I've been wondering about this for a while, but only today it occurred to me that I could ask here... anyway, here's my situation: I'm currently finishing up my first year of grad school (PhD program) in physics. I got my undergraduate degree last year from a tier 1 (as they call it) university with an excellent physics department. But I graduated with a mediocre GPA and didn't get accepted to any of my top choices for grad school; right now I'm at an institution which is pretty decent but not quite on par with the so-called tier 1 schools. So right now, pretty much all that I have going for me is the name on my B.A. degree ;-) In retrospect, I don't think I worked as hard as I could/should have as an undergrad, and I'd like to recover from that - I want to do something(s), in the course of getting my PhD, to show that I can "compete" as a physicist. So my question is, how can I make a name for myself? What kinds of things should I try to do in grad school to prove that I have talent as a physicist? I guess I'm especially looking for any good advice from people who have already gone through the system.