Ah, budgets. The salad section on the menu of personal finance: you might glance at it because you know they’re good for you, but you also know damn well that you’re still going to order those truffle fries when the waiter comes. We all know that budgets are important, but it’s so difficult to stay disciplined. With so many of us on shoestring stipends [...]


The other day, I realized that my qualifying exam was the last true exam of my formal education. I took the exam in mid-May of 2023 and have spent the past several months reflecting on the experience, thinking about what advice I could give to the class the year behind me. I decided that, even though some of the stress was inevitable, some of it could have be avoided if I had been armed with information from the start. [...]

5 things I wish I knew about the qualifying exam

Saving for retirement was one of the most daunting tasks for me when I was 22. I was newly graduated from college, moving to a new state, and starting a lab tech job in the span of about a week, and I had very little room in my brain to think about my personal finances [...]

Saving for Retirement 101

If you are in a science-based Ph.D. program, you will need to write a proposal at some point. Whether it’s for a class, a qualifying exam, or a fellowship application, knowing how to formally propose experiments in writing is a key skill to develop in grad school [...]

Tips for writing a Scientific proposal

I don’t know about you all, but I was pretty panicked when I had to figure out my taxes my first year of grad school. I had worked other jobs before, so I only understood the very basics of uploading my W-2 to a tax help website. Taxes for grad students are notoriously confusing because [...]

Tips for tackling your taxes (as a grad student!)

Hello and welcome to the Biograduate website! My name is Tracy, and I am currently a Ph.D. student studying cell biology at the University of California, San Francisco. I’m starting this site as a repository of answers to questions that I’ve had over the years about the different aspects of grad school. We’ll cover everything from how to give presentations to how to get the most out of meetings with your advisor to how to handle imposter syndrome and more [...]

What’s the Biograduate?


About This site

Let’s be honest: grad school is tough. Not only do we juggle classes, lab work, teaching, outreach, and (if you’re lucky), a personal life, but we have to manage all that on a pretty tight budget. I’ve started this site as a way to document and share information about the two things I spend most of my time thinking about: how to make it through grad school and how to be better with money. My goal is to pass along everything I learn over the next few years in both of these topics, from how to give a scientific presentation to how to save for retirement!

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