How to Communicate in Grad School?
“Do you understand the words, that are coming out of my mouth?” is quote by Chris Tuckers’ character from the classic buddy cop movie “Rush Hour.” One of the obstacles that Tucker and his co-star, Jackie Chan, had to overcome was being able to communicate with one another. Communication is a very important factor in graduate school, as you have to be able to articulate to other people how you are doing on your academic journey or what you need. This comes down to be able to communicate with professors, classmates and your friends with how you’re feeling in your academic career.
Now that you are in graduate schools it’s important to let your advisors or professors know if ever feel you’re struggling in courses sooner rather than later. You don’t want to wait till after midterms to tell the professor that you’ve been struggling with the material, as had you said something sooner may have affected the difference between passing and failing your exam. Communicating with your professors begins in the classmate. A common practice for students is when it comes to note taking is to pretend you understand what was written on the board, when in reality you don’t. In moments like that it’s important to be honest and let them know if there is any part of the material you don’t understand. If the confusion about the material continues, that’s when it is important to see the professor during office hours. Speaking from experience, I’m currently taking intro to statistics, and I usually see the professor in that course at least once a week in order to gain a better understanding of the course material. So it’s important to communicate with your professors on how you’re doing in your graduate level courses. But the other part of communicate is that with your classmates (colleagues).
Properly communicating with your colleagues, be they in your cohort or organization, is another important of grad school life. This can be applied to not only how to study for classes in your department, but also to be able to coordinate meetings or activities. One way this applies is if you’re apart of a student organization and get emails about coordinating a meeting with other members and need to respond on the location and time. The worst kind of response is no response as that can make it harder to plan a meeting if only a few people respond to the email. So even if the response is not immediate, it’s still better to respond sooner rather than later. This can be applied to studying with a group of your classmates as to not only where to study, but also what to study in terms of course material. Being able to communicate properly with your colleagues helps show your reliability in planning events or meetings, but also shows your understanding the responsibility that comes with it.
Overall knowing how to communicate to other people in graduate school is something you learn over time. There will be times that they’ll come to you, but it’s important to know when to be direct and go to them when you have concerns or planning something. Understanding this will help make your academic career all the more successful.