Open Letter to a New Student


Stored alongside the welcome packages detailed previously was a lecture that David Collum apparently gives to new students each year.  Titled “Mother Liquors”, it’s a concentrated collection of good laboratory practices, progress expectations and reaction shortcuts.  I was already planning on putting together something similar, and so used his outline as a framework for this post.


Graduate school has been an incredible experience, filled with some of my best–and worst–memories.  I was fortunate enough to work under a supportive supervisor who allowed me to find my own path, and through guided trial and error gained confidence in my techniques and my instincts.  Along the way I learned what worked for me and what didn’t, building a set of guidelines that helped me be both productive and content.  These guidelines are detailed below.  I hope you find them useful during your own career.


Brandon Findlay

Progress and Time…

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