After Spring break, most students regardless of classification are looking to prepare themselves to end the semester strong. The important thing to consider after spring break in particular, however, is how you will continue your matriculation progress through the summer. While most students may choose to focus on day of, or week of assignments, graduate students should be planning ahead with research and writing plans during and post-semester. I’ve come to realize that pacing yourself as a graduate student with rotating weekly obligations is a near superpower, once you get the hang of it.
Research and writing planning during the late spring can certainly provide a boost for graduate students to apply for grants, conferences, and other fellowship opportunities in the future. As you consider what “springing into action” means for you specifically, I would propose the following questions to determine which action should be taken to ensure optimal success for you as a prospective or current graduate student:
- What stage are you in currently in pursuit of your graduate degree? (classification, program requirements, research interests)
- Where are your research archives? (databases, libraries, locations outside of the university)
- Is there a conference, fellowship, grant, that you need to write for? (deadlines, recommendations, format)
- How can you get ahead with writing for the next term over the summer? (May/June/July)
Sometimes grad school can get tough sometimes and it happens to everybody, no matter what they say otherwise. Everyone has felt a little overwhelmed or out of place during their time in grad school. In order deal with this, it is important to have self-care for yourself. Self-care can mean many things to each individual person.
I recommend spending time outdoors. Here are some of my favorite places to go.
It is nice to go at different seasons because you can see the landscape change especially in Fall, Autumn, and Spring.
There are easy to moderate trails available at Griffy Lake. There is a very popular trail by the parking lot that is a good trail to do for your first time. If you want a more solitude trails I recommend one of the shore trails (look online for map). I recommend hiking in the Fall and the Spring.
If you are not a hiking person then I suggest renting a Kayak or canoe to spend some time on the lake. I think the rentals are closed for a portion of the year, so check online.
Brown County State Park and Nashville
They are right next to each other. Start your day with a small hike and finish it off with half a day walking around the small town. It has a lot of tiny shops of almost anything you can think of.
So how would I describe my average day at IU as a graduate student?
I like schedules and being successful in graduate school requires some scheduling.
I wake up in the mornings at 6:45 am to feed my dog. Yes, I have a pet in grad school, which is not recommended, but he is very helpful of keeping me on schedule and being mindful. Then I prepare my stuff and watch a bit of news.
I get to work around 8 am and look at my to do list for the day. Usually I prepare the list the night before at work. The next 11 hours are a mixture of running reactions, analyzing results, reading literature, answering emails.
Of course, I take a lunch for break. I like to leave the Chemistry building at least once a day. I use it to clear my head, which I highly recommend to anyone in graduate school. I finally go home and have dinner at around 7pm and decompress from my day. Interacting with my dog reminds me to be mindful and present and not to dwell on my mental to do list for the next day.