Your Guide To | Surviving Grad School

August 20, 2014

So you got yourself into grad school, winner winner chicken dinner. What now? Well, with all of one year (halfway through!) of grad school under my belt, here are my tips and tricks for making the most of the fastest-moving period of your life. 
one | get that dry shampoo. I know, I thought that undergrad would be the end of my no-shower-in-sight, where-did-the-time-go days too. But somehow...they just sneak up on you. So stock up on that dry shampoo. Because the last thing you want to do when you have three papers, three hundred pages of reading and three group projects is make a trip to the store for some dry shampoo. It will make you feel more on top of your life (ignoring the core reason why you even have to use it in the first place, you no-time-to-shower lame-o) if you can walk out the door smelling like a fresh baby's bum. 

two | keep the receipt. For your school supplies, that is. For some reason, the materials you'll need in grad school are even harder to predict than undergrad. You'll walk in with a cute new notebook, and find out the professor only teaches off of slides and it's really better to have a folder to keep them in. Stay organized, stay clean my friends. 

three | dive in. As in almost all aspects of life, the motto rings true 'you get out of it what you put into it.' There will be so many extra seminars, speeches, workshops and events you could attend. Now, there's no way you'll be able to make half -- hell, even 10% of them -- with your busy schedule. But even if you aim for two a semester, I promise it will help you out. Professors will notices. Fellow students (read: potential coworkers) will notice. And it helps you build a sense of loyalty, belonging to your university. 

four | be social. Grad school is the weirdest conglomeration of people you'll ever spend two years with, guaranteed. Unlike undergrad, you'll all be coming from vastly different places in life with vastly different expectations/desires of your grad school experience. The temptation when you get there is to curl up in an isolated ball with your books and your Netflix and say "it's just two years and then I can start 'life' again with friends in a new city." But don't do that. Take that chance, talk to people, sit down with strangers and really make an ounce of effort to find friends. 

five | be flexible. Your schedule will never be more insane, and more not your own. You'll have your job(s), classes, group project meetings, field work, and general life maintenance (showering, bill paying, grocery shopping and even --dare I say -- socializing). Your schedule will be out of control, so learn to roll with it. On that note...get a lunch bag, and a crock pot. Cook large portions at a time with plenty of leftovers. And stock that lunch bag when you leave in the morning. Three hour classes require a lot of food to stay awake. 

Any readers just starting/continuing their education?
What tips and tricks for the school year would you add?

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  1. Grad school sounds like a freaking tornado - kudos to you for rocking it!

  2. Here's one: be sure to socialize with your friends back home before you leave, ensuring you have their contact information.
    Another one: send out a mass email to all your friends and family back home with your new address.

  3. I'm about to start grad school and a Pinterest search brought me to your blog. THANK YOU FOR THIS!!!


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