Jacobeen Gives Advice to New Graduate Students
After Shane Jacobeen learned of the opportunity to be the student speaker for the Institute’s first Graduate Student Welcome, he didn’t immediately apply. Instead, he spent several weeks mulling over what he calls the motivating question: What do I wish someone would have told me when I first came to Georgia Tech?
“Building from that question, I focused on the ways I’ve learned to maximize my productivity and health while in graduate school,” said Jacobeen, a fifth-year Ph.D. student in physics. “The importance of these things is often not obvious. When you come to graduate school, you know you’re here to work hard and to dive into your research. But it’s difficult to remain productive and healthy if you’re not taking care of all aspects of your life.”
That is part of the message Jacobeen will deliver as the student speaker for the Graduate Student Welcome on Wednesday, August 29. The welcome event includes Graduate Convocation from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at McCamish Pavillion, immediately followed by a Graduate Student Picnic from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. also at McCamish. Convocation will highlight Tech’s traditions and academic standards, and students will receive spirit items.
When Jacobeen was an undergraduate physics major at Lebanon Valley College in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, he said he was used to his life having a fairly predetermined structure. But graduate school is different. So, his suggestions for new graduate students will revolve around taking control of their life and being proactive in seeking out various opportunities.
“Balance your life to stay physically and mentally healthy,” he said. “For me, this has involved spending a lot of my free time at the Campus Recreation Complex. I spend most of my day in my head, so, getting in the gym, turning off my brain, and throwing some weights around is a great way for me to relieve stress.”
Acknowledging that not everyone will enjoy working out the way he does, Jacobeen notes that “Georgia Tech and Atlanta offer a wide range of opportunities for people to relax and enjoy themselves, so whatever you’re into, there’s something here for you — you just have to put in the effort to find it.”
Jacobeen is rehearsing his speech under the guidance of Karen Head, executive director of Georgia Tech’s Naugle Communication Center, who personally coaches the convocation and commencement speakers.
“My public speaking experience is in research,” Jacobeen said. “I’m used to speaking from a PowerPoint presentation. This is a little bit different.”
Is he feeling extra pressure as the speaker for the inaugural Graduate Student Welcome?
“It just adds to the excitement,” he said. “I’m used to improvising and operating with a lack of precedent, so I’m just aiming to make a good impression and set the bar high!”
Jacobeen plans to graduate in December. He wants to work in industry, in either consulting or data science.