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Introducing The Graduate School Guest Bloggers for Fall 2013!

We are excited to announce that eight graduate students are joining the Graduate School team this fall to blog about their experiences as USC graduate students. Our guest bloggers will discuss topics ranging from adjusting to graduate student life, to balancing studies and outside life, to preparing to enter the job market.

This week, Adam Feinman, a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering, kicks us off with the introduction to his blog series, “Badges: Trials and Tribulations on the Road to Graduate/Professional School Success.” Check in regularly for more stories from our graduate student bloggers.

Have comments or questions about the guest bloggers’ series? Email

Join us in welcoming Adam!


Trials and tribulations on the road to graduate/professional school success

By Adam Feinman

I despise the days when new students arrive on campus. They are so bright-eyed and cheery. They are giddy with anticipation about what the future holds for them. They are excited to learn and discover (amongst other things). After 4+ years of working on my Ph.D., it can be a deeply painful reminder of how long I’ve been here, what I’ve had to struggle with to get this far, and how far I have yet to go.

But it also fills me with joy. I look at who I am today compared to who I was at the beginning of graduate school, and I don’t regret it. The hard years of attaining a professional or graduate degree are not merely the road to graduation. The process is itself the goal. It is important to attain knowledge in the process, but the struggles behind accomplishment are what shape us, personally and professionally, for the rest of our lives.

My column for this blog, “Badges” is about the process. It is about the struggles we all face in these school years, but more importantly, it is about the fulfillment created by facing those struggles and achieving greatness in the process. These stories can raise awareness of issues students face, but can also inspire us take pride in our own personal processes, past, present, and future.

My first post(s) will be about adapting to doing research in an unfamiliar area. Later topics may include such things as: being married (or a parent) in graduate school, dealing with stress and the potential emotional and mental issues that come that, adapting to a new culture, etc. If you have stories to tell of your graduate/professional school woes, how you felt through them, and how you have (or are currently) facing them, or if you have other topics you would like to hear about, please contact me at All names or potential personal identifiers will be changed in blog posts for privacy.