Important advice for graduate students

As I reflected back on the first two weeks and the articles we read, I realized that these were some good advice for the anyone beginning their graduate studies. So I thought I would pass down those tits and bits of information that have helped me so far.

Writing tips:

We read two articles about how to write well in graduate studies. There was one common advice repeated by both Vonnegut (2008) and Clark (1994) was the importance of writing clear and concise. The fact that we go on rambling about a topic is not appreciated in graduate school. I found the article by Vonnegut (2008)in particular very helpful in terms of writing and giving us specific advice. He talked about remembering about the audience when writing a paper as too often we forget about our audience and end up writing something difficult and hard to read with full of jargons. Vonnegut also mentioned about how the audience can portray characteristics about the writer by reading the writing.

Asking questions:

We also learnt about the importance of asking questions, even if those questions are considered stupid (Schwartz, 2008).  We are always so scared to ask questions because others might think we are stupid. Too often we miss the opportunity to find out important information and learn important lessons out of it. Even if nothing comes out of it, we can at least get an opportunity to connect to people when we ask them questions.

Similar to bike riding

Graduate school is like riding a bike. You need to try and try and endure and persist about something that you have passion about. And this passion is what keeps you going. If you persist long enough, you will achieve it, just like riding a bike. You cannot learn it in one night, you need to learn the skills of biking and only then can you keep your balance, paddle at the right time and move forward. The article by Kraft (2004) also talked about the importance of self learning and learning something through your own experience. This is similar concept to self-actualizing that Maslow (1943) talked about in his theory about hierarchy of needs. Self learning is the best kind of learning and we graduate students need to make sure that we have a good experience while we are here because at the end of the day that is all we will be left with, the experience.


Kraft, R. G. (1994). Bike riding and the art of learning. In L. B. Barnes, C. Roland Christensen, & A. J. Hansen (Eds.), Teaching and the case method. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological review,50(4), 370.

Schwartz, M. A. (2008). The importance of stupidity in scientific research. Journal of Cell Science, 121, 1771.

Vonnegut, K. (2008). How to write with style. Available at


Posted on November 25, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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