It’s the end of the first quarter – only one more week of classes left. I find myself buried under piles of work, with far more to do than I think I have time for. The only thing that prevents me from a complete state of panic is that I’ve been here before, and I know that somehow it all gets done.
A lot of what I have to do in the next 2 weeks involves writing. Writing! I remember naively deciding to go into engineering because I wouldn’t have to write. Little did I realize that writing – communication skills in general, really – are VERY important skills to have, regardless of what field you are in. Writing continues to be one of my toughest challenges. I am quite happy to churn through some math, I know that there’s a right way to do it, and I’ve learned that if I persist for long enough, I generally figure it out. Synthesizing and clearly communicating a set of ideas or a process is much more challenging. But I suppose that’s one of the reasons I’m here – to learn those very skills, to build my strengths and to grow in areas where I am weakest.
There are a lot of resources in the web to help with writing, researching, giving presentations, and all sorts of different aspects of being a graduate student. I like to read this one every once in a while, it’s well written and has some good advice in it:
It’s really written for CS students, but much of what it talks about applies to a much broader audience, certainly an audience that includes science and/or engineering graduate students.