So You’re In Grad School: March

I know that February is a short month, but honestly that was the fastest four weeks of my life! I hope it felt a bit slower for all you grad students out there…

If you’re a first year student…

By now you should definitely know what you are doing for the summer, even if those plans are working at the town beach Snack Shack. Some awesome last minute opportunity might come up, but if you don’t have plans to learn more this summer, you better have plans to EARN MORE this summer. (See what I did there?) But really. I know you. I know your past. You graduated with a degree that you’re currently not using and have loans you’re currently not paying off because you’re in grad school. You might spend too much time and/or money at the mall…okay maybe that was just me in grad school. ANYWHO. If you haven’t already been offered an internship, now might be the time to come to terms with being a camp counselor/nanny/retail worker for the summer.

Registration for next semester (aka next year) is right around the corner. As a second year student, you probably have more room to take electives. Ask some of the current second year students what they took and what they liked. Think about your future career goals and see how those electives fit in. Also, you might be required to do an internship during the school year at some point during your second year. I might have mentioned this before, but if your grad school is in a city or located a reasonable distance from another college, see if you can do this internship at another school, particularly if this school is a different type than the one you currently attend/work at (small vs. large, public vs. private, etc.).

Your friends in their second year are probably VERY into their job searches right now, but see if they have some free time to grab a drink or hang out for a bit. They will be gone soon and you won’t be able to ask for help or advice…at least not as easily as you can now! But don’t worry…you know who will be taking their place soon? YOU! Which means…new first year students! Try your best to squeeze in some volunteering during interview days. I unfortunately did not get to do this, but I remember the student who (literally) took me in and showed me around during my interview weekend.

If you’re a second year student…

You probably skipped the first part of this entry. THAT’s how busy you are right now. Actually, you’re probably reading this while sitting in the airport waiting to board your flight to TPE. I wish you the best of luck!

What can you expect at TPE? Well, it’s going to be huge. Like, no matter how much I say that, you still will not be prepared for just how huge it is. The room with mailboxes that was at your regional conference? At least ten times more. Oh, and that’s just candidate mailboxes. But if you did go to a regional conference, the set up is rather similar, just bigger.

There’s a room with candidate mailboxes. You will want to check this room every five minutes but you MUST refrain from doing so. It will just make you feel bad about yourself. When you do go in there, try to ignore all the goodies you see stuffed into or on top of people’s boxes. I swear, I somehow managed to interview with the only schools NOT giving out water bottles or t-shirts or stuffed animals. That also made me feel bad. As much as you’re going to want to go check your box with friends, try to not go with friends that interviewed for the same position as you. Nothing feels worse than one of you getting invited to a second interview and the other one not. There’s also a room with employer mailboxes. You will not go in this room. Instead, there are boxes you can leave it in in each of the candidate work rooms.

So yes, there are candidate workrooms. There are some that are more quiet than others and there are some with computers and printers. Unless it is first thing in the morning or the end of the day, you will never find a completely empty table, so be ready to make some new friends! I actually stayed in touch with the friends I made at TPE and it was nice to hear about somebody else’s job search that wasn’t in my program.

There’s a candidate waiting area, but this time it’s grouped by alphabet. You will begin to know the people in your section. If they are set up like they were last year, interviewers could come to either end of the curtained-off “room”, so sitting in the middle was your best bet. Try to get there a bit early so you can sit in the front row and won’t have to awkwardly step over people’s feet and bags when trying to leave your middle row seat. Also, try to avoid scheduling interviews back-to-back. This will KILL you.

Have a wonderful March and I cannot wait to hear about either your internships for the summer or next year ORRR your first big kid jobs! Also, if you have any ideas about what to tell first year students in April…just looked in my notebook (and on the SYIGS page) and saw that all I wrote was question marks. Sigh.

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