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Fall 2009

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Words to the Wise
Ben Carver

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me at the Start

1.  Graduate school is stressful! Finding a release is an important part of managing your stress and keeping your mind sharp. Exercise or any outdoor activity is an excellent way to recharge your brain and maintain your mental health. 

Flagstaff is an amazing place for hiking, I encourage all graduate students to take advantage of the unique and exciting natural environment of Northern Arizona. Exploring the wonders of Grand Canyon, the San Francisco Peaks, and Sedona is a great way to relax and expand your mental horizons.    

2. Much more than as an undergrad, you need to take the initiative when planning your career as a graduate student. Part of the grad school experience is taking full control of your education. However, it is very important that you share your interests and plans for the future with professors in order to get a sense of the challenges you will face in pursuing your research goals.    

3. Graduate school can be a solitary experience, so it’s important that you talk frequently with peers and develop a rapport with your classmates. Having someone to exchange ideas with and talk with about the demands of graduate school is an invaluable asset. Also, try to meet with your peers outside of class at least a couple of times each semester.  

4.  Get organized. Especially for TAs, the semester can quickly become a juggling act. Come up with a plan and stick to it! No matter what profession you choose, organization is key to success, and grad school is no different. 

5.  Get involved with the graduate community at NAU.

—Ben Carver, PhD student, History