Advice From Upper Years

Campus

Keep an open mind.  Don't feel like you have to lock yourself into a certain type of lab during rotations, and try to go to lab meetings when you're deciding where to rotate.  People don't do this enough, and it's the best way to see how a PI and the people in his or her lab interact.  

-from a third-year grad student

Get a Clipper card ASAP, so you don't have to keep paying cash for Muni fare. A nice way to get to the San Francisco airport from the Inner Sunset is to take the 44 to the Glen Park BART station and then BART to SFO. 

-from a third-year med student

School can be very stressful at times and you need to remember to take care of yourself. Make sure to exercise and eat healthy. San Francisco has so many great running trails and hiking opportunities. Make sure to take advantage of them while you're here!

-from a second-year pharmacy student

If you love intramural sports, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, etc. and enjoy a good deal then don't forget to get the UCSF Rec Pass from the gym. It's good from July 1 through June 30 and can be purchased for $69 from the Service Desk.

-from a MEPN grad and 1st year NP student

Keep your UCSF ID on you when you're out and about--many cafes and boutiques give student discounts.

-from a third-year physical therapy student

Download the app "Transporter." It shows real time data for next MUNI arrival, so no guessing when you should be at a stop.

-from a third-year physical therapy student 

Take advantage of extracurricular offerings: the Career Center for professional advice, Student Health for counseling and wellness, Outdoor Programs (only $69 for all inclusive trips to Yosemite, Angel Island, and Big Sur), and student groups.

-from a third-year physical therapy student

During the first couple of years of med school, you have a decent number of free afternoons. Take advantage of some of them to get out and explore the city and have a nice break between morning class and evening studying. 

-from a third-year med student

Go on a fun vacation your first summer after lab rotations. You will never get that much time off again unless you get laid off from your job someday and have a midlife crisis.

-from a fourth-year grad student

It’s never too early too think about post-PhD careers. Having a sense of your next step will reduce existential angst.

-from a fourth-year grad student

Start thinking early about what you want to do after you get your PhD—whether or not you'd like to stay in academia—and choose your lab accordingly.  

-from a fourth-year grad student

Don't be afraid to ask questions during class, to your PI during rotations, and at seminars. Too many students don't speak up to admit they don't know something, and this is how you can sometimes fall behind. 

-from a 6th-year grad student

One way to combat those feelings of inadequacy, which will inevitably pop up, is to remember: you can only do your best. Are you doing the best you can? Usually, the answer is yes. Give yourself a break.

-from a Grad Division alumnus

Fake it 'till you make it.

-from a Grad Division alumnus

F1000 is the best place to find journal club articles. It will make your life F1000 times easier.

-from a Grad Division alumnus