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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sage advice?

I am sure that some of my professors question if I am qualified to give advice to colleagues or students. Nevertheless, I dole it out when requested.

This afternoon I received a nice email from former student Curtis Long who is pursuing graduate studies at Texas A&M. Curtis took three courses from me and aced them all. He is one of the better, if less outspoken, undergrad economics majors I have come across in my ten years here.

Here were some of the comments I sent him in a responding email. I post them here in case they might help other first-semester graduate students in economics:
Hopefully you have been prepared (as much as possible) for the rigors of a solid PHD/masters curriculum. My advice is to remember that it's a marathon not a sprint. Hard work will pay off, in both the short and long run but mainly in the long run. On the other hand, slacking off will often yield immediate punishment. The pursuit of the PHD/masters requires you to love the subject you are studying because to do things right you have to study/read/read/study/think/read/read/think all the time - okay, you can knock off one or two nights a week for R&R.

You will likely be terrified by the amount of math that is being used - but don't freak out - remember the economics first and then focus on the math. The economic intuition is always the same but the fancy math framework can often cloud the issues.

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