Posted by: unlikelygrad | June 16, 2009

advice I’m glad I took: part 4

The last piece of sage advice I took when choosing a grad school came from my youngest sister.

I’d been talking to a guy I’d been considering as an advisor. His work was neat but, well, I couldn’t stand him. How hard would it be for me to put up with him for 5 years? I’ve put up with some pretty awful people in the past, after all…

My youngest sister Courtney (who fled a Ph.D. program with only an M.S. degree) said to me:

“You’ve got to pick your advisor carefully. When I first met my advisor, I thought, ‘He’s a sad, humorless man. But he’s the best in the world, so I’ll put up with him anyway.’ That was a mistake because, as I found out the hard way, he was a sad, humorless man. I would have done better with my second choice [also a well-known scientist]. I got along better with him and probably would have finished my dissertation….”

She also mentioned that I would be spending almost as much time with my advisor as I would with my husband (more, if you discount time when my hubby and I are asleep). It would be stupid to marry someone you didn’t really like thinking that “well, I’ll be able to put up with him.” You have to take the same approach with your advisor.

Her final advice to me was that:

Your choice of advisor will make or break your grad school experience.

…something I kept in mind then, and am still keeping in mind as I get ready to move to MyU.

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Responses

  1. […] course there is also a Part 4, and it is this Part 4 that I want to elaborate on in this post. If you remember, it was my younger […]


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