Learning Medicine

Learning Medicine
The Ultimate Guide to Study Skills in Medical School

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Goal Setting for Grad School

In the spirit of the season, I've devised a list of fairly specific goals for my upcoming grad school career. It's time to transition from med school to the PhD years, and I want to be very purposeful about what I'm doing. If you're not careful, grad school can be period in which you become a highly trained technician, but not really a scientist that can think and act independently. To guard against that, I've laid out the things I want to learn and do in the next 4+ year. I'm putting it up here mostly to hold myself accountable, and also to invite feedback and criticism. I welcome you, dear readers, to help me with this list. For those of you in grad school, what are your experiences? What things do you wish you knew to focus on from the beginning?

Here is my (preliminary) list:

Perfect art of presentations
Learn meticulous scientific method and experimental design in general
Improve general problem-solving skills
Acquire robust data analysis skills 
Learn statistics
Become proficient in using computers to assist in research
Web development
Establish seamless workflow using digital tools
Anything else?
Acquire outstanding domain knowledge and expertise
Neurobiology of pain
Acquire general knowledge of chemical biology
Build a repository of techniques to use in pursuit of interesting scientific questions
Perfect grant and scientific writing
Crowdfund a science project
Build strong network of smart people who I can call on to work with in the future
Weekly lunch roundtable
Self-track productivity
Time studying
Time working
Write science/medicine blog
Extend knowledge in my domain
Publish at least 2 first-authors papers
At least 1 review article
PhD thesis
Improve/enhance self-learning methods
How can I teach myself stuff throughout life?

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