2011年10月10日

《Grad Skool Rulz》── 研究所教戰守則

Praire du Sac,WI   Oct. 2011
願各位研究生都能找到心中那道美麗的虹

印第安那大學社會系教授FabioRojas最近出版了一本叫做Grad SkoolRulz》的研究所教戰守則,這本書原來是社會學部落格Orgtheory.net上面一系列的專欄,因為文章廣受好評,該教授將原來的章節重新編輯,又增加了大約50%的內容後,集結出版成電子書。

這本書主要寫作對象是人文與社會科學的博士生,特別是志於從事學術研究工作的年輕學者,雖說如此,很多學術生涯所面對點點滴滴是不分領域的,相信自然與工程科學領域的同學還是能夠從書中學到很多,至於MBA、醫學、藝術以及種種非「研究」導向的學位,則不在本書的討論範圍之中。

本書分成59個章節,內容包山包海,從申請研究所、找指導教授、考資格考、寫論文、找工作、投稿期刊、博士後、一路寫到教授升等終身職(tenure)才結束,作者筆法直接了當,平實中肯地呈現出學術生活中的高低起伏,是我看過最受用的教戰守則,很多時候都有「啊,早點有人跟我說這些就好了…」的感覺。有心但還沒開始念博士班的同學,可以從本書一窺學術生涯的真實面目,已經身處在漫漫學術道路上的同學,也一定可以從文中找到一些實用的建議。

電子書下載的網誌:http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/93455
(只要3美金就可以下載全書,我個人覺得很划算啦,也請尊重作者的智財權不要將全文檔案任意轉寄。)

不想花錢買電子書的同學,也可以上Orgtheory.net參考專欄,內容跟電子書不會差異太大,網址在:http://orgtheory.wordpress.com/category/grad-school-rulz/

我個人特別推薦的章節有開卷前三章 (1) Do not Go to Graduate School (2) Picking a Graduate Program (3) Don’t Pay for Grad School,這些內容特別適合還正在準備申請的同學,第一章由一個中生代教授來勸退你讀研究所,很有說服力吧!如果你看過內容還覺得自己適合,那也許你有足夠決心,要知道博士班是寂寞又辛苦漫漫長路,根據粗略統計,所有進入博士班就讀的學生當中,大約只有一半的人能夠順利畢業,有人資格考沒過,有人指導教授跑路,有人因為私人原因離開,有人唸了幾年因為志趣不合打退堂鼓,早點看看過來人怎麼說,才不會過了幾年再抱怨自己上了賊船。第二三章談找學校跟找獎學金,都是很中肯的建議。

20What can you say to your advisor?,談如何拿捏跟指導教授相處的分際,相信對很多人會有幫助。第23Words for Women談女博士生的甘苦和第25章講When to Quit,都非常精彩,這些是很重要卻很少人會對你說的實話。

以下我摘錄一些我自己讀完覺得特別精彩的段落供大家參考,更多內容請自行參考電子書:
  • In general, I recommend against graduate school. The Ph.D. is expensive in terms of money and time and many graduate programs are poorly run. The doctoral degree prepares you for academic research but rarely confers skills that would be useful in other jobs. Some non-academic employers even see the Ph.D. as a liability. Therefore, you should not go to graduate school unless you have an exceptionally strong belief that being a professor is the right career for you. Even in the sciences, there aren’t enough teaching positions and schools can’t absorb all recent Ph.D.’s. Many science Ph.D. holders will find jobs in industry. 
  • Graduate school is a huge investment of time and money. A graduate program is an apprenticeship that’s much longer than those found in most other jobs. For that reason, graduate education is not really school, it’s a job.
  • Graduate school is only for people who have a strong internal drive and have the organizational skills necessary to function in an environment with little or no supervision. In medical school, you have to graduate in four years. They force you out. In graduate school, if you are too lazy or disorganized to write your dissertation, no one will care. Your school or department will let you hang for years. The result? About 90% of medical students become doctors, while only half of Ph.D. students finish their program. 
  • Graduate school is not to be taken lightly. Don’t start graduate school because you don’t know what else to do with your life or you have a tough time with a regular job. If you are thinking about graduate school because you can’t find a job or hold a job, stop. Learn how to find a job and hold a job. Become someone who can learn skills and who other people want to be around. There is no point in being a journeyman academic unless you are highly self-motivated. Outside of academia, you will make more money, you’ll have the same job stability, and you will have more time. 
  • Do not go to any graduate program that does not offer a tuition waver for the first 4-5 years, especially if it’s a private school. If they don’t offer some sort of assistance, decline the offer. There are always other programs you can go to and you can re-apply until you get an offer of financial support. ...It’s a bad sign if a department is unable to support entering graduate students with fellowships, assistantships, or teaching. ...If you are in the position of having to pay tuition, complain a lot. Contact the graduate chair, the dean of graduate studies, or whoever is in charge of advising students. 
  • Research should be your main activity, and after you complete the required courses, courses should be your extra-curricular activity. Courses should help you develop your research ideas. To summarize, courses are important in short term, but irrelevant in the long term. Only take them if you must, but you can indulge in one or two fun courses. In the long term, courses are not as important as your research. 
  • By the second to third year of grad school, you should already have begun to develop a “taste.” You should know what appeals to you. These are the articles that I consider exemplars of good research and theory, while these are not. This requires you to be critical, but you must also go beyond that. A successful graduate student – a future scholar – will make the next step and figure out how to produce new research. Thus, taste is critical, but it is also productive. 
  • Make some graduate school friends. Your ultimate success in graduate school depends on the creativity and effort you invest in your work, but having a good set of friends is important. Do realize that having just a few good dependable friends can make a big difference in the quality of your graduate education – and beyond! Your graduate school friends will likely remain your tenure-track friends who will help you through the assistant professor years. 
  • Dissertations are not masterpieces! Sure, a few dissertations are masterpieces, but dissertations are, at best, rough drafts of promising work. Many are simply useless pedagogical exercises. Even Einstein’s first dissertation was not well received. Therefore, you should write a well-crafted and competent work. The goal is to show you can actually complete competent research within a reasonable time period. You can write a masterpiece later in your career. The only good dissertation is a complete dissertation. Seriously. The overwhelming majority of dissertations are not read, published, or cited. In fact, if you submit your unrevised dissertation for publication, the reviewers might reject it on the grounds that “it reads like a dissertation (= tendentious student work).” Therefore, once you have mastered the basics of research in your field, just get it done! 
  • However, it is also important to know that academia is not the right choice for everyone – even among those who possess the talent to complete the PhD degree. Let’s start this discussion with two obvious points. First, graduate education is the training school for a specific profession – being a professor. That means the program is set up to help you master an academic discipline, produce research in it, and teach it. This is job training. If you don’t want that job, then there is no point in continuing. Second, there is no moral obligation to get a doctoral degree. Switch to another career. Just as it’s acceptable for an accountant to switch to lawyering, or an actor may quit the theater to start their own business, it’s totally normal for a graduate student to switch to another career. Finding the right job is an important, and expected, feature of life.

最後,祝各位研究生求學愉快!加油!


1 則留言:

  1. 為什麼當初沒有人跟我說要看這個專欄…不過謝謝仲恩的分享 XD

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