The Best and the Worst from the First Year of Graduate School

In order to understand my favorite experience from first year you’ll need a little background about me.  I had spent the two years preceding graduate school as far from academic science as you can get as I had been working in Nevada as a waitress.  The time away from academia was a good choice for me because it solidified my dedication to continuing graduate education and research, but I was completely unprepared for how nervous I would be about the first test of the year after two years out of school.  I studied incredibly hard for that test. When I received an A  in return it not only helped my grade in the course but it also reassured me that I had made the right decision in coming to graduate school and that not only could I pass but that I could excel. It sounds cheesy but that first A gave me a wave of confidence and motivation that sustained me throughout my first year.

My worst experience was, hands down, having to choose my mentor.  Choosing a mentor is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions you make as a graduate student and since I have a hard time deciding what to eat for dinner it felt like the most daunting decision in the world.  Thinking back on it now I was fortunate to have several fantastic labs with great mentors to choose from, but in the moment it felt overwhelming, formal, and permanent.  Luckily OHSU is an environment where I felt comfortable (and still do) bouncing my thoughts off faculty, staff, and other students and that support enabled me to choose the right mentor for me.  It is a strange experience reflecting back to first year because my perspective has evolved so much in four years.  However, in the light of my current challenges in lab, it is a nice reminder of how much I’ve accomplished in that time.



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StudentSpeak

StudentSpeak

Ever wondered what life is like as a student at OHSU? What does it take to become a researcher? Just how gross is gross anatomy? Welcome to the blog that answers these – and many other – questions. It’s students writing first-hand about their commitment to careers in science and health care. It’s honest about the challenges as well as the joys. It’s not always pretty. But it is our story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And please, let us know what you think.

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