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This handout is from Rebekah Drezek's workshop entitles "Building Your Lab: Transitioning to Independence" and is an example of the welcoming tips she gives to her new students.

Organize your life

You cannot decouple professional and personal happiness. Stress in either area will bleed into the other. So, yeah, a lot of you will find this between silly and ridiculous, but if you can stomach it, I strongly suggest reading some of the better books on this topic if you haven’t already (even more so if you, like my husband, are the kind of the person just rolling your eyes when you read this…)


  • Covey books (Seven Habits, Living the Habits, etc.)
  • Allen books (Getting Things Done – skim rather than read or you will feel the pain, Ready for Anything)


Make sure you have effective email and calendar systems in place. If you are using Rice webmail, you are doing something really wrong. It is horrible. You can use Outlook. You can use Gmail and forget Rice. But do not rely on the Rice webmail server! The minutes you will waste each day add up to publications over the course of your grad career. (Also if you are using POP rather than IMAP you should probably switch. If you don’t know the difference – thanks to Adrien for teaching me – read the Rice IT help.) Restrict the number of times each day you check and respond to email so that you control your email rather than it controlling you.

I personally think the Rice calendar is not ideal and Google’s calendar, Outlook, or other alternatives are more functional. But make using one of these a personal habit. As your life gets busier, it will help a lot! I strongly believe you want to get everything you can out of your head and on paper (basically what the Allen books are all about.)

Also, learn the basic keystroke short cuts (Ditto to above – won’t matter much each time you use them – but adds up to huge amounts of time over the course of your career. Time you can spend with the people you care about most rather than staring at your friendly laptop screen…)


If you waste time at work surfing the net (I used to do far too much of this), don’t. I found removing all the sites I used to check each day from my favorites list dramatically cut back the time I spent surfing.


If you are not spending at least 3-4 hours/week reading the new literature in your area, you are not reading enough. This needs to be a life-long habit as long as you are in science. (I don’t read as much as I should but how I do this is printing out any articles I want to read as I notice them and keeping them in a folder I carry around with me so that while I’m waiting for a meeting to start/in line at the post office/at the doctor’s/etc., I have something to do.) You should be the world’s expert in your particular area. Searching for new papers and reading them should be something you schedule time for weekly. Also learn which journals matter for your work. As a first and second year graduate student, a tremendous amount of your effort should be invested in reading the literature. The last thing you want to do is start a PhD on a topic someone else has already investigated...

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
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Source:  OpenStax, 2008 nsf advance workshop: negotiating the ideal faculty position. OpenStax CNX. Feb 24, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10628/1.3
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