First Year graduate school- Confused.
Posted 09 March 2009 - 09:51 PM
1. I have been doing my rotations in 3 labs and right now I'm very confused as to how I should go about picking labs. After joining the program I faced a problem of having very limited choices for picking my rotating labs due to the fact that some faculty decided not to take students etc. None of the projects that I have worked have been overly interesting to me. I was more involved with Microbio, research during my undergrad and the department has very limited micro reserach. I tried different areas in my rotations ie: cancer biology, etc but I have been having a hard time understand and getting comfortable with the work. I'm very kind of nervous as to how to pick my labs etc cos I will have to stay here for the next 5yrs at least and I dont want to be unhappy. Is there any advise that one could give. I'm also facing some problems with funding etc in a couple of labs too.
2. I also have been having a very hard time trying to understand research papers especially papers that are not in my area. I'm also an international student and I think that has some part to play as well. But I was wondering if any one could advice me on a method that would be the best way to read scientific papers. I have tried different ways of reading, but after trying for many many hours at the end of it I dont feel that I have understood the paper too well to carry out discussions as well as to contribute to discussions, which is very frustrating. I have a very hard time tryting to think about follow up experiments, and different methods of carrying out experiments etc and to think critically along with the paper. Is there any advise that anyone could please give on this, cos it makes me very worried about the written qualifying exam that we have to take in May and I feel that I will not be able to perform well due to the inability to understand material. Any advise on this is greatly appreciated.
thanks a lot!.
Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:43 PM
As for reading papers, go figure by figure. In fact you can understand the whole paper just by looking at the figures and reading the captions underneath them. don't bother with introduction if it confuses you. You will naturally get better over time.
Posted 16 March 2009 - 10:17 PM
If you are one of the holistic brains here, you'll need a book to make yourself a framework you can fit the papers into. Ask the profs, they usually have books.
And gradually, without worry, read up. It is a kind of foreign languange on its own.
The more you read up, the more interested you will become in the research. Anyway now, not quite getting the papers, you will choose blindly, so just pick up the lab with best atmosphere and at the same time best publishing lab.
And don't worry. Everybody's been there. Nobody expects you to get everything at your 1 year. Critical reading is more difficult than it seems, and people who can think of follow up experiments at a spot usually talk from experience.
Edited by Telomerase, 16 March 2009 - 10:21 PM.
Posted 17 March 2009 - 08:51 PM