Submit your story

For every graduate student, graduate school is a different experience filled with ups, downs, failures, and successes. The goal of Letters from Graduate School is to build a collective of graduate school experiences—your experience, in your own voice!

We are looking for current and former graduate students who are interested in writing about their stories and experiences in graduate school—the good and the bad. We are creating a platform for sharing these stories to highlight the diversity of graduate school experiences. These stories will be shared through our web platform, and a selected set of entries will be compiled into a book.

Please tell us briefly about yourself and the aspect of graduate school you’d like to write about, and we will get back to you. We encourage your entry to be focused on a single topic that was formative in your graduate school experience. We have a few sample topics listed below, but don’t feel limited to our suggestions; we want to include as many unique perspectives as possible.

Essays should be under 2,000 words and will be edited in collaboration with the author before publication. We will respect authors who wish to share their story anonymously. See our FAQ and call for submissions for more information. Examples of essays can be found in the “Personal essays” category on our grad school lit page. For any questions, email us at

The example topics below are divided into four sections, corresponding to graduate school stages: “Early years”, “The grind”, “Final stretch” and “Post-PhD”.

Early years

  • Why go to graduate school?
  • How to choose a lab?
  • Making friends in graduate school
  • Managing graduate school with a family
  • Rotations: getting the most out of them

The grind (mid-graduate school)

  • Intra-lab conflicts
  • On paper writing and publishing
  • Scooping: the threats, reality and recovery
  • Finance and graduate school
  • Depression and anxiety in graduate school
  • Switching labs
  • Deciding to quit graduate school
  • Being a minority in science
  • Sexism, racism, and classism in science

Final stretch (writing thesis)

  • Writing the thesis
  • Leaving things behind
  • Keeping in touch

Post-PhD (transitioning out of graduate school, finding next step)

  • Asking (and writing) your letters of recommendation
  • Finding a postdoc
  • Finding alternative (non-academic) paths
  • Learning from the graduate school experience


Kayla Lee (Harvard University)
Chiara Ricci-Tam (Harvard University)
Yarden Katz (Harvard University)