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My Grad-Student New Year Wish/Resolution List

  1. Keep my notes organized, and not use cookie-smeared napkins as convenient parchment to write down important bits of information during seminars.
  2. Do a better job of explaining to my family what it is I do, and how exactly I spend my time. Start convincing my 4-year old niece that her destiny is to become a biologist.
  3. Read more about the history of my field, how we got to our current state of understanding, and what part we are playing in it.
  4. Consume less caffeine. Or maybe not.
  5. Write more, which, as I found last year, is the shortest way to realising where you stand with respect to your project, and what you need to do next.
  6. Consume less chocolate, especially the month before thesis committee meeting.
  7. Attend more exercise classes at CCRB. Stop convincing myself that the brain uses more calories than any other part of the body and that should count as exercise on a busy day. Addendum: Wake up in time for the morning Yoga.
  8. Talk about my work with more people. Some of my biggest leaps in momentum have come following serendipitous conversations.
  9. Start making presentations with slides that aren’t completely white. This is the year for colour.
  10. Graduate before new kid in lab who joined three years after you. Use this as motivation. Strong motivation.

And if none of these pans out, listen to the one piece of advice from an old professor who had just this to say to a struggling grad student: “Grit your teeth and persist.”