Recently by Gary Gallick Ph.D

Summer at GSBS

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In a weak moment, I decided to join the 21st century and "blog" on issues for graduate students and advisors.  Summer is one of the most exciting and busy times for both.  For students having chosen a laboratory in which to pursue their degree, this is usually the first time to spend "full time" in the laboratory.  Those fancy experiments you read about in class- now you actually get to do them!  ... 24hrs a day!  If one is to find joy as a research scientist, surely it is in the thrill of seeing the result of a well-designed experiment for the first time, and possibly the first time anyone has seen such a result.  The senior student's notebook so chock full of data and notes looks less and less intimidating as you begin to develop data of your own.   

We advisors actually visit the lab more often, reacquainting ourselves with what a microscope actually looks like, and often musing about the "good ole days" when we did all of our experiments ourselves.  Far be it for me to put a damper on this excitement, but wizened professors never miss an opportunity to offer advice. 

So...summer often provides the best chances to think beyond the next experiment.  Meaning-read of course.  What professor does not advise you to be current with the literature?  But thinking and breathing deeply are even more advisable.  When you get that sought-after result, what is its context?  Does it move you toward a publication or does it move you toward a discovery? -Not always the same. Yet, thinking about where your data lead means thinking about where your career will lead you.  And advisors?  They (on rare occasion) have the time to think as well, and like nothing better than being interrupted from writing the latest modification to the latest animal protocol by students with new data, new ideas and even new problems.  Summer is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the successful and failed experiments that led to all that gray hair.  So work hard, focus on the next experiment but gaze into the distance. And the balance?

 Kipling had it about right:  

"If you can dream, and not make dreams your master
If you can think, and not make thoughts your aim..."

And those who might be reading this contemplating graduate school?  Summer is the time to think about where.  And, of course, I'd encourage you to think about us, part of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS). 

Find all the information you might want at:  And information not there?  Hopefully that will become the subject of future blogs.


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