Be yourself and don’t take things too seriously

It’s almost a year since I came Rutgers as a graduate student, and I have to say: “Oh, I love it here!” To new graduate students, I’d like to share my experience here with you: don’t take things too seriously, and I bet you’ll love Rutgers too!

Enjoy your time at Rutgers!

There are smiles and tears in this first year.  I enjoy the knowledge I get from my courses – I want to learn. I’m happy to be a good TA, and I make the effort to improve each recitation I give. It’s always great to meet cute and kind people, and at Rutgers you’ll meet many.

Sometimes I distance myself from the crowd, not because I am too shy to show my friendship, on the contrary, it’s exactly because I want to develop friendships. It’s important to maintain friendship with people in your work circle, which is a key element in guaranteeing efficiency and cooperation in a research project, and a happy environment for study and working. Always keep in mind that studying and doing research is why you have come to Rutgers.

Be yourself and don’t take things too seriously.

Maybe you have a general goal for yourself when entering graduate school — you know what you are interested in and ready to dedicate yourself to research in your area of interest, however, life is not always as you expect it to be. It’s not always how hard you’re willing to work — there are many things that you cannot control — but what you can do is to find a balance between your goals and the environment you are in.

Maybe you like a research group very much but decide that it would not further your research goals; maybe you have found a suitable group but realize that you have not sufficient passion for the particular project and need to dig out a topic that you like.  Be yourself, and don’t hesitate discussing the project with your professor, letting him/her know what you want to do and getting suggestions. Everything is changing very fast — just remember to keep your goal in mind and be ready to adjust it as necessary to stay in balance with your environment.

Think a second time before making decisions, try your best to accomplish everything you decide to do, keep in mind your life goals, and find balance with the changing world — that’s it —  nothing to regret, and enjoy every day. Like an old song said “whatever will be, will be”.

Author: Yuanzhen Gu

PhD student in Computer Science at Rutgers University

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