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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. 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 To escape with a Ph.D., you must meaningfully extend the boundary of human knowledge. You can take classes and read papers to figure out where the boundary lies. That's easy. Tenacity Cogency Translations Related:  Dr. Matt Might help: Dissertation tips

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: Once you're at the boundary, you focus: You push at the boundary for a few years: Until one day, the boundary gives way: And, that dent you've made is called a Ph.D Of course, the world looks different to you now: So, don't forget the bigger picture: Keep pushing. There's a bit more below, but I also wrote a follow-up 5 years after the illustrated guide which may be of interest -- HOWTO: Get tenure. Related posts If you like these posts, then I recommend the book A PhD Is Not Enough Get it in print; fund students; save lives By request, a print version of The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D. is on sale. Click here to preview or buy it. Why biology? License: Creative Commons Resources Newest: Random: Illustrated: Functional Programming: Graduate School: Productivity: iPhone, iPad, iPod: HOWTOs: Undergraduate Computer Science: Parsing: Continuations: Compilation: Mathematics: Programming Languages: Writing: Giving Presentations: Lambda Calculus: C: C++: Scheme: Racket: JavaScript: Swift: Understanding and implementing lazinessPython: Perl: Java: Scala: LaTeX: Hacking the OS X Address Book with C, Racket and LaTeXML: Advanced programming languagesSQL: Haskell: Scripting: Lambda: Apple: Unix: Web servers: Static Analysis: Security: Hacks: Travel: Greasemonkey Hacks: Academia: Teaching: Science: Health: Gadgets: Gaming: Classroom Fortress: Nine Kinds of StudentsHome Improvement: Rants: American Airlines sucks Chronological Order:

Books and papers every graduate student should read Jump to For grad students in any field Resources for writing Writing is the default activity in graduate school. A discovery isn't a discovery unless you can communicate that discovery. A lot of academic writing is horrible, and it tends to be horrible in multiple ways: presentation, ordering, clarity, style, and sometimes even grammar and punctuation. Better writing makes peer reviewers inclined to invest time in it. On writing style, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace simply nails it. The Chicago Manual of Style is an indispensable reference: I didn't find A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations until after my defense, but it is relevant to any kind of academic or technical writing. Like the Chicago book, it's a superb reference tome. Resources for presenting (yourself) Graduate students can't avoid giving presentations. Once again, most academics give awful presentations. will make every presentation you give better at the cost of just one afternoon's reading. Practice

Wrapper for AWK providing modules | Download Wrapper for AWK providing modules software for free 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).

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: It's a valuable reference. Ask early Do not wait until right before the deadline. Don't be shy Do not be shy about asking for letters. Remember that everyone you ask for a letter once had to ask for letters themselves. I hated asking for letters because it seemed like such an imposition, and I hate to impose. Sitting on the other side of the desk, I realize that writing letters is something we sign up for with the job. Personally, I don't mind writing letters, and for good students, I enjoy it. Pick your letter-writers well If you're applying to grad school, you should seek letters from strong names in the field in which you wish to do research. Don't get n letters This will get a student an "nth" letter.

How to Write a Philosophy Paper, (c) 1993 by Peter Horban Good writing is the product of proper training, much practice, and hard work. The following remarks, though they will not guarantee a top quality paper, should help you determine where best to direct your efforts. I offer first some general comments on philosophical writing, and then some specific "do"s and "don't"s. One of the first points to be clear about is that a philosophical essay is quite different from an essay in most other subjects. Above all, it means that there must be a specific point that you are trying to establish - something that you are trying to convince the reader to accept - together with grounds or justification for its acceptance. Before you start to write your paper, you should be able to state exactly what it is that you are trying to show. The next task is to determine how to go about convincing the reader that your thesis is correct. Second, the ones that will stand out will be the very best ones and the very worst ones. Lengthy introductions.

Nintendo Gets Sued Over The Wii Ever heard of the Wavit remote? It’s totally okay if you haven’t; that’s not what this story is about. The Wavit Remote’s makers on the other hand… Well, they’ve decided to up and sue Nintendo over the Wii. Not only that, but they’ve included other retailers and manufacturers — including WalMart — in the complaint as well. Now, that’s not to say that Wavit makers ThinkOptical will get a win, but this particular court circuit tends to favor the patent holder over all else. The patent in question, U.S. “The rejection of [...] applications — assigned to Nintendo Co. ThinkOptic included two other patents in the case, as well — one called “Handheld Device for Handheld Vision Based Absolute Pointing System” (7,852,317) and the other titled “Handheld Vision Based Absolute Pointing System” (7,864,159). According to ThinkOptic, just about every part of the Wii infringes these patents in some capacity.