P691G – Graduate Student Professional Development Seminar

Orientation –
Thinking about what it means to be a Ph.D. student

A one hour session at the beginning of the second day of orientation.


  • Get participants to stop and think about what it means to be a graduate student in physics
    • “Why are you here in graduate school?”
    • “What do you want to get out of this experience of pursuing a Ph.D.?”
  • Provide an opportunity to get concerns addressed


  • Hopes and fears activity:
    • Why did you come to grad school?
    • What do you hope to get out of the Ph.D. experience?
    • What is one thing you are uncertain or anxious about?

SAVE THESE, they can provide a great reflection source at a later date!

  • Thinking about what it means to be a graduate student using a worksheet based upon one developed by Carmel:
    • Things graduate students do.
    • Groups to whom graduate students have responsibilities.
    • Characteristics/attributes of successful graduate students.

Do individually, synthesize lists with a partner, and then as a class

Justin Carmel. “GTA Self Image.” presented at the CSC TA Workshop, Atlanta, GA, June 1, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCuZtL6FXxk