Graduate school is what you make of it. There has never been a truer statement. I know the statement sounds like it was generated by a poorly paid life coach, but there isn’t much more to say.
Looking back on my first post “iGraduate School” I was more optimistic and excited than I have ever been. I was in a new place with new friends and new experiences, but after the warm glow of elation faded, I was left with the bitter reality that graduate school is work. Slowly, I became disenchanted with academia and found myself doing less and less work. Graduate school was just more school, and as such, I stopped reading and only did what I had to do to get by. I don’t recommend this.
Graduate school is a time for personal growth and development, and even if you don’t care for what you are studying or even find your department lacking, you can still use this time to discover yourself. Remember that every failure is a secret success.
During my time at graduate school, I found independence, faith, friendship, and guidance. I stopped drinking, I stopped partying, and I stopped feeling lost. While some of my classes were a joke, I started to realize that I no longer had to be a cog in the academic machine. I have ideas, passions, and beliefs, and just because some people don’t agree with them, does not mean that I don’t have a right to express them.
I loved my time at graduate school, even during the worst and most painful moments. I learned how to deal with those trials and tribulations; certainly, I am stronger for the experiences. I am not an academic anymore. Graduate school taught me that. I realized that in academia I was learning about what others went out and did… but I wasn’t doing anything. Some people can turn this ideology on its head, doing in graduate school rather than just studying, but my perspective has become solidified that academia is no longer for me. I am okay with that. I would still recommend graduate school to anyone who asked, and I wish you the best of luck on your journey. Just remember two things: enter as many open doors as you can, but never be afraid to exit that door it what’s inside isn’t for you.