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Survive and Thrive

5 Tips for a Stress Free Research Life

We’ve all been there. You have a favorite scientist and a favorite research topic. You’re passionate and motivated. It’s all going good … and then. All of a sudden, you’re spending sleepless nights with the coffee machine. You’re attempting statistical analysis of your data for the first time and wishing you were bald. The clock…

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Five Ways to Help You Achieve Happiness in Graduate School

A number of studies have shown that work–life balance, as well as personal happiness, positively correlates with productivity, professional achievement and success. Looks like that happiness is not only a luxury but it might be a key ingredient for success.

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Handling Different Personalities as a Newbie in the Lab

Being a PhD student has many challenges, and one of them is finding an efficient way to deal with different personalities in the lab. When choosing a new lab, it’s more than just choosing a boss and a research field; it’s like joining a new family. In fact, some may feel that it’s more intimate…

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Graduate School and the Art of Balancing

Finishing my third year of grad school, I can’t help but notice what a balancing act it has been- research and relaxation, finances and fun, beer and…not beer? I wanted to write this article to advise incoming first years and veteran grad students – even those mysterious 7th year students- on graduate school and the…

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Should I Stay or Should I Go? Graduate School Edition

A PhD, like any worthy endeavor in life, requires hard work, patience and perseverance. It also involves challenges that will make you doubt your choice to pursuit an advanced degree in the first place. It is inevitable that a series of failed experiments or that one paper rejection will bring you down and temporarily make…

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Staying Ahead of the Pack in Undergraduate Research

Whether you’re just beginning, or nearing the end of your undergraduate career, getting involved in research can be overwhelming and stressful. There are many factors to consider, so keep it simple and focus on the most important ones: What area of research motivates you? What organisms do you find interesting? Are there any research professors…

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Could you Passage my Cells? How to Handle Lab Favors

Let’s face it, at least once in your lab life you are going to need a favor. You may need to go on vacation, you may be sick or you may just be a little overwhelmed at the bench. At least once, you will need to ask for a little help and someone will surely…

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Dealing with tension and conflict in the lab

A busy research lab can be a challenging place to work for a variety of reasons. Science is a high pressure environment, often with looming grant or research paper deadlines, troublesome reagents, and experimental failure. Combined, these factors can cause many kinds of strife in the workplace, here are a few examples and some of my top tips for dealing with them!

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Are you being bullied by your boss?

There are many kinds of supervisors out there, ranging from the amazingly laid back to the crazy micromanagers. There are various strategies for dealing with all of them, but what do you do when your boss is a bully?

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How to Switch Mentors, Part 3: Actually Switching – Is it Worth it?

Grad school is a big investment of your time, with a lot riding on a successful relationship with your mentor.  Unfortunately, you may have realized that the relationship is not working and resists improvement.  You’ve taken the steps to switch to a new mentor. Now comes the hardest part. What do you actually say to…

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How to Switch Mentors, Part 2: Planning and Preparing to Switch

Much of your success and happiness in grad school depends on an effective relationship with your mentor.  Despite your best efforts, sometimes the first relationship doesn’t work out, and you need to switch mentors to succeed in your program.  But how do you prepare to change mentors mid-PhD? Step 1: Write it all down Before…

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Why You Should Talk to Sales Reps

People often joke about hiding from sales reps, but the fact of the matter is that valuable opportunities are lost when scientists disappear into thin air. Think twice before attempting your own vanishing act; a brief chat could reward you with amazing deals, introduce you to faster, better technology and keep you in the loop…

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How to Switch Mentors, Part 1: Recognizing Red Flags

Grad school is a long, hard, long, time-consuming, and–wait for it–long process. A bad relationship with your primary mentor can make it worse, and may even drive you away from a science career.  Unfortunately, you often can’t spot incompatibility until you’ve spent time with a mentor and lab.  Even then, how do you tell the…

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