So you're a new grad student at Caltech. Welcome to Hell. The first
year is the worst. Here's what I've learned:
- Get a car, so you can go to places like Joshua Tree.
- Photocopy your homework and exams before turning them in. Someone
steal yours, or it might never get returned.
- Compound interest is your friend. Start saving money right away.
Start an IRA.
- Even better, defer admission to take a finance job or join the
- Don't work too hard at classes. Take classes with pass/fail
Remember: C stands for Credit.
- Choose your advisor carefully:
- Look for an advisor who has children and tenure. The unripe
ones are often miserable and demonic.
- Has he ever graduated a student before? Does he know what's
- How thick does your thesis have to be?
- Interview your potential advisor's previous students.
- Make sure your advisor knows that you intend to graduate.
- Get him to take you to a restaurant or bar. Is he a social
weenie? Is he a generous tipper?
- Don't tell your advisor you have an NSF fellowship. Make sure
he wants you enough that he's willing to pay you before he finds out
that you're free.
- You are not a glutton for punishment. There's no point in getting
- Take notes in ink on discarded copier paper. You'll get lazy and
this eventually, anyway.