David Patterson’s Advice for New Graduate Students


·       Show initiative, for fortune favors the bold.  Don’t wait for professors to tell you what to do; if we were good managers, we probably wouldn’t be faculty.  Explore, challenge assumptions, and don’t let lots of prior art discourage you.

·       Sink or Swim.  We’ll offer you what we think are great projects with plenty of potential, and we’ll support you the best we can, but it’s what you do with the opportunity that makes or breaks your graduate student career.

·       Educate Your Professor.  We’re in a fast-moving field, so for us to give you good advice we need to know what you’re working on. [And what you’ve learned outside the classroom! –MW].  Teach us!


[from: David A. Patterson, “Your Students are Your Legacy”, CACM, March, 2009, 30-33]