So You’re In Grad School: July

I wish I had had the genius idea for this series when I first started this blog. When you’re so used thinking on an academic calendar time frame, it’s really hard to think about something in a January – December way. If I were to start it all over, I would have picked July so I could start with “So You’re GOING To Grad School…”. For those of you that have been reading these posts all along, this is where they start over. Last month, I wrote about the end of a student’s first year and what comes next after graduation. This month, I’ve got something for those of you that are packing up your things and getting ready to move.

If you did graduate earlier this year, I don’t have much to say in this specific post BUT this whole blog chronicles my start in student affairs. I’m not that far ahead of you and I’m sure some of the things I write about will resonate with you. If you have any questions, feel free to send them my way. Starting your first “real” job isn’t that easy and that’s okay.

And now…onto the main part of this post…

For those of you just starting your journey…

You might be moving next week. You might be moving next month. You’re probably really excited and that’s great. I’m not here to try to bring you down, I’m just here to give you some pointers. Unlike your first day of freshman year, you won’t show up the same day as all of your classmates. Your “starting date” most likely depends on what grad assistant position you have. ResLifers will be some of the first to arrive on campus to help with RA training and move in. If you’re doing academic advising, your supervisor might only have you arrive a day or two early. If you don’t know what day you need to be there, now is the time to find out!

There are a lot of differences between grad school and undergrad, even if you chose to stay at the same school! Your office might have limitations in place on how you can interact with students, so you might not be able to go to the same old parties you used to attend. Speaking of friends, the older you get, the harder it is to make friends and that starts with grad school. Think about it. During freshman year, you most likely lived on a floor full of students in a big building full of students. Everybody was new and there were a lot of you. You all had to endure the dining hall together. Now, there are less of you and you might not all even live in the same town. And you’re all super busy. Making (and keeping!) friends gets much harder as you get older.

Academically speaking, there are plenty of differences between undergrad and grad school. Remember in undergrad, the syllabus would tell you to read a chapter or two before coming to class? And nobody did? Well…you’re not going to get away with that anymore. You’ll have PLENTY of reading to do and you’ll be expected to at least kind of know what it was about by the time you get to class. HOWEVER, we had less “homework” (at least it my program). We just had to read and do papers and projects. We didn’t have things that needed to be turned in on a weekly basis.

And for those of you that signed up for one more year…

You’re probably off doing your intern thing. We’ve already chatted about evaluating your internships and trying to get those most out of it…not much else I can tell you there. We also talked about prepping for the upcoming year. Wherever you are, make sure you are still studying every so often! And! If you have some downtime, read up on current events in Higher Ed, like on The Chronicle of Higher Education or Inside Higher Ed‘s websites. You don’t want this to be like elementary school when you returned back from summer vacation completely forgetting how to do long division…or was that just me?

Any other grad school graduates have tips for those currently in grad school? Leave them in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “So You’re In Grad School: July

  1. I will start my masters in the fall, and I am freaking out (in a good and bad way). I have to submit my Grad assistantship contract (which they require that I do it in person), and I live a thousand miles away. My supervisor hasn’t yet informed me when I will start working (even though classes start in August 19th). I feel like I need to take it down three notches and stop worrying about it (at least for now).

    • Your supervisor is probably just busy with planning things for the upcoming year. Don’t take it personally that he/she hasn’t responded to you!! If you’re in ResLife, they might still be planning training. If you’re outside of ResLife, see if you can move into your apartment a week or two before classes start, that way you can get settled in, start your assistantship, and get all that paperwork stuff taken care of.

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