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Almost 9 months later

Its almost a year at UCLA, and I’m almost seeing the end of my Masters! A few things I want to comment (rant) on, and some things I’d like grad school hopefuls reading this to know. *Note that if the only reason for you to apply to a US graduate school is to do a MS and find a job (and then stay in the US), this may not apply as much.

  • Be prepared, doesn’t matter how prepared you think you are about going to graduate school, doesn’t matter how prepared you think you will accept not being very good at it, think again. Triple whatever doubts ¬†you may have, and see if you still want to do a PhD. It is that hard haha
  • There is no such thing as enough maths (I have zero maths prowess haha, literally 0…). But people can only be good at a couple of things right? You can’t be a programming master mind AND solve all these equations… (don’t tell me….)
  • Quarter system is relentless, and time flies by very fast. Drop a weekend and face the consequences. Homework, research assignments, random things that needs to be done rushes in like a torrent, lose footing at your own peril.
  • Most of the time the grades are lenient (thankfully)
  • Sleep time becomes nonexistent
  • Keep a good schedule (i.e. don’t do what I do: http://ucla.jamesyxu.com/?cat=13)
  • Just turn off once in a while, sit in bed all day and watch movies or something
  • A good advisor is very important. If you are self motivating (which I think describes a lot of western PhDs), then imho an easy going advisor who is there to help (not to slave drive) is very good. We put enough pressure on ourselves already, there is no point in having a slave driver whose only purpose is to muck up your planned schedule
  • Be¬†flexible, do the things that takes the least amount of time first
  • Some things don’t need to be done NOW
  • Some things will be forgotten by others if you don’t do it NOW (so whether you want to do them if depends on how much free time there is)
  • There will be a lot of temptations to go back to work (or go to work) from the MSs graduating all the time

Right, end rant for now I guess…

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