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3 qualities of successful Ph.D. students: Perseverance, tenacity and cogency

3 qualities of successful Ph.D. students: Perseverance, tenacity and cogency
What doesn't matter There's a ruinous misconception that a Ph.D. must be smart. This can't be true. A smart person would know better than to get a Ph.D. "Smart" qualities like brilliance and quick-thinking are irrelevant in Ph.D. school. Students that have made it through so far on brilliance and quick-thinking alone wash out of Ph.D. programs with nagging predictability. Certainly, being smart helps. Moreover, as anyone going through Ph.D. school can tell you: people of less than first-class intelligence make it across the finish line and leave, Ph.D. in hand. As my advisor used to tell me, "Whenever I felt depressed in grad school--when I worried I wasn't going to finish my Ph.D. Since becoming a professor, I finding myself repeating a corollary of this observation, but I replace "getting a Ph.D." with "obtaining grant funding." Update: Within a month of writing that last line, I was awarded my first three grants. Perseverance That's easy. Tenacity There are few good reasons to get a Ph.D.

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Asking for a letter of recommendation Aside: Professional correspondence Update: A few readers have asked if I have general recommendations on writing professional emails and correspondence. I do. I have an article on how to write an email. For professional correspondence, I keep a copy of Business Notes by Florence Isaacs on my desk: The illustrated guide to a Ph.D. Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge: By the time you finish elementary school, you know a little: By the time you finish high school, you know a bit more: With a bachelor's degree, you gain a specialty: A master's degree deepens that specialty: Reading research papers takes you to the edge of human knowledge:

Productivity hints, tips, hacks and tricks for graduate students and professors Contents Jump to: My philosophy: Optimize transaction costs Distilled into empirically-wrought principles, my high-level advice is: Academic martial arts: Defending your Ph.D. A good thesis proposal A proper defense begins at the thesis proposal. A good thesis proposal makes a subsequent defense significantly easier. Improve Your Google Search Skills [Infographic] Don’t limit yourself to just plugging in simple search terms to Google; check out this infographic and learn a search string search or two. You don’t need to limit yourself to searching just for simple strings; Google supports all manner of handy search tricks. If you want to search just’s archive of XBMC articles, for example, you can plug in XBMC to search our site. Get More Out of Google [HackCollege via Mashable] Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart).

Trigonometry and Complex Exponentials Amazingly, trig functions can also be expressed back in terms of the complex exponential. Then everything involving trig functions can be transformed into something involving the exponential function. This is very surprising. In order to easily obtain trig identities like , let's write and Classroom Fortress: The Nine Kinds of Students The Soldier Quiet, obedient and consistent, the Soldier charges into every assignment and stops only once enough damage is done to get the desired grade. Soldiers don't show off. Soldiers don't ask questions. Soldiers don't complain. Ph.D. Depression: Ten Tips for Staying Sane While Getting a PhD When starting this blog a few months ago, my goal was to alternate posts between those that document my struggle with PhD Depression and those that provide tips for surviving the PhD program. I didn't think it was useful to focus entirely on the negative and wanted to suggest some things that were helping me pull myself out of my all time low, which caused me to start this blog back in July. I've collected the first 10 here for anyone who's interested in getting an overview of what I said. Within each tip post are suggestions of how to go about putting the tip into practice, so click on the links if they sound interesting. As usual I'd love to hear feedback if this is useful or worthless or missing something that works for you. Without further ado...