Workshop: A Guide to Expectations

BE REFS hosts workshop for first-year BE grads about the fundamentals of interest-based negotiation and strategies for articulating expectations that a student and an adviser have for each other.

As a guide to brainstorming or conversation, consider preparing a list like the following for yourself. You could use this list for personal brainstorming, as notes in a conversation with your adviser / potential adviser, or as a signed document co-authored by you and your adviser to articulate your expectations of one another.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to schedule a visit with a Ref.

During my PhD, I expect to…

  • be happy and healthy
  • have interests, friends, and hobbies outside the lab / do nothing except labwork, eating, and sleeping
  • take about X days of vacation per year
  • take vacation with X days of notice / with no notice whatsoever
  • spend X hours per week in the lab
  • be in lab during daytime / nighttime / between the hours X and Y
  • spend my weekends in lab / not in lab
  • go to conferences X times a year / during years Y
  • have my travel expenses for X conferences funded by my adviser
  • have a career in X (or Y, or Z) after I graduate
  • prepare for (the possibility of) a career in X by doing a postdoc after I graduate / taking a summer internship during year Y / taking Z coursework at Sloan
  • do projects that give the skills X that I will need for a career Y
  • have the option of becoming a postdoc in this lab for N months / years after I graduate
  • take my TA position seriously and reduce my research output during that semester / do the minimum of work possible for my TA position
  • graduate in N years
  • graduate with X first-author papers
  • have the opportunity to mentor UROPs / not be burdened with UROPs
  • have lab duties aside from research / have no obligations to the lab other than research
  • have the ability to direct my own research / have oversight that guides me on my research / be able to discuss the specifics of my projects and protocols with my adviser
  • be allowed to form my own collaborations / work without any outside collaborations
  • be permitted and supported on more than one project / not be distracted with projects other than my thesis work
  • apply for my own fellowship funding / write a grant proposal / never think about funding
  • be mentored or supported by more senior grads or postdocs
  • meet with my adviser N times a month / be able to my adviser when I want to
  • have my adviser help resolve conflicts over authorship in the lab
  • be able to get letters of recommendation from my adviser when I apply for jobs / apply for fellowships
  • write a beautiful thesis / do the minimum amount of work necessary of my thesis document
  • have a desk / share desk space
  • have a dedicated bench / share bench space