Imposter syndrome –You think you’ve been successfully faking being good enough to be here, but one day you’ll fail and everyone will scorn you –Is very, very common Best cure –Talk to other students, admit feeling that way

21 Staying Sane: Maladies Spiraling perfectionism –Your work is too trivial for anyone to care about and you freeze up Best cure –Read papers, go to talks, go to conferences, recalibrate

22 Staying Sane: Maladies Trouble and panic –Failed exam or course –Research stalls or doesn’t pan out –Fight with advisor Best Cure –Remember it happens to everyone sometime –Remember help is available

23 Resources Sharon (busy, but wise) The Ombudsperson (Shawn Butler) Your advisor Other students The CMU counseling center The Zephyr anonymoose (see the FZQ)

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