Below are some of the things we frequently tell students studying in our laboratory.
Please do not stay in the laboratory too long.
Working hard is important. But what is really important is the quality of work. Our output is not proportional to our time. Some rest and refreshment is necessary for good work. The students are expected not to stay in the laboratory too long1. We do not evaluate students based on how long they work. Taking a few weeks off to travel somewhere is highly recommended in our laboratory2.
Please do not expect others to provide specific instructions.
There is a huge difference between the way undergraduates study through lectures and examinations and the way graduate students study through conducting research. Undergraduates are requested to re-solve solved problems; graduate students must tackle unsolved problems. Students in our laboratory should not expect specific instruction from others but are asked to propose approaches to solve the problems given to them.
Please do not request suggestions without proposing ideas.
Academic supervisors should only work to find solutions with you. If you request suggestions without proposing your own ideas, what you are actually requesting is not suggestion but a solution. Working as mere hands for your supervisor is easy but will teach you quite little. You must work as a mind.
Please do not just be frustrated; propose something to make everybody happy.
We have different backgrounds and cannot understand each other without verbal communication. The students are encouraged to propose a solution if they face something frustrating. Our experience tells that just a short talk enables us to avoid or solve large problems; not communicating makes problems bigger.
Please do not keep silence.
There is no micromanagement in our laboratory. The students are strongly suggested to discuss their studies with others; we welcome discussion anytime. We expect that students will report any problems as quickly as possible, and we will assume that silence means that everything is going well. Please note that "no action no reaction" is one of our policies.
Please do not be passive; be active.
We belong to the Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University. Our mission, from the viewpoint of education, is NOT to produce those who tackle something passively needing specific instruction. Our students are requested to tackle their studies actively to foster this skill. We believe that good work stems not from external pressure but from internal motivation.
Please study what you need by yourself.
We3 understand that lectures leave almost nothing to us. Thus, we need to study what we need by ourselves. It should be more important than what we know that we can identify what we should know and we can study it by ourselves. We have tons of material to know, but there is no way, except perhaps via some electrodes inserted into our brain, that we can learn all of it.
Please do not be afraid of failure.
We tackle problems that nobody, including your supervisor(s), has solved so far. It is natural that you may not be able to solve them so easily and you will need much trial-and-error.
Please be honest.
Please keep your words, follow our rules, and be punctual. We respect diversity, but we have to be fair. These are our golden rules.
Please help each other to improve our laboratory.
We request that students help each other. Seniors supervise their juniors; juniors help their seniors. Additionally, all students are requested to contribute to the administration of our laboratory; exactly how they commit depends on what they can do. We cannot accept selfish individuals. Trying to maximize what you obtain leads you to minimize what you actually obtain in the long run.
Please do not rely on your supervisor.
You should feel free to utilize your supervisor as needed, but do not depend on them. You should take charge of your own work.