would have been much better if the policy
were already in place. Finding an ally
with some authority can really help make
changes. While some may be more sensitive to your needs, professors who haven’t
gained tenure may be reluctant to make
AK: To me, it was very important to
have friends to socialize with from inside
my department and school. It was equally
important to nurture friendships
outside of school, for many reasons; I spent a lot of time building those relationships, many of
which are still active today.
DANIEL LUTTERMAN received his
Ph.D. in chemistry in 2007. He got married
the summer before graduate school, and
his children were born while
he was in school. Having
played baseball in college,
sports were a priority outlet
for him as well.
Before ANDY KIDWELL
graduated with an M.S. degree
in chemistry in 2002, he had
decided early on that completely
immersing himself in graduate
school wasn’t going to work. He
also made sports a priority, playing on recreational and intramural basketball, softball, and
football teams. When his advisor
accepted a position at another
university, he chose to move
with him and, in the process, gained some
valuable insider experience in moving and
setting up a lab.
iC: Looking back, what do
you wish you’d
What advice would
AK: Moving during your
graduate studies is an extra
burden. If, during your career,
you need to set up a lab, having such an experience can
help you know what really
needs to be done when so
you can maximize your time.
However, moving will cost you valuable
research time. At some point, you have to
just pack as well as possible and let the
movers do their job. On the arrival end,
the goal should always be to unpack and
get back up as fast as possible. Don’t let it
cost you too much time.
iC: How did you succeed
at balancing graduate school
with the rest of your life?
DL: Put some time into
trying to relax. I see a lot of graduate stu-
dents who work from dusk ‘til dawn. The
results come a lot easier when you learn
not to stress so much!
iC: Looking back, what do you wish
you’d done differently?
DL: I wish our families had been closer
to Ohio State. We were both separated
from our families and, since we had our
children in graduate school, it would have
been a lot easier if we had not been living
so far apart.
iC: How did you balance graduate
school with your other interests? Can you
share any lessons you learned?
willing to pick up two or three more. The key is knowing when
two is enough and, when you have space for more, always
being as graceful as possible in the transition.
For the acrobats, the applause doesn’t come until the end
of the performance, when the dancers drop their plates and
poles and the audience lets out its collective breath and cheers.
In grad school, don’t forget that there is an end. You will drop
those plates with a soul-satisfying crash… and then walk off the
stage, hopefully to thunderous applause.
ALLison Proffitt is a writer and editor based in
Singapore and covers science all over the world. When
she’s not writing, she’s traveling as much as she can.