Trust Your Gut

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Trust Your Gut


Karthik Rao, Physics Graduate Student, Rice University

My life is the result of a series of decisions I made based primarily on gut feelings.

I decided to major in physics when I was a junior in high school. To accomplish this, I chose not to stay in India for college, where I would likely have become an engineering major, and instead applied to schools in the United States. This was based on a gut feeling that it would work out; my family did not have the finances to pay international student tuition rates, but I hoped I would somehow get enough scholarships to attend a US college and become a physicist. It worked out amazingly well. I attended Texas A&M University, and my undergrad experience culminated in a fantastic internship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) through an SPS summer internship. It was based on that same gut feeling that I decided to pursue a physics PhD.

I’m currently a second-year graduate student at Rice University, working in Prof. Emilia Morosan’s lab, and thus far, my experience has been extraordinary. I’ve had incredible opportunities to travel, present my research, and network with people in my field, and I’ve learned so much from working on my research projects. But grad school has been more than just research and classes. I’ve gained valuable leadership experience by participating in student organizations, volunteered at physics outreach events, and developed lifelong friendships.

If you are on the fence about attending graduate school, I advise you to go for it! It is the perfect place to get “real-world” job experience while also having the freedom to explore and decide what you truly want to spend the rest of your life doing. Good luck!



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