BONUS BOOK: 57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School by Kevin D. Haggerty and Aaron Doyle

“As such, they were embracing the old adage that it is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Genre: Nonfiction

Book Jacket Synopsis: “Don’t think about why you’re applying. Select a topic for entirely strategic reasons. Choose the coolest supervisor. Write only to deadlines. Expect people to hold your hand. Become “that” student. When it comes to a master’s or PhD program, most graduate students don’t deliberately set out to fail. Yet, of the nearly 500,000 people who start a graduate program each year, many will never complete their degree. Veteran graduate directors Kevin D. Haggerty and Aaron Doyle have set out to demystify the world of advanced education. Taking a wry, frank approach, they explain the common mistakes that can trip up a new graduate student and lay out practical advice about how to avoid the pitfalls. Along the way, they relate stories from their decades of mentorship and even share some slip-ups from their own grad experiences. The litany of foul-ups is organized by themes and covers the grad school experience from beginning to end: selecting the university and program, interacting with advisors and fellow students, balancing personal and scholarly lives, navigating a thesis, and creating a life after academia. Although the tone is engagingly tongue-in-cheek, the lessons are crucial to anyone attending or contemplating grad school. 57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School allows you to learn from others’ mistakes rather than making them yourself.”

Review: My first ever research mentor sent me 57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School soon after I decided to really tackle the grad school search head on. Part of me wishes that I had read the book as soon as he gave it to me, because it really does illustrate the entire graduate school process, from figuring out how and where to apply to actually graduating and moving into the workforce. Instead, I read 57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School after already deciding where I would go for my Master’s and who I would work with. I was happy to see that the advice given in the early chapters (primarily on figuring out what degree to go for and where to apply) aligned closely with what my own intuition had told me during those early stages of the process. Nevertheless, this book could have been more useful had I chosen to utilize it as soon as I received it. I really enjoyed the overall format of the book, with short sections on each of the 57 most common ways graduate students can screw up. With plenty of anecdotes and real-life examples, this book ended up being a quick and enjoyable read. However, I did feel like it was heavily skewed towards PhD programs. While much of the advice given applies to both Master’s and PhD programs, I would have appreciated a little more tailoring towards Master’s programs. However, when I do begin the inevitable process of going for my PhD, I’ll definitely pull this book out again!





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