Saturday, July 18, 2009

Things I've Learned from Graduate School (as of July 18th)

These are in no particular order, and I'm sure that this list will change with each summer I am in this program, and even after I've had a chance to reflect on everything I have experienced this summer.

1. Sleep as much as you can, because there will be weeks in which you get little of it.
2. Work ahead of schedule as much as possible. There are times where you have little on your plate, and others where you feel as if there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. PLAN AHEAD!
3. Start the research paper on day one...don't procrastinate as I did!
4. Find a little bit of time every day for yourself. Even if you only get 30 minutes, take some time to be you. It is especially important on those days where you feel overwhelmed and swamped.
5. Eat healthy. Drink lots of water.
6. Listen to the advice of those who have gone before you and who have more experience. If I would have listened to Brenda, Carol, and Lornetta, I would have taken voice lessons instead of piano, and would have taken public transportation more.
7. Take public transportation! Yes, it's nice having a car on campus, but it's definitely more relaxing to sit on a train instead of in traffic! Plus, you can read on the train. You shouldn't read while driving on the expressway.
8. Lean on your friends/family/significant others. They always want to support and help you in any way that they can! Even if that means begging them to listen to you vent for 15 minutes, helping you clean our car, or entertaining your cats/kids/dog, it's the little things. Just be prepared to bake for them or return the favor!
9. Make friends! You will need that support group, not to mention that core group to bounce ideas off of each other. Who knows...maybe you'll even end up on the same train! You're all in this together, you know!
10. Take time to reflect on what you've learned and how you're going to apply this knowledge. It can be overwhelming if you wait until the program is over to look back...make notes, write a journal, use post-its, code...whatever system works for you!

As I said, I know this list will change, so I'll add to it once I finish school (in a week, wow!).

What other pieces of advice would you offer to someone in graduate school?


  1. All important: I especially concur with #5 and %9. Staying healthy is essentia. Support? Priceless.

  2. I like tying number 1 and 7 together, sleep on the train! :-)

  3. The piano lessons aren't paying off as planned? Why?

  4. Brenda, I didn't mean the lessons weren't paying off...it's more for the reasons you all mentioned. I can't practice for piano in the car or in the shower like I could for voice. It just meant finding time to practice, which was difficult during a couple of the heavier weeks. I've learned a lot, though!