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September 25, 2014

New PhD Student – Technical Writing Matters

Going straight from undergraduate to Ph.D. is a huge jump that I wish I was better prepared for. Technical writing is something that is very important as a Ph.D. student and wish I had more feedback on as an undergraduate who was interested in higher education.

As I approach my fifth week as a Ph.D. student, I can definitely say that this path has been more rigorous than I expected. The class work is a bit more intense but it is fine. My technical writing skills is what shakes me up; something that I definitely have to improve on. It is not stressed enough in undergraduate studies but is clearly something that needs to be polished as a PhD student. Writing to journals and conference proceedings is a right of passage and continues after graduation. Articles and publications need to be as easily understood as possible so that others can acknowledge the research. Weak papers will not be accepted in the scientific community. Personally, technical writing is a task that I have struggled with and have tried to ignore for so long. Unfortunately, now it’s time to face the reality of the matter.


Recently, I submitted a proposal for a class project and the professor acknowledged that my thoughts were all over the place and recommended that I read and do exercises out of the book, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace by Joseph Williams and Joseph Bizup. The hardest part about reading the feedback was the fact that I know I have a problem, but have not yet sought out the appropriate resources.  I’m just glad there are professors that care enough to help me to improve these skills and mentor me to success.

Now that I have the book and I am actually pretty curious to see how much it helps my writing style. In addition, there are writing services offered by the NC State University that I will most likely be taking advantage of. Currently, my personal goal is learning to accept the fact that there are skills I need to improve upon. This book is definitely step in the right direction for me.
As a new research scholar for MyHealthImpact Network I will be able to tell my sentiments in hopes that it will encourage others to not feel alone about the issues that I face. Communicating on this platform (; @myhealthimpact) is a great way for me to connect with other students aspiring to pursue a PhD and those who are going through it with me. The best part of it all is that I’m telling my story and people are actually listening.

Follow @myhealthimpact for my blog posts on the process.  See how I write about what matters in health and my generation.



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In Partnership with: Poole College of Management, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Science Foundation, Penn State

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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