Grad school is hard work and it is easy to get overwhelmed by it all! It is an absolute commitment of both money and time and so (for me at least) it’s very important to try to get the most of it! Trying to get the most out of the knowledge that is thrown at you, of the amazing mentors and scholars surrounding you and of the learning experience that is offered to you.
Here are four tips to help you get the most out of your grad school (also works with college) experience:
1. Be a keener : When you take the decision to go on to higher education, I’m hoping that it means you’re excited about your topic of study, you’re curious and interested and even fascinated. It’s the perfect place to nerd out! So being a keener is one of the best ways that you’ll get the most out of it! It’s not enough to just show up to lectures/seminars. It’s time to ask questions, go see your profs, email your supervisor. Grad school is a lot more about the contact with your profs and supervisors, to get that knowledge and advices directly from pillars in your field. Take advantage of that!
2. Schedule your time: Time is precious. I did a one year masters and it’s like there was not enough hours in the week for all I wanted to accomplish. Also, you might get lots of ‘free’ time once you get to grad school. I personally only had about 4-6 hours of seminar time a week. That doesn’t mean you go back home and do nothing, it means that you should schedule your time for your independent work. Scheduling is the biggest secret (and one I still have difficulty with) and is absolutely necessary so your work doesn’t get out of control.
3. Be sure to do the assigned reading/work: This might sound like a no-brainer, but let’s be honest, who did all their readings in undergrad? …oh wait, you did? …oh yeah me too… During my masters there were seminars for which I did not have time to finish the readings and I definitely didn’t get much from those classes. At the grad level, classes usually aren’t lectures anymore, but take the form of a discussion. Knowing what people are talking about is definitely required if you want to join in. Of course, readings per week can add up to hundreds and hundreds (even thousands) of pages, but that’s where the scheduling comes in.
4. Take well-earned breaks: All work and no play make for grad students on the verge of nervous breakdowns. Postgraduate students will most probably be overwhelmed at some point during their studies. I know more than one person who had a breakdown during exams and/or during the dissertation process. Working non-stop will make the whole thing worst I can guarantee! You shouldn’t burn yourself out. It, of course, doesn’t mean that partying all the time is advised, especially when there is work to be done. However, I would say that every now and then a break is needed. Whether it’s taking a FB break every time you write 500 words in an essay or having a film night once a week with your friends, you need to remember to take them for your sanity!
What are some things that helped you keep on track in your postgraduate studies? Do you agree with my picks?xx