Checklist for current graduate students
Some of the qualities and habits that graduate students should strive
to acheive are:
Finally, note that you are not alone. All you have to do is make a good
faith effort to keep up your responsibilities. Your advisor understands
the pressures of graduate student life and will not be unreasonable. In
fact if you approach your advisor, you will probably be guided so that
you can do your work more efficiently.
Have weekly meetings with your advisor and keep your advisor updated about
the work you are doing.
Be on time for meetings.
Manage your time so that you do your course work, research work, and have
a decent life.
Have a thorough understanding of all background material.
Demonstrate a deep understanding of reading material suggested to you.
Complete the work that has been assigned to you.
Insure the correctness of the work that you have done.
Insure that you show a deep understanding of the overall problem that you
are trying to solve. Note that the final results that you show are meaningless
if you (a) do not understand what you have done, (b) do not understand
the background material, (c) spend several hours of hard work and reinvent
the wheel, without realizing that there is an easy way, (d) you are not
able to communicate your results to an intelligent person who may not be
in your field.
Be curious and ask lots of good questions.
Realize that you are working to learn and learning to work; if you work
and learn efficiently that helps no one but yourself. You are not working
or learning just to please your advisor.
It is your responsibility to follow up on the recommendations by your advisor
(e.g., your advisor may suggest that you read a particular book or try
a certain software; make sure you read/try it carefully. Your advisor suggested
that book/software for a good reason.)
Make sure you remember all the recommendations that are made by your advisor
and follow up as time permits. Your advisor will remember all the recommendations.
If your advisor does not ask you the following week or the week after,
s/he may ask you 5 weeks later, at which time it is advisable to be prepared.
Come to a meeting prepared to demonstrate how deeply you understood the
work (or part of the work) you were assigned.
Know the names of all the people who are working in your area of specialization.
Know about and be familiar with all the old/current literature in your
area of speialization.
Insure that you are not reinventing the wheel.
Do not make up excuses or blame others for work that has not turned out
as well as you expected.
Be very honest with your advisor. Your advisor trusts you to make the right
decisions; if you give an opportunity to shatter that trust it will take
a long time before your advisor again completely trusts you. Your advisor
can be very patient with a slow learner but has zero tolerance when it
comes to dishonesty and academic
Attend classes and learn. The community at ISU is a close knit and highly
educated community making it an excellent place for getting to know people
and their specialities. By the same token, if you are irresponsible in
attending classes your advisor will probably get to know it.