- Personal relationships: family and/or dating
First, make no mistake: graduate school is all about relationships. Some of them are life-long brotherhood (or sisterhood) type relationships. Some of them are difficult. All of them, however, are a part of grad school. Now the most important relationships are those with the highest levels of trust. With the stresses and rigor required by grad studies, it is imperative that you surround yourself with those that have your best interests at heart. That cannot be understated. That means family and loved ones are an essential part of a healthy grad-student support system. Vital.
Now the next most important relationships are those friends that are likely new but you still have a lot of trust in them. Peers of students can provide a wonderful support as well. In fact these can ultimately be lifelong friends. Think about it: you are studying together, grinding hours upon hours for entire semesters in the same situation. You understand what the graduate experience is…like no other. A true friend is priceless as a graduate student. And the more you have–no its not cliche–the merrier.
To illustrate, let me share an experience. One semester in my doctoral program I experienced a major roadblock. Without sharing details, it was extremely difficult for me. My trust in certain administrators was at an all-time low. But one of the fortunate things for me was that I had a small network of upper level doctoral students with whom we shared an extremely high level of trust. In this difficult tie I was able to turn to these friends and hear their perspectives and rely on their experience. At one point, I spoke to some of them almost daily simply to give them updates and hear their take on the situation. I was able to survive and progress in my program in time…but one crutch that I was able to lean on were those friends that shared much trust. I suggest any grad student who is serious about their long-term success try to cultivate sincere, highly trustworthy relationships while a doctoral student because you will likely rely on them–and certainly them on you–at different points of your program. Make no mistake: the relationships cultivated as a grad student will be a huge predictor of your success.
I can’t believe a month of the semester is already in the books. (Time flies when you are having fun?) In all honesty, one of the things that helps make the academic calendar speed up is the prevalence of guest lectures, seminars, and conferences to attend. As a grad student there are several roles to fill with respect to such opportunities.
A the most basic level you can simply attend a relevant guest lecture to soak in all the information a visiting lecturer can share. Or, if there is not one any time soon, you can arrange for one to come. Most departments have a small pocket of available $$ funds to be used for academic purposes. It is possible to arrange for housing and food for a visitor. With this, you can offer to have a professor or other expert come for 2-3 days. Lastly, you can volunteer to help run a conference. I’ve had the opportunity to co-chair two conferences hosted in the School of Education. These student-led opportunities are invaluable for for both lessons learned and experiences gained. Every conference (both student-led and professional) that I’ve ever been associated with or heard of has always had the opportunity to volunteer and help for several hours during the conference proceedings. So even serving as a volunteer at a professional conference is possible. In totality, the key to these opportunities is to learn, develop, and network with and from those who share the same interests.
Regular maintenance with your car will prevent these scary signals from popping up. However, when you have an 5+ old car expect major repairs and bills. Photo courtesy of www.convoyautorepair.com
People tell you to save for grad school. But what does that money go towards? The most visible channels of your savings goes to tuition, fees, and living expenses. However, one of the most unexpected expenses I faced Continue reading
At the beginning of every semester in the social psych area, we set up the schedule for our area colloquium. Once we cover who all the outside speakers are, and when they’ll be coming, there’s the critical moment where the faculty member in charge says, “which graduate students would like to present?” There’s always the awkward moment (or few moments) of looking around, avoiding everyone’s glances, and then eventually enough people sign up. What’s funny is that this same scene plays out every semester! It’s nerve-wracking to get up in front of all the faculty and graduate students in the area and talk about your own research for an hour (or longer…), but it’s a great opportunity to practice presentation style and skills, as well as the best way to communicate the novelty and excitement of your own research to others.
So, if you have a chance to present at anything, a conference poster session, an IU research symposium, or your departmental colloquium, rip off the Band-Aid (so to speak) and volunteer yourself. You may be nervous, but if you prepare for it ahead of time, you’ll be just fine!
Graduate school is an incredible experience that will test your limits, be they intellectual, emotional, health-oriented, or anything else. My friends and my family are my number one support system in graduate school, and I lean on them like crazy.
One of the most important things that I’ve learned is that it’s important to be honest. Especially in the first year of a program, there will be the people who are trying to put on airs to seem like they work the hardest (most common phrase, “I got no sleep last night”) or that they are the smartest (most common phrase, “I read < article > where < big name in the field > referenced < theory > that said ___”) and if you get bogged down in trying to play that game, you will end up feeling inadequate. Not to mention, those people are
probably definitely exaggerating.
The problem with putting up a façade is that you cut yourself off from receiving the support that you actually need. So, instead of saying “I got no sleep last night,” talk to your cohort mate or a more senior student about how you’ve been spending your time, and ask for advice on how to make sure you’re focusing on the right things. Support systems can’t work if you are not honest and open about the kind of support you need. Nurture those relationships, and you will have a much more fun, if not enjoyable, time in graduate school!
So…I am writing my dissertation. Panels 1- 3 and represent my current situation.
2013 was a banner year for challenges. There were losses: first, in February, the unexpected death of the husband of one of my best friends; and second, in July, the sudden and unexpected death of my own sister.
Of course, there were the additional challenges associated with these deaths – supporting my friend as she reeled from her loss and the stress resulting from my own family’s struggle with decisions regarding the withdrawal of life support measures after my sister’s catastrophic injury. Continue reading
Photo from http://www.dcc.edu/resources/flu
That’s right, its flu season. In addition to bundling up to brave freezing cold temperatures, occasional snow showers, and thick patches of ice on your way to class and work, now you’ve got to worry about the dreaded flu. Not to fret, the IU Health Center wants students to be proactive and prepare for the flu season (which, by the way can last until April!) by getting a flu shot.
Flu season or not, the IU Health Center is a great resource for graduate students, especially Student Academic Appointees utilizing the mandatory health insurance plan. There are registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, doctors, psychologists, nutritionists, phlebotomists, and even massage therapists on staff to provide a range of services to students. There is also a pharmacy right inside. Also, remember that more than likely at any institution you attend for graduate studies, the student fees you pay are helping to fund health centers.
…stay safe and stay smart! A strong and healthy immune system is the only way those chapters will get written, presentations get finished, and papers get graded.
Photo by gohabitat.net
Any Midwesterner will tell you, the Midwest doesn’t have “mild” temperature very often. Winter is no exception. When it’s cold outside, all one really wants to do is crank up the heater to a toasty 85 degrees, eat chocolate, and sit down to a fun movie, courtesy of Netflix. Unfortunately, doing so will has a direct correlation to the electric bill. I’m going to provide a few tips here for saving money when Jack Frost decides to swoop in and steal away your
As a disclaimer, this post has nothing to do with the book.
Image courtesy of Google Maps. Edited by Tiphani D
I am a Kansas City native (from the better, more functional Missouri side, not the dark, desolate Kansas side), and I used to be a fair weather fan; I didn’t want to be there when I was in high school, but when I went off to college and then graduate school, I missed it terribly. What can be said…often times, the adult longs for the crib as it were; recalling a place where life was all about coloring, watching Disney movies (without analyzing it down to the pixels), and eating cereal, laden with refined sugar.
I almost didn’t trust myself on this topic, due to the extreme bias it permits me to take, without really having to provide any empirical evidence, or legitimate scholarly insight. However, I will attempt to make this post somewhat informative, in that it will hopefully assist as a guide for how to get through the “This city is (insert colorful adjective, noun, or noun phrase here)” inner dialogue, that will without question, plague your mind at least twice a week.