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Reading Nook

Early Career Scholar
Resource List

Grad School Tips and Words-of-Wisdom
from the End-of-Life and Death Scholars

1. You're in grad school for a reason.

...and only you know what that reason is. You belong in grad school (if that is your true desire). Don't let anyone tell you that you do not belong. Persist and do the work that you want to do.

2. Network with people outside of your academic institution.

There are a number of ways, outside of conferences and conventions, to bond with like-minded scholars. Email outreach is one strategy, especially if you find kindred spirits while you're reading the work of other scholars.

3. Your cohort does not need to be your new "best friends."

Many graduate cohorts can feel awkward, competitive, and even antagonistic at times, depending on the social dynamics and departmental politics established at your institution. Don't let the bad attitudes get you down. There are plenty of scholars in different departments, and at different universities, that can provide community space and ongoing mutual support.

4. Your advisors and mentors will never be a "perfect match."

Advisors and mentors are just people... you will never have a 100% research, teaching, or personality match with anybody, but you can trust that advisors and mentors will provide you with a variety of different perspectives on your goals. Do not rely on one person for information. Establish a network of people that you can turn to in order to bounce ideas around.

5. You can 'bend the rules' after you learn the fundamentals.

Graduate school is usually about following the research path that your primary advisor and committee members have already begun. You take coursework in the United States to learn, more deeply, the fundamentals of your research niche. Once you complete your coursework, your comprehensive exams, and your dissertation, you have much more freedom to carve out your own research path. So that you don't drive yourself bonkers trying to do something revolutionary, transgressive, and experimental, stick to covering the basics and adding to pre-made discussions during your graduate school years. It's okay to be a student most of the time!

For Post-Doctoral Scholars:


If you'd like to add to this list of books and articles to help out new generations of scholars, email your submissions to or use the contact page.

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