Graduate school is a way of life. It isn’t like undergrad, nor is it like a 9-5 job. When you apply to a program, you are also applying for a new way of life that will last for several years. This isn’t a bad thing. The intellectual freedom you’ll get in graduate school, the ability to engage daily with materials that stimulate you, the conversations and support you’ll have, and the rewards of the hard work you’ll do…all of these are profoundly positive things that are part of the lifestyle change that comes with enrollment in a graduate program. It’s so close to the holidays that I won’t dwell on the more challenging aspects of graduate school–but of course, there will be times that are simply harder than others. Know that when you sign on, you’re signing on for a change (academically, emotionally, socially, financially) that will affect how you view the world for the next several years–and likely for your entire life. What’s most important is the level of commitment you bring to your new life–of coursework, exams, and of course, the Big Kahuna of many programs: your dissertation. Understand the challenges and rewards of what you’re doing before you start. I did, and I’m glad I did. PS: Happy Holidays!