26 Final Tips for Graduate Students

If you could tell your first-year graduate self one thing, what would it be? What advice do you have for incoming graduate students?

“Try to take weekends off. It won’t always work, but set out your goal to do non-thesis work on weekends. Recharge, and your work week will be so much better for it.”                                                                                          – Anthropology, 3rd year, PhD
“Advocate for yourself. Good graduate students are hard to come by so you have more leverage than you think. Also if your heart isn’t into it 100% then don’t do it because graduate school is a tough job with long hours and little pay. For incoming graduate students, communicate clearly and consistently with your supervisor. Develop an individual development plan (IDP) with them so you have a better understanding of your career and so that graduate school can add more value to your career goals.”                                                                               – Chemistry, 2019
“Relax! The fact that you are here means you have earned the RIGHT to be here; you don’t need to kill yourself working so hard to try and prove yourself. You wouldn’t have been accepted if your supervisor did not have at least some confidence in your abilities. Work hard, obviously, but relax a bit too.”
                                                                                                                 – PhD, third year
You belong here and you have something to contribute, but also don’t base your entire identity around being an academic or graduate student. Who you are should not need to constantly rise and fall based on successes and failures in this arena.”
– Sociology PhD Graduate


McMaster University's Graduate Thesis Toolkit Copyright © by Kathleen Steeves, Jennifer Williams, and Samantha Clarke. All Rights Reserved.

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