Resources To Prepare You for Success in Your First Year!

AUTHOR: Lisa Dyce

One of our program’s greatest resources is our student body: whether you’re preparing for your first committee meeting, composing a research proposal for your first scholarship application (hint: keep reading), or leading your first tutorial, your peers have shared similar experiences and are here to help! Check out some of Brainwaves’ past articles that can help you settle into grad life.




In Survival Tips for Incoming MiNDS Students, two Neuroscience graduate students, John and Lisa, share their insider knowledge on tips and tricks for ensuring a successful and rewarding first year in the program. Click here to read more about the ways in which you can get involved, the importance of keeping an agenda, scheduling time for reading and writing, and the value of getting to know your peers and program faculty (just to name a few!).





In Lessons I Learned in my First Year of Graduate School, second-year Neuroscience graduate student, Patricia reflects on her first year in the program and shares the lessons that she has learned along the way. Click here to read more about her experiences with Imposter Syndrome, balancing school and other activities, and how she stays on top of deadlines. Or, to follow her journey as an incoming MiNDS student from the very beginning, click here.



With the beginning of the fall semester comes the time for scholarship applications! Unsure of where or how to start? In Don’t Take It for ‘Grant’ed: Crafting a Successful Scholarship Application, upper-year Neuroscience graduate student Kathryn, provides step-by-step instructions for creating a strong application, including the importance of starting early, questions to help compose a clear and concise research proposal, and tips for “selling” your proposed research by grabbing the reviewers’ attention with compelling and persuasive writing. Click here to learn more and refine your writing skills!


For many of you, this year will mark your first experience as a Teaching Assistant (or “TA”). Although it may seem like a daunting or intimidating role at first, TAing can be rewarding and enjoyable and will provide you with many opportunities to further develop your teaching, communication, and problem-solving skills. To better prepare you for your first TA role (or to refresh your knowledge as a returning TA), upper-year Neuroscience graduate student (and experienced TA) Shawna, provides you with tips and tricks in Back to School Teaching Assistant Tips. Click here to learn more about the importance of tracking your TA hours, communicating with other TAs, and making use of McMaster’s resources for teaching and learning.



In addition to your first experience as a TA, this year may also mark your first time submitting a manuscript to a scientific journal for publication. In What to expect for your first manuscript submission: The step by step process from a graduate student’s perspective, MiNDS alumnus Chris, walks us through the publication process, from selecting the right journal to submit your article to, learning to accept rejection and addressing reviewers’ comments. He also provides tips for success along the way! Click here to read more.

We hope that these articles provide you with a solid foundation for success in your first year in the program. We look forward to meeting you all in the semester ahead!