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Growing up, I was always interested in watching historical documentaries on the Discovery Channel. Initially, I wanted to be an archaeologist, but over the years, I became interested in studying the diseases that affected ancient human populations and how these ancient pathogens are related to the ones prevalent today.
My biggest challenge as a new graduate student was being a good teaching assistant in my first semester at ASU. Apart from never having taught before, I also had to adapt to the educational environment in the US, which was quite different from what I was familiar with back in India. Since then, I have found teaching to be a very challenging but ultimately rewarding experience.
I think it is important that new students, especially international students, know about the different ways in which they can contribute to the ASU community, such as volunteering for Ask-A-Biologist or GPSA, serving on the graduate council, etc. As a new graduate student, you obviously want to make a good impression on your adviser by doing well in your coursework and by working hard in the laboratory.
However, as you progress in grad school, you realize that getting a PhD is about more than just doing research and increasing your knowledge – it is also important to build a network of contacts with your peers and faculty members, provide service to the university, and ensure your all-round development.