A Day in the Life of an International Graduate Student
Back in 2019 December, after getting the acceptance of Professor Kawaguchi, I and my wife came to Japan to start a new journey as graduate students. It's been one and a half years since then and I am now a 2nd-year graduate student in the Orthopaedic department at the University of Toyama. At this point in my program, I spent almost of my time on my own research, sometimes on teaching assistant duties, and on projects I work on for professor Kawaguchi.
Here’s how I spent my time on a typical day: Tuesdays were some of my busiest days. My first activity was a Professor round in the early morning. Afterward, I worked as a teaching assistant for the professor to give the mini-lecture in English to students. I then back to Department, the first thing in the office, I like to review my to-do lists. Time management is a big topic for graduate students; to-do lists are a must for managing all of the steps in many projects. After that, I spent my whole day studying and doing my research works. My main research is being carried out at the first step which is in vitro study, and it is very new for me because I have never done it before, it also causes me a lot of difficulties and confusion. However, with enthusiastic help from staff members as well as my supervisor, my lab skills have improved dramatically as well as basic research knowledge. The experiments sometimes succeeded and sometimes failed, but most of all, I did not feel discouraged at times of failure, instead, I always found new directions for my experiment. Tuesday was also the day of surgery, as a surgeon, I always want to follow my passion for surgery, so when I have free time, I often go to the Operating theatre to observe exciting surgeries with the most modern techniques, which I have never seen in Vietnam.
Later in the afternoon, the working day will end with Journal Club. To be honest, I didn't understand much at the beginning, but since it was my turn to present, I realized that this session really helped me in many ways. It is an opportunity to develop critical appraisal skills, increase exposure to rapidly evolving medical literature, and it always gives me ideas for my own research.
two days as a graduate student are the same, and I'm lucky that I have some more relaxed days to balance out the busyness of a typical Tuesday. Schedules vary from student to student, but setting good time management habits and balancing work with healthy habits and fun makes almost any schedule workable. And because you're working on your passion, the hours of work are [usually] a joy!