Frequently Asked Questions

The followings are questions shared by multiple students and Prof. Kyoungchul Kong’s answers.

(Q) Is there a fixed commute time in the EXO Lab?

Although there is no official rule about the commute time, it is recommended that the Master students come to the laboratory before 9:00 AM. This is because Master students need to learn knowledge, manner, and techniques to become successful researchers through collaborations with many other colleagues. For collaboration, it is necessary to be in the laboratory all together on time. This may not be true for all the laboratories, but the EXO Lab encourages all the students to collaborate; learning by teaching is much more effective than learning by self.
Doctoral students, however, follow their schedule and condition. The doctoral course is a way to become an independent researcher, and Ph.D. students must maximize their research proficiency based on their knowledge obtained through the master’s course.

(Q) Is there a concept of vacation in the laboratory? If so, how can students use it?

There is no such concept of vacation in professional life. If someone was able to keep generating good research outcomes during rest, his/her life would be full of vacations. If someone thinks that a vacation is necessary for leaping higher, he/she takes a vacation on his/her responsibility. Professional people should say with results. Graduate students are in the way to become professional.
If you are involved in a collaborative project that many people work together, then you will have to consider the schedule of the overall team.

(Q) Is the laboratory atmosphere intimate and friendly between the lab members (is it often to have drinking parties?), or is it close to the individualism of studying individually and taking care of themselves?

I am sure that students’ manner in front of their advisor is quite different from their manner, but at least I am trying to encourage and motivate to develop strong connections between students. Students will become a member of an academic family after graduation. A family is a stronger network than friends.
The laboratory atmosphere changes from time to time. Recently it has changed to an atmosphere where drinking parties are not frequent. Many students do not drink or drink only a drop of beer. However, not having heavy-drinking parties does not mean that there is no gathering. There are many opportunities for students’ gathering.
It is difficult to accept the question above; the research is independent in any case, and only when each student’s research improves, it is possible to collaborate and unite each other. Namely, professional people collaborate based on their specialty and outcomes. To someone’s viewpoint, study and research may be seen as individualism, but this is not against the intimateness among laboratory members.

(Q) Are there many active personalities among current lab students?

Since only active and the best students are accepted, everyone is active at the start of graduate school. EXO Lab’s students have good leadership, self-esteem, and confidence. Although there are students who maintain the same characteristics throughout the graduate study, there are also several students who find different characteristics. This is natural because graduate students should take care of their own pace and result, while undergraduate students just follow the pre-scheduled semesters and study and are evaluated with the same criteria. Graduate students are not only evaluated by academic grades; they will have to first define “what is the success for their own life.” No one can answer this question. Making continuous questions about a successful life may be one of the reasons why graduate students become successful eventually.

(Q) Are students involved in many research projects? Are the projects mainly sponsored by a government or by industry?

Some students are assigned to research projects, and some are not. It depends on each student's ability. Students do not have to force challenges. However, since research issues defined in a research proposal may present a good guideline for research progress and become a strong motivation for students to carry out practical outcomes, it may be a good driving force for students.
In most cases, students may be involved in the research project(s) that they have participated in from the proposal work. In this case, since students’ opinions will be resolved in the proposal, they will be more motivated to work on the project.

(Q) Are there seminars that regularly go through the laboratory?

There is an official group meeting once a week. Students organize group studies from time to time by themselves. Students are also encouraged to attend department seminars; there are some good seminars in KAIST and the Department of Mechanical Engineering.