Many people often ask me: what do you wish you had known about Grad School? Looking back, my answer is undoubtedly: time management and peer-networking. You will be surprised of how fast the weeks go by when you have A LOT of academic work, in addition to a “personal life”. Putting together a daily schedule will significantly improve your productivity, as well as enable you to schedule time for hobbies and other stress relieving activities. Furthermore, as Amy mentioned of her post: “Use your time wisely”, an organizational structure will prove most beneficial during your dissertation writing phase.
The other thing you want to develop early as a graduate student is a network of peers, that is, within your program, as well as outside your program (or even university). For instance, it took about two years into my graduate career to realize that, at least in computer science, coursework in not meant to be completed independently; even further, collaboration is not only encouraged but expected. Having a network of classmates will provide a support network for studying, working on assignments or projects, as well as relaxing when you are feeling overwork.
Finally, I remember when I was an undergraduate student and one of my mentors told me: “getting through grad school is mostly about perseverance because you will never run out on reasons to quit”. Hence, having a peer group outside your department will play a critical role in the completion of your degree. Ahmed does a terrific job on identifying most of things that grad students will wonder at some point in their graduate career in his post “The first li’l while at the rodeo …”, which I strongly recommend everyone to read. Hope this advice will prove helpful to you!