Posted on behalf of Materials Girl
So… it has sadly been ages since I wrote a post for TSC. Finals for winter quarter are rapidly approaching, and unlike Stu, I don’t have the legitimate reason of starting up Nature Chemistry. It’s just been long hours in class/lab and late nights spent writing lab reports or essays – nevermind battling senioritis. (The latter is especially difficult these days as my peers on the semester system are preparing for graduation, while the rest of us will be in school through June).
At the beginning of my undergraduate studies, the difference in academic standards between high school and university came as an unexpected shock. It felt as though that nothing could upstage the difficulties of earning all As instead of A-minuses. Now, those gruelling undergrad o-chem labs seem trivial and writing a 10-page paper in any subject is more of an extended frustration than a hair-ripping horror (although theses still scare me). With whatever wisdom my 3.5 undergraduate years have imparted, I have: 1) discovered that constantly working hard is a given, 2) come to terms with “bad” grades, and 3) learned the importance of higher education in the sciences.
This raises a subject that has lately piqued my curiosity: It comes without saying that a majority of chemists need graduate degrees, but how important is it to have them from a top university, renowned advisor, or an especially demanding program? It’s been said that the undergraduate institution attended is of relatively little consequence, but will the name of my graduate school make a real impact on my future prospects?