Engineering Grad School Advice


What's up Legions commies!

Hope y'all are doing well. It's been a while since I partook in sniping, running flag routes, and pretending to be good at HoF. Glad to see this project is still kicking it!

Quick update on life stuff: Spring of last year, I graduated with my B.S.E. in Acoustical Engineering. I started my dream job as an acoustical engineer for a consumer electronics corporation, but I found myself in a tough place when I got laid off six months into work. After a few more months of applying and interviewing around the area as an entry-level engineer, I scored my only offer, which has proven to be the best possible one: a research assistantship that will fully fund a Masters degree and provide a living stipend. In less than a couple months, I will start grad school on a track for my M.S. in Acoustics at Penn State University. It sucks to make another move away from friends and family, but I'm looking forward to a more rewarding and stable career afterward.

That being said, I'd like to consult anyone who has been through grad school in a STEM profession for advice in the following areas:

1.) I've had some time to get into a weekly gym regiment, though I feel it might be hard to keep up with it in light of my studies. I am also in the process of writing out the mathematical derivations that grad books love to leave out as exercises for students. What are some other good ways to physically and mentally prepare?

2.) I am looking into buying a tablet with a stylus for taking notes and making presentations. I already have my college laptop that runs the student version of MATLAB smoothly, which is the main software I need, so I don't need a tablet with Windows OS. I could use something with software for annotating PDFs, so if I have textbooks in PDF form it will be easier for me to highlight things. I have a budget of $500, though I will say I've had colleagues who use and appraise the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro, a tablet I've considered for a while. I basically want something that I can bring into the classroom in place of my laptop, and I am open to any suggestions for the best tablet for grad school. Ink to math is a plus.

3.) Any other tech/supplies/school items I should consider?

4.) Can grad school be fun? Anyone make fruitful friendships/relationships happen?

I feel like a freshman again, except without the baby steps that lower-grade school systems offer, so as a humble internet citizen I could use as much advice as possible. Thanks guys, and I hope to meet y'all on the battlefield soon!

Your commie,



New Member
I finished undergrad in applied math, and I'll be in a similar position soon enough.

I can't imagine that PSU doesn't have journal/book access given its size, but if you need things in a pinch or prefer electronic copies, and are nice.

One thing that I discovered a little late in undergrad is the vast resources/professors who are available. When I had interesting non-classwork problems, I diversified the network of professors I asked for help: "Hi, I'm working on problem X, could you spare 15 minutes to discuss it?" I did clinical research and would email professors from my statistics classes, at the School of Public Health, etc. You learn really fast if you do it this way. This has the added benefit of gaining exposure to everyone tangentially related to your field.

Best of luck!
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Flatulent Cherub
Unfortunately Seymour doesn't have much advice in your chosen field and can only offer you a hearty 'congrats!'

As for exercise, early morning jogging would probably be your best bet. Doesn't need much prep time and it'd get you awake and energized for a long day of schoolin'.