Writing big projects is hard. Virtually every single graduate student I know struggles with writing to some degree. Some hide it better than others. Some power through it with pure, teeth-clenching grit. Many simply fail. Large, multi-year projects, such as books, dissertations, or theses, require extensive scheduling, planning, and project management. However, few advanced students are equipped with the tools to tackle such large projects.
I’ve heard often as a graduate student that it is important to set aside time to think. However, it seems like all of us struggle with actually following that advice, especially early in our career. As I’ve finished taking classes and have a much more flexible schedule this summer, it is prime time for me to make sure I sit and think enough to plan out my dissertation. However, I’ve found a couple of things are making it rather difficult for me to actually purposefully do nothing but think and I suspect most of us run into these problems.
The start of summer also can often mean it’s the start of working on new projects and teaching new skills to undergraduate students. On the one hand, you want to teach students the best practices for various tasks. On the other hand, using all of the most appropriate libraries can incur a pretty hefty cost in the amount of time it takes to get up and running. Recently, I was talking an undergrad through the basics of data analysis. The data analysis for this project shouldn’t be too complicated, but I felt like it would be irresponsible not introduce him to numpy, scipy, and pandas. However, we were having some issues getting all of these libraries to play nicely with said undergrad’s current Windows set-up. On the one hand, since he has been thinking for a […]
The summer after I finished high school, I took a trip to the Pacific Northwest with my mom, aunt, and cousin. Our goal? To find a statue of William Clark (of Lewis and Clark) with a sturgeon. Along the way, we got to experience local culture, see the beautiful area, and have an all around great time. Which was, of course, our real goal. The sturgeon statue was just an excuse to look around, something to force us to actually engage with the area. Sometimes a hypothesis is the same way.
“Under-appreciated” is definitely hard to quantify. However, these tools dramatically simplify my day-to-day workflow, and most people I talk to have only heard of them from me. So, my goal with this post is to introduce people to some useful programs they might not have heard of before. Since I use Linux Mint as my primary operating system, all of these programs are Linux-compatible. Most of them are also compatible with other operating systems.