PhD in Progress Podcast

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PhD 016: Mental Health Awareness and Treatment as a Grad Student

September 23rd, 2014

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[Episode card image adapted from a Flickr photo by Bhernandez, used under the Creative Commons]

Questions asked:
What is a “lifeguard”?
How did you decide to seek help?
What does help look like?
How is mental illness perceived in graduate school?
Am I alone if I seek out help?

Mental Illness Awareness Week Oct. 5-11, 2014

Resources

Do you have any experiences to share? We’d love to talk about it further in the comments on our show notes at PhDinProgress.com/16 or /mentalhealth .
You can also say hi on Twitter @PhDPodcast or e-mail us at feedback@phdinprogress.com

Finally, If you like the show so far, help us out by sharing with your colleagues and leaving an honest review in the iTunes store.

Xue9983 left a great review saying how isolating grad school can be when you’re an international student trying to learn a whole new culture, presenting research in a different language, and dealing with the ignorance and arrogance of people: “So I am glad that I found this podcast when I was struggling through those things, questioning myself and why am I doing this PhD stuff. It is a friendly and helpful podcast. Keep up the good work!”

Thanks Xue. That really means a lot to us and we hope to record an episode about international students soon.



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PhD 014: “12 Years A Graduate Student” with Parag Gupta

August 15th, 2014

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This week, Jason talks to Parag Gupta, 12th-year materials science and mechanical engineering PhD student at Northwestern University about his perspective on graduate school and learning from mistakes.

Resources:

PhD 012: Tools, Tips, and Strategies to Increase Your Productivity (Part 1)

July 9th, 2014

We have a new goal only YOU can help us achieve: we would love 50 reviews and ratings in the iTunes store. When we reach 50 reviews or 100 ratings, we’ll release a bonus outtake episode to everyone AND one reviewer will be randomly selected to either join us on the show via Skype or we’ll use his or her topic suggestion.

Productivity Web Tools for Graduate Students

July 4th, 2014

“Productivity” can be a hairy subject. The goal is to get the best results out of your time investment but not become a fully automated robotic cyborg with the sole mission of completing task after task. With this in mind, we want to introduce a few resources we find useful in our own searches to get the most out of the time we spend working and living.

Why be “more productive”? What are the pitfalls? Doesn’t it seem a little pointless?
I recommend visiting A Year of Productivity, where Chris Bailey chronicles his experiences of living out different methods of being productive. Not everything works but it is interesting reading his thoughts while living in nearly complete isolation for 10 days or drinking only water for a month.

We recommend not trying a full makeover in a short amount of time. This might cause burn out and much discomfort in your personal life. Try a method or a tool for a bit, see how it might fit into your life and your goals, then move on.

Software and Website Tools

  • Papers (34 for students) http://www.papersapp.com 

    PapersIconThis was my first PDF management program and I loved it. My friend called “iTunes for academic research”. If your research articles are all over your computer or just lazily thrown into a single folder, Papers can help you organize it by reading the metadata of the PDF files. It can rename your files (e.g. “Smith_2014”) and you can place them into different reading lists.
    The program started off as Mac only and remained the best Mac solution for a while. If there is something much better, let me know!
    The full retail price is €71 but it is 34 for students.  Again, I have not used this program for the last few years but it now available for PC and can be used cross platform with your current iOS devices.

 

  • Mendeley (free) http://www.mendeley.com/
    After I switched to my MendeleyIconcurrent Windows PC laptop, I bemoaned the fact that Papers for Windows really was not that great. However, people used Mendeley. I’m happy to say that over the last 2-3 years, Mendeley has become a MUCH better program than it was.
    Mendeley and Papers both fill the same functional role: organize and catalog all of your PDF based resources. Mendeley, however, is free. You can save your library to the cloud and then have your iPad or other computers sync with it. When I travel, now I load up on research papers and just have to bring my iPad.

 

  • Google Calendar (free) https://www.google.com/calendar/
    GoogleGoogle Calendar is invaluable. There really are way too many uses for it, whether it be tracking your work or coordinating dinner with your family.
    There are a ton of articles out there on taking advantage of Google calendar

 

  • Mint (free) https://www.mint.com
    MintPeople who are uneasy or scared about their financial situation are often distracted and cannot do their best work.Are your finances all in a mess? Do you even know how much money you have to your name? No fear, Mint’s web application (which also syncs with your mobile devices) can help set you straight.
    For me, the budgeting tool has been a great asset. By staying on budget, I cut down on the amount of choices I need to make on a daily basis, and direct that brain power towards achieving my goals.One warning: If you’re worried about much of your personal finance information being on one site, you may prefer the numerous other offline products available. I have personally not run into any trouble with Mint.com but I’m also aware that nothing is ever completely safe on the internet.

 

 

PhD 005: 3 Important Points of Advice to New Graduate Students

May 13th, 2014

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This week Jason, Nikhil, and Abigail hope to help newer graduate students by discussing what they WISH they knew earlier in their studies.

Self-management, the production mindset, and failure are the 3 broad topics we dive into for this discussion.

We mention a couple of neuroscience studies-
Chronic partial sleep deprivation:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19961/

Sleep and memory – way too much literature, but the wiki is pretty comprehensive
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_and_memory

Where does Nikhil find his best ideas?
How can you earn your secret Ph.D.?
And correct, unurgent is not a word. Thank you in advance.

 

“Ten Simple Rules for Choosing between Industry and Academia” by David Searls

May 5th, 2014

From http://www.ascb.org/ascbpost/index.php/compass-points/item/285-where-will-a-biology-phd-take-you

Throughout your grad school experience, you should constantly evaluate your path and goals. Although this article is a few years old it seems to hold up as it addresses fundamental issues when considering beginning a scientific career in either academia or industry.

In the linked article appearing in PLOS Computational Biology, David Searls outlines the 10 points of assessment vital to a strong career search.

Ten Simple Rules for Choosing between Industry and Academia

 

A Response to the “Fear of Becoming ‘Nonacademic'” post

April 17th, 2014

Our friend Fatimah PhD (see: Podcast Episode 2 and BeyondTheTenureTrack.com) sent in a great response to my Fear of Becoming “Nonacademic” post. She says:

The fear of losing your academic identity is one of the biggest challenges of considering a nonacademic career. Who will I become? How will people know how awesome and accomplished I am if I don’t tell them about my degree and research? What else can I lead with when introducing myself?Even for an avid networker like myself [more…] this question tripped me up for some time and still catches me off guard in some situations.

No one is really defined by one thing. I work as a management consultant but I also coach PhDs on professional development and career planning.

One of my colleagues is a tenure track professor and runs a nonprofit organization that promotes the health of girls in urban communities. One of my mentors, a PhD in Engineering, is a CEO of a billion dollar national consulting firm, a published author, and a public speaker. No one is doing just one thing anymore. It’s liberating!

Find the top 2-3 ways you want to be positioned in the world. For example, mine are project manager, practicing academic, and PhD Career Coach. I choose which of these to lead with depending on the environment I am in and who I want to attract to me in my networking. As conversation deepens I talk more about other areas of my profile, as pertinent.

In Episode 3, we will discuss some of our personal “2-3 ways [we] want to be positioned in the world” and what we are doing to get there. What are some of your goals for your next job. Let us know by sending a message to feedback@PhDinProgress.com

 

Would you like to receive semi-regular, non-spammy (yes, that’s a word now) updates via e-mail? Subscribe to our new e-mail list and we’ll make sure you don’t regret it. In fact, you’ll do the opposite of regret it.

PhD 002: Beyond the Tenure Track with Fatimah Williams Castro, Ph.D.

April 13th, 2014

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Thank you for supporting our brand new podcast! We’re constantly trying to improve the quality and content. In this week’s episode, Jason, Nikhil, and Abigail briefly discuss the 61% of PhDs who pursue nonacademic careers as they review the American Institutes for Research article titled “The Nonacademic Careers of STEM PhD Holders” released in April 2014.

Then they interview Dr. Fatimah Williams Castro, the PhD career coach behind BeyondTheTenureTrack.com about starting your career search outside of the academy. She will be participating in the “Beyond the Professoriate” virtual conference taking place on May 3rd and May 10th 2014. For more information go to [more…]FromPhDtoLife.com/conference 

You can find the article here: http://www.air.org/sites/default/files/downloads/report/STEM%20nonacademic%20careers%20April14.pdf

Next week, we will discuss a few strategies we’re using in our own career searches.

If you want to participate, write down 3 qualities you want in your next job or career move. Send them, along with any other comments or questions, to feedback@PhDinProgress.com or @PhDPodcast on Twitter.

Let us know what else we could do to improve your podcast experience!