Tag Archives: academia

No Longer a Student

When I first heard about the concept of a Career Fair in my freshman year at Caltech, I half-joked to my friends, “I don’t want a career!” I came to college to learn math and science, and was quite honestly disgusted with classmates who would choose their course loads, student groups, or volunteer opportunities for the sole purpose of looking good on a resume.

This didn’t mean that I resisted growing up or planning ahead. I suspected I would want to go to graduate school, so I spent my first two summers doing research in my two favorite fields: math and chemistry. After all, this looked good on a grad school application for precisely the right reason: Experience doing research would prove to both myself and graduate admissions committees that I would thrive there.

During the rest of the year, I tried to learn all the things. I took the more difficult options for physics and biology requirements in addition to numerous advanced math and chemistry classes as a freshman and sophomore. I even sat in on the first few weeks of the main major-specific classes for astronomy and biology my sophomore year before the workload of organic chemistry lab caught up to me.

Read more of this post

Make Academia Less Solitary

Last week, I wrote about some of the misconceptions that I had of math graduate school, essentially offering suggestions for how grad students should act and react within the academic system. In this post, I’d like to offer some suggestions for improving the system.

All of these suggestions relate in some way to building better community among students and researchers, something that’s been a bit of a pet project for me. I’ve been able to act on most of these ideas personally, but I also offer a moonshot at the end.

Read more of this post