I am a firm believer that sweatpants, a T-shirt and an assortment of sugary snacks can be a human’s best friends, but sometimes these need to be abandoned in favor of finding your social and professional niche within the IU community. While it sounds daunting, and not at all as easy as blasting through a marathon of Law and Order: SVU, it is an extremely important skill. I will, in full disclosure admit to not mastering this yet, but it is important to make connections for professional development, and for you own mental health; grad school is hard, and having a circle of people you can talk to can make the process easier. Continue reading
Though it may seem like a tiny dot of light at the end of a long, paper lined tunnel, there opportunity to go on leisurely breaks throughout the semester do exist; particularly around major holidays, such as Thanksgiving, and the oh so festive Winter Break where one is expected to do nothing but visit with close family and/or friends, and gorge themselves shamelessly on seasonally appropriate goodies. Continue reading
TUITION! FEES! BILLS! Words scarier than the most blood curdling horror story for a graduate student. I think the biggest concern for graduate students right after getting accepted, is figuring out how to pay for your new life as a burgeoning academic. It should come as no surprise that the pathway to higher education is never one paved in gold, with money trees and cash bushes lining the sides; the “poor college student” narrative tends to transform itself into the slightly more adult sounding “destitute graduate student” memoir. This should be looked at as an expectation, rather than a fear, however. There are ways of paying for it!
Do you remember when you were a child, waiting patiently at the bus stop, excited for the yellow school bus to come and whisk you off to school, because nothing was better than riding a bus packed with 40 wriggling, grumpy pre-teens? Continue reading
Imagine this scenario: It’s crunch time, in multiple ways; you might have a paper or a group project that needs to get done ASAP, or you might actually have the munchies. What better of a way to continue to procrastinate on the former, and satisfy the latter than to go out to eat? Continue reading
The decision to go to grad school is, believe it or not, like buying trail mix. At first, this sounds rather abstract, but work with me. It’s true!
You have people that like trail mix for its nutritional value. It’s a healthy, sweet snack that provides you with energy and protein. You can pat yourself on the back for choosing it over, say, a bag of doughnuts.
…Then you have people who just buy it for the chocolate chips, M&Ms and, if it’s a particularly good batch, the peanut butter chips. The pretzels, peanuts and raisins are really just there to say you made/bought a snack with something in it generally deemed as “healthy.”
I happen to fall into the latter camp. I wanted the candy, and the ability to pat myself on the back for resisting the doughnuts. However, I expected I would have to eat some peanuts, or even
lower myself to eat the raisins every once in a while. 55% of my reason for attending grad school was because it just sounded healthy. A bachelor’s degree has become the old high school diploma, so in order to take care of my “health,” with the incentive of a ”sweet” degree, I entered graduate school.
Graduate school is a great way to connect with people, keep yourself busy, and do your own research in an area you are interested in, with professors who are just as interested in that material as you are. It will, generally speaking, put you ahead of your peers in the workforce. In addition, each program will have its own variety of chocolate chips (Fellowships, grants, job placement rates, etc.), that really make trail mix tolerable, if not moderately delicious, so there are many good reasons to go to graduate school.
It is, however, full of peanuts and pretzels and those weird, salty, garlic crisps that may or may not cancel out the tasty, sugary good bits. Obviously, graduate school calls for a higher level of output, success, and precision in the classroom and than most undergraduate institutions. Then there’s the thesis/essay/project/dissertation you may have to do…
However, if the promise of chocolate chips and M&Ms outweighs the idea of eating garlic crisps, grad school is a great choice.
In the interest of not over-extending the trail-mix analogy, I’ll summarize by saying one must examine their own life goals, aspirations, and tolerance for academia. Getting a job could be more of an immediate need, or perhaps you’re just ready for a more immediate form of gratification.
Should you choose the doughnuts over the trail mix, however, there is no shame in this option either. The option of going to graduate school later is also an option. One does not have to enter directly after undergrad (though, I chose to go this route), either. Trail mix is almost never out of stock.