How to Survive Grad SchoolMaria A Hernandez

It’s been a while, my little pufflings.

Sorry about that, but you know, school and life.

I conducted a poll via my Tumblr a couple of weeks ago and this is what y’all wanted to know: how to survive grad school. I’m here to tell you, but first a little background on myself.

I am a graduate student studying business, also known as an MBA. Yes, my background is in science (Chemistry), but after graduation I was like, “F-that, I don’t want to be touching toxic chemicals my whole life and be cooped up in a lab.” So I got to thinking, and decided that business was the way to go. Somehow, I would combine my background in science with business in a way that would make me filthy rich. There is no shame in wanting to make piles of money, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise (as long you’re not making said money in some immoral way).

I applied to graduate school and, lo’ and behold, I got in! Woohoo! (The application process was an ordeal in itself, let me tell you).

What’s graduate school really like? A lot of work. There is always something to do. You thought you were working hard in undergraduate? Nope, you weren’t. Grad school is a different beast. In my field, especially, everything is detail oriented (it’s probably a good thing that I’m a Virgo, you know, being all analytical and stuff). I’m working really hard all the time and it kind of sucks sometimes.

Actually, it sucks a lot of the time.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This light, my friends, is my future. It is a bright future indeed. Grad school is going to take over your life, but there is no greater investment than an investment made on yourself. Guess what? Education is a pretty great investment on yourself (minus all the student loans). The debt sucks, but one day you’re going to pay it back and you’re going to be free again.

Grad school is all about the future. Just think about it this way: you’re building a better future for yourself and that’s all that matters. Sure, it’s going to suck for a little while, but like all things in life, it is only temporary. Remember that.

Also, it’s not all bad. I’ve made some amazing friends in my time in school. I’ve had more fun in these past six months than I had in all of undergrad. This is the time to build lifelong friendships and network. By going to grad school, you’re already ahead of the curve. I suggest making friendsies with all the people that you’re in grad school with. Like you, one day they’re going to be running stuff (Who run the world? Girls!) and you want to have that connection.

Graduate school is a unique time in your life. This is something that you’re never going to experience again and, trust me, it will pay off. Have fun. I’ve found that taking snacks to study sessions really helps. Most importantly, always remember that this is an investment in yourself (since you’re awesome, then it follows that grad school is also an awesome investment).

Pro-tip: time management is hella’ important. Get a planner and get yo’ self organized. It makes life so much less painful.

If you have any more questions, ask away in the comments section!

Tweet and Tumblr at me too, if you want.

Image via Shutterstock.com

comments

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  1. I think one important thing about grad school that people don’t always mention is that unlike undergrad studies, you have to make of it what you want. You no longer have a rigid degree plan. You can cater your education to your chosen career path. I think of grad school as a really long specialized internship. I get to decide where to focus my attention and who I want to network with to get to the next step of my career. Grad school is unique for every student.

  2. I’ll be writing a second part to this because there are a lot or things that I missed. I will tell you this as advice for time management: you have to prioritize. Get the most important tasks done first and then go into stuff that can wait or that you have a little more wiggle room. Also realize that sometimes it’s just not going to be possible to finish everything in a day. Give yourself an hour or two everyday to decompress. I know it sounds like that’s taking away from work time but trust me that you’re going to produce better quality work after relaxing a little bit.

  3. I’m surprised that it didn’t read like instructions! I am an undergrad student applying to the Graduate program at my U. And it helped to take away some of the, “Can I really do it?” feelings. It’s encouraging to know that you can network and although it’s stressful it’s worth it. Thanks!

    • Em sure you will nail it !! and let me tell you one more things, if thoughts are negetive STOP thinking and START doing..- that’s it,….x

  4. ughhh more time management tips would be great! also I am neglecting my friends and family because all i do is read, write papers and now working. I love my program but its overwhelming and my social life is suffering. Advice?

    • I have completed two years of a Ph.D. and those two years toke a serious toll on my social life. The good thing was that the really good friends that were supportive understood that I was really busy, and I have kept those friends. I really have tried to give myself at least one night every week where I can spend time with friends and family. It is tough though. Additionally, try to make friends with some of the other students. It helps to have a social life with people who are on your same schedule.

  5. as a grad school student this was fun to read, but i don’t really feel like it told me how to survive.