We had the opportunity to chat with Josh Dorsi, recent Ph.D. graduate in Cognitive Psychology about his time as a student at UCR. Josh shared his insight, experience, and advice on grad student life. Read on for insight and advice.
1. What did you get your degree in, and what are you doing now?
My PhD is in Cognitive Psychology, and my research has focused on multisensory speech perception. Moving forward, I will be gaining additional training in the neural underpinning of these multisensory perceptual processes.
2. What are the top 2-3 things you did while at UCR that helped you finish your degree (and get a position in your field, if you have)? What was most helpful to you as a student here?
The first thing that I think of that was valuable to my progress at UCR is a simple practical consideration; I structured the schedule of my work. What I mean by this is I chose hours during the day that I would work, and only work, and hours that I would absolutely not work. This forced me to be productive during my work hours, and prevented me from procrastinating as I knew I could not push a task off until later in the day. This also insulated me from burnout as every week I had scheduled time away from my work.
The second, and perhaps less intuitive, thing that supported my success at UCR was collaboration. Many of my projects involved research that only intersected with the research focus of my lab, and thus I frequently collaborated with other researchers, often from different universities. In addition to diversifying my training, this also gave me a degree of mental flexibility when approaching my research; the more I collaborated with others the easier I found it to consider alternative explanations for a single set of findings. I believe this diversity of experience and mental flexibility was a substantial asset to my success.
[Image Description: Bill Nye walking backward, looking at the viewer, and says, "If we work together, and think together, good things are going to happen."]
Pictured: You, listening to Josh and Bill, finding your collaborators!
3. What did you like best about your graduate work? What did you like least?
As I am sure is the case with many students, my favorite part about my graduate work was discovering something new. The part I liked least was, of course, the revelation that not all discoveries are interesting to people outside of your own lab.
[Image Description: Ellie, from Jurassic Park, distracted by a map in her hands until a hand reaches down, taps on her hair, and guides her to case out the window. Ellie then takes her sunglasses off, her mouth open in total shock.
Pictured: You, working to build interest in people outside your lab
4. Is there anything you wish you had done, or regret doing/not doing, while you were a UCR graduate student?
This is a difficult question to answer. One thing that I regret is how much I took on. Throughout my time at UCR I routinely juggled multiple projects. While I am sure that this is true of most graduate students I sometimes worry that I took on more than I could handle and did not learn as much as I could have from each project. I wish I had been more satisfied with allowing myself to be fully immersed in a single project.
[Image Description: Jordan Peele pointing to his own eyes with his pointer and middle finger, before pointing into the eyes of the man across from him in a gesture to imply: look at me.]
Pictured: Your inner voice, telling you to focus on a single project at a time
5. What are you most looking forward to in your new position/post-graduate life?
I’ve learned so much during graduate school, and I am excited to continue that learning process in my post graduate school life.
6. What advice do you have for other graduate students at UCR about finishing their degrees, going on the job market, or life in general?
Try to maintain a work-life balance. Work is much easier when you can look at it with fresh eyes.
[Image Description: A bird balances on top of a ball.]
Pictured: You, perfectly handling your work-life balance