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10 Mistakes for a Freshman at ZEF Print E-mail
Komsan Suriya

Batch 2007

10 mistakes for a freshman at ZEF.

1.  Give up learning German.  The more you know German, the more comfortable you are in Germany.

2.  Don't think about thesis proposal from the beginning. You will not have enough time to begin thinking about the proposal after the courseworks.  

3.  Never approach senior researchers. You are a part of ZEF's research community. Your research standard is set high. The research is aimed at a practical purpose. You should learn how high the standard from senior researchers so that you can adjust your thesis according to the expectation of ZEF.  You should learn who are specialized in the field and methodology that you are dealing with. Then approach them one after another. It is also good that you may get good supports from them in the proposal defence.

4. Get back to your country during X'mas break.  You are supposed to prepare for the examinations after the X'mas break. Don't lose your concentration otherwise you will get bad grades and probably be kicked out of ZEF if you failed two times.

5. Don't get your supervisor before leaving for field research.  German professors like to work with you from the beginning. They may not accept you if you have started without him or her from the beginning. Then, think of this very carefully who will be your supervisor. Invest your time and effort to find a right supervisor.

6.  Don't know anything about financial clearance for the field research.  You are in danger to pay every Euro from your own pocket if you cannot provide appropriate financial receipts.  Study the guidline from ZEF intranet carefully. Don't be shy to ask Dr. Manske directly if you got some questions regarding the financial clearance.

7. Stop acquiring new knowledge and skill. The German system expects you fight for yourself. If you find some courses in any German universities helpful for your improvement of your thesis, please approach the professors who offer that courses to ask for permission to visit the courses. In most cases, I found that the professors reponded kindly. For me, I attended a CGE analysis in University of Kiel and Advanced Development Theories in University of G?ttingen.  Don't attend the course without asking for permission from the teacher, you will miss some study materials protected by password.

8. Don't show up your work in seminar, conference or Journal.  It is not a good idea to keep quiet at office and no one knows you. Moreover, it is also not good that you cannot find good comments from referees. No need to feel bad with yourself when you did something wrong. You are so young. Let's welcome comments.

9. Take every comment personally.  It is natural that you may get angry with some comments. Control yourself. Try to answer every comment positively. Think positively. Don't afraid that your thesis will be collapsed and you will have to start from the beginning again. It is very normal to do something more and more until your thesis is complete. You will learn at the end that your thesis at that time was nothing and truely trivial. People are trying to help you to build a solid work and not to destroy you.  Don't treat them as enemies. Treat them friends. Spend more efforts and time to carry out a better thesis. Don't afraid of it. Don't try to escape it.  Because you cannot escape it anyway.

10.  Miss the Table Tennis Championship and Parties at ZEF.  The Table Tennis Championship at ZEF is a good time for relaxing and friendship. You will get to know someone with strange names and stay in some other corners in the same building. Then you will learn that all of them are skillful not only in modelling but also table tennis. Parties at ZEF are available at the begining of the semester (barbeque party), end of semester party, X'mas party and sometime ZEF's anniversary party. Every party is a good moment to enjoy. You should not miss them at all.

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