Thursday, May 10, 2007

the big picture

I was sent an e-mail survey today that included the following question:
What are the most important things for sociology graduate students to do during their tenure in graduate school?
My answer:
1. Figure out what kind of career they want.

2. Develop the substantive expertise and other skills that will allow them to be effective and prosperous in that career.

3. Develop the credentials that will allow them to get a post-Ph.D. job consistent with career they want.

(The idealist in me insists on putting #2 over #3 even though the pragmatist notes that one only gets to implement #2 in an actual career if #3.)

Update: Somebody e-mailed to ask, "Why would you end a post with 'Thoughts?' and then turn off comments?" I'm not sure why comments were disabled but now they are enabled. So, um, somebody comment.


Anonymous said...

develop social networks within the profession by attending conferences and having senior scholars become familiar with your work seems important assuming one would pursue academic career

oh yeah, write papers good enough to get into a professional peer-rev journal

eszter said...

I'm surprised you have nothing in there about getting to know people. Like Anon, I would suggest attending conferences, and looking out for smaller, more specialized workshops. Unlike Anon, I would emphasize meeting not only senior people, but peers as well.

Anonymous said...

4) Survive/Graduate?

kristina b said...

Thanks for this Jeremy!

That said, hopefully I'll see you in NYC this summer (assuming you'll be there). I'll be the one wandering around looking clueless.

Ang said...

It's hard to answer. The *most* important things to do? Yikes. Maybe it's because I'm a graduate student right now, but my list would differ from what's already been said.

Anonymous said...

Ang: What would your list be then?

As a current (still early in the program) grad student, mine also includes having fun. Seriously, it's a lot of years you're in grad school (more in some programs than others); I don't think we should make ourselves miserable.

Ang said...

Anon: I was thinking along the same lines. It's not that I think the other things aren't important; it just seems that everyone's interpreting the question to mean, "what are the most important things for graduate students to do during their tenure in graduate school that will ensure career success?" An important thing, no doubt, but finding ways to keep your chin up is important, too. Being "emotionally successful?" Not exactly sure what I mean here - haven't thought it through yet.