I'm not sure of the specific topic of my PhD or what lab I'll join, but broadly, I'll likely be working within the domain of chemical biology and something related to neuroscience. That's my hope at least.
I'm writing this post because I want to start laying the groundwork for a successful and enjoyable graduate school experience. So, I'm soliciting any and all advice from current or former graduate students (and others).
Here are some questions to help guide the advice-giving:
First a general question - What things do you wish had known before starting your PhD?
Some other questions
- How do you pick a lab?
- What qualities do you look for in a PI?
- Are there any books you would read before graduate school? Any papers?
- For the organic chemists out there, what is the essentials list of books to have in my collection?
- For the neurobiologists, same question. What are the essentials?
- General books about graduate school (thesis writing, lab techniques, research methods, etc)
- How would you select the kinds of projects you work on?
- Multiple projects with varying risk (low-risk, medium risk, high risk)?
- Just one project and give it your all?
- None of the above
- How do you organize your workflow in the lab? What works and what doesn't?
- What things do you do that make you maximally efficient in the lab?
- What features do you look for in the graduate department you choose?
Closing questions: What mistakes did you make that could have been easily prevented if you had been given some specific advise?
I know everyone's experience will be different, but I want to hear it all. I think there are some general things that work for everyone, and hopefully, we can compile that wisdom here.
I'm all ears...