Hi, my name is Avital and I am the LabWorm Community Manager, as well as a graduate student studying Biomedical Sciences. Doing a graduate degree really turned my mind upside down about biology, science, learning, and curiosity. There are some things that I that I have faced in graduate school that I wish I had learned while I was still doing my first degree.
Most students in the US, as well as many other countries, begin university at the age of eighteen. Suddenly, we are in a big world fending for ourselves, and no one to remind us to turn in our assignments. I remember sitting in a dark lecture hall, beginning the BIO 101 course by learning terminology like “theory” and “cells”. Four years later, and biology majors are now pushing electrons and performing PCRs. I am amazed by the quantity of information we managed to learn, but it is shocking to realize the amount of information that we are yet to learn when we start grad school.
Things I wish someone had told me back then:
1. Start research as soon as you can. Doing undergraduate research was challenging and confusing. However, this is where I truly learned the power and necessity of taking initiative when working in research, and it really prepared me to begin my masters
2. Record lectures. This might not apply to everyone. However, when I started recording lectures for my most difficult classes, it was relieving. Instead of hoping your friends took notes during the part of the lecture that your professor sped through, you can easily go back and listen to it again by yourself.
3. Have friends in your major. It is fun to have friends from other majors, especially architecture majors, with their intricate models, and music majors, with their joyful Christmas concerts. However, having a good friend by your side while you’re in the library’s 24 hour room memorizing each enzyme in the pathway of glycolysis will help you to maintain a good mood.
Of course, it is pointless to look back at my undergraduate year and have regrets about what I should have done. However, I hope that these three tips will help the future generation of students!