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The Tao of Graduate School

"Tao" refers to "the way" of something. By putting the term in front of Graduate School, I'm invoking a grand tradition of teaching that way, in this case, the way of graduate school.

Several years ago, I began to notice what I might refer to as The Dark Cloud of Graduate School. Despite being in an environment in which one can pursue his or her interests, reading and writing and teaching about them, I found that my graduate peers were suffering severe bouts of melancholy. Some were fresh out of their undergraduate careers, excited at first to begin their advanced study but suddenly overwhelmed by the quantity of work and expectations. Others were veterans of Graduate School, walking aimlessly across campus, conversing with few, asking themselves, "Why the hell did I do this in the first place?"

I don't mean to paint all graduate students with this brush. Many are successful and move on to successful careers, in academia or elsewhere. But one thing is certain: most graduate students suffer from a dark reality that I believe is avoidable.

Many conversations on the topic of graduate school are based on a premise: Graduate School is very difficult and stressful - Follow these steps so you can finish it as quickly as possible with the least amount of damage to your life.

The Tao of Graduate School has a different approach. I am here to argue that graduate school can, and should, be something to enjoy, something that fulfills the student, not defeats. Something that can enlighten us, if only we knew how.

"Citation Needed" Is Not A Counter-Argument


Wikipedia has become one of the dominant pillars of the internet and a shining success of knowledge. And on Wikipedia, "Citation Needed" makes sense - because they're trying to build an encyclopedia with references.

Some people don't seem to get that the entire world isn't an encyclopedia.

When you're having a discussion somewhere online, replying to something you dislike with "Citation Needed" is usually counterproductive to good discussion.

Yes, sometimes citation is needed. Especially if something seems off. But here's some guidelines to not looking stupid when you're having a discussion -

1. Do at least one Google search before saying "citation needed" - if there's clear support on your first google search, it's a fact you don't know, not some craziness from your discussion opponent.

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