Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Grad School

I know what I bring to the table, so trust me when I say I am not afraid to eat alone
— Strong Woman
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It has been about 4 weeks since classes started and boy oh boy has it been an exciting experience. Graduate school is definitely very different from undergrad, and sometimes I find myself missing my undergraduate college experience, but I realize that I have to grow up and fast.

I got into Grad School right after undergrad and for most people that sounds crazy! I have been asked why I didn’t get a job immediately or take a break from school and honestly, I don’t really know. I have always loved school, and to me, going to school brings comfort and stability, that I definitely was not ready to lose. I started Grad school straight out, and after these few weeks, although, I do not claim to be an expert yet, here are a few things I wish I knew before starting this journey.

It’s a whole new world

I know this goes without a need to be said but its still surprising how new it really is and different. I didn’t go through orientation like freshmen did, I did not get an introduction into the University like most incoming undergraduate students often get, and I sure was not ready for my classes. It was definitely a new hurdle I had to cross, and for some it's easy, but for me, its been really hard. As an undergrad, I was very involved in my College Campus, and I knew everyone. Since moving schools and cities, it's been harder to get involved like I would like. It seems like most times, graduate students are merely just coming to classes and then back to their busy lives. Its a different ball game y’all, and I was not ready.

Straight out of college young’n

I was not expecting to feel so young and inexperienced. I have people in my classes with over 5 years of work experience… IN THE FIELD! WHAAAA? That makes me shiver in my boots and feel like I have so much catching up to do! I remember my first couple of classes feeling so shy to answer questions for fear of not looking stupid! I know- it sucked to feel like a dum dum. But, its gotten better and I am beginning to realize we are all pursuing a degree for a reason and I should stand confidently in that regard. I might be young, but we all got into the program so that counts for something right?

Staying on top of your work

It is easy to get preoccupied with work and other responsibilities especially if you have other things going on besides classes. Do not forget to stay proactive. You are first and foremost trying to get a degree and what this means is that you need to pay attention to coursework. I did not expect to feel so behind straight off summer vacation yet, I am struggling already. Some constant readings and assignments require a lot more than undergraduate work. I know I should always be proactive with classes, but I was not expecting to have so much more on my plate. Adulting is hard on its own… throw in masters level classes and whew life just got tougher.

Skimming not Cramming

I was told I would be reading a lot… but someone lied to me because LAWD! I am reading a ton! I have about 100+ pages of reading… every week and sometimes for each class. It is ridiculous to think I can stuff all that information into my head in such a short amount of time so I learned to skim intelligently. Its been super helpful and I don’t feel as behind… yet.

Every Students Path is Different

In many ways similar to undergrad, although this is a much more specific degree regarding the classes you take, every student's path is different. You are all from very different background going into similar but also various fields. Its okay to be different and not try early on to fit into a box. My idea of what a graduate student looks like has shifted in the time I have spent at my grad program and its been such a fantastic experience. I continue to learn and grow each day.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blogpost and it was somewhat helpful to anyone considering going to graduate school! If you are interested in more blog posts like these comment below what you’d like for me to write about!

Love,

Sofi :)

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WHAT IS A THING YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE STARTING GRAD SCHOOL?