Tips for Grads: Strategies to navigate a graduate program effectively

By Foram Gathia, PhD student

“The Deliberate Doctorate” by Leela Viswanathan offers practical insights and strategies that can significantly enhance the daily life of a graduate student, master’s or doctoral. Here’s how:

  • Evaluate your values: The focus of this book is to evaluate individual values of graduate students and why a graduate degree matters to them. This will help them keep going when things get challenging.
  • Pick a research focus: Choosing the right research topic is essential. Students can avoid wasting time on irrelevant topics and focus their energy on meaningful research and select a suitable topic aligned with their interests and career goals.
  • Learn stress management: Graduate school can be stressful, but strategies for managing stress and staying motivated throughout the dissertation process are necessary. This includes techniques for maintaining work-life balance, dealing with setbacks, and seeking support when needed.
  • Develop writing and presentation skills: Writing a dissertation and presenting research findings are crucial aspects of graduate studies. Skills such as improving writing proficiency, structuring arguments effectively, delivering compelling presentations, and empowering students to communicate their research with clarity and confidence are vital for success.
  • Cultivate advising relationships: Building strong relationships with advisors and mentors is essential for success in graduate school. It is important to cultivate these relationships, communicate effectively with advisors, and seek guidance when facing challenges.

Visit the publisher’s website to read a free copy of “The Deliberate Doctorate”. The Graduate School Office of Professional Development is hosting an event Exploring Faculty Careers at Different Institutional Types which can help you assess your values and gain a better understanding of the higher education landscape in the U.S.

Tips for Grads is a professional and academic advice column written by graduate students for graduate students at UW­–Madison. It is published in the student newsletter, GradConnections Weekly.