Year in Review – Grad School

In my department, grad students are required to fill out a progress report. This report is usually done in January. It’s a chance to document what you’ve accomplished over the past year and for your supervisor and the grad chair to confirm that you’re making reasonable progress. As this will need to be filled out soon (deadline is early January), I thought it’d be worth it to think back over the year now and see what I’ve accomplished.

  1. I wrote and published a short paper. This included travel to a conference where I presented a poster. The short paper was in the proceedings.
  2. I was part of a team that presented a demo at another conference (although I did not get to go to this one). And I worked on some group reviews for this conference.
  3. I wrote another short paper for a sort of ‘mock’ conference and gave a short presentation at this conference. I was also named on a poster at the conference and helped out with the reviewing (assigning and writing meta-reviews) of the short papers.
  4. I’m a co-chair for next years ‘mock’ conference and have been working on getting that set-up.
  5. I got a scholarship I had been applying for for years (proof you should never give up).
  6. I now have a supervisory committee.
  7. I’ve written a thesis proposal.
  8. I attended a workshop where I got to see a bunch of research being done by people in a larger research network I belong to.
  9. I met, in-person, with a colleague who I have been working on a project
  10. I spent some time travelling in Europe. (Okay, not a grad school goal, but came out of getting to go to a conference in Europe.)
  11. I supervised a high school student over the summer – and have actually remained in touch since.
  12. I’ve designed an experiment that is so close to being ready to run.
  13. I’ve taught myself a whole new programming language/environment thingy for my research.

I’m sure I’m forgetting things on the above list. But as I look it over, it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished more than it feels like over the past year. As I look forward towards next year, I’m really only focusing on the next semester or four months. I want to run my experiment, write a paper on it, write my candidacy document, and defend candidacy. If I can get all that done I think I’ll be looking towards another, even more productive, year.

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