With a little help from my friends

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.

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wonder_Years

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wonder_Years

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!

Keeping Up with Family and (Off-Campus) Friends

One thing good about the internet is the ability to more easily interact with your family and friends.  Now, when I mean interact, I don’t mean mindlessly scrolling through their Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr profiles.  It really means having a 2-way interaction, whether it be as “slow” as sending them an email update or as audio/visual as a Skype conversation.



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