So you’ve decided to attend grad school…good for you…now come the tough choices…deciding where and with whom to spend these years…I will be frank…not everyone gets it right the first time…not everyone has a wide range of choices…and in most instances it’s not the end of the world…a lateral move is always an option. Nevertheless, here are a handful of tips and tricks that may be helpful when deciding which supervisor’s research program best suits your individual needs. Here are the DON’Ts of choosing a grad school lab/supervisor:
1. DON’T – commit to a research program without meeting/conversing with the supervisor/lab members; preferably in person. A supervisor that shies away from giving you the opportunity to talk confidentially with his or her lab members may be hiding something. Ideally, communicating with former lab members (who may have less to lose and thus be even more honest than current members) is a great avenue to pursue.
2. DON’T – be intimidated. Stay strong in the face of adversity. New faces and intimidating places can seem overwhelming at times, but never back down from asking the tough questions…in the long run…you’ll be glad you did.
3. DON’T – be fooled. Everyone puts up a front on the first date. Try to look past the fascades and get to the truth. It’s waiting to be unveiled by your active communication skills and it will point you in the right direction.
4. DON’T – settle. You’re too good for that.
5. DON’T – worry. In time you’ll find what you are looking for. [insert inspirational quote about light at the end of the tunnel here]
Stay tuned for part 2 – The DO’s – Advice on choosing a lab/supervisor to be released shortly.
Best of luck,