Credit: DM Bulletin
Recently I have been reading so many interesting facts about being a Grad Student. I won't write something smarter than that but I think I should be honest by saying how I feel as a Grad Student at the U of M. I read that you don't have a life; you have to read an incredible number of books per week, you drink four cups of coffee or more per day and try to digest an unimaginable quantity of information. For me part of that is true and part of that isn't. It is true that being a Grad Student requires a lot of time for grading (if you get a Teaching Assistant position), reading a lot and writing.
However, there are so many good things that people don't focus on. The first positive thing is that you get to discuss topics that you feel passionate about and things that are your interest. One of the grad student in my department http://spanport.umn.edu/ said that you get to study something you enjoy and you'll be surrounded by those who are equally dedicated to studying things they love.
Another positive thing is that you get to create your own schedule and you have the freedom of turning what you like to do into your job and so on.
Although it can be hard, so far I think it is worth it. What else is better that studying what you really dreamed about?
Here are some personal tips along with some colleague's suggestions:
1. Be on time with every single assignment you have and you'll survive. Remember that every thing is your responsibility.
2. Become friends with your colleagues. This won't happen right after you arrive in your department. It takes times but it is healthy. They'll become your 'amigos profesionales' at the end of the road. You might discover the value of this when you graduate. I haven't yet but I'm sure I will.
3. Apply to go to conferences. They are good for you to find people interested in what you are doing; you create connections that might help you with future projects. It is also a great opportunity to travel around the US and abroad (at least for me this is a great chance for international students and for natives).
4. Try to have a good relationship with your professors and advisers. Nevertheless, do not wait for your adviser to let you know of little deadlines because is your own responsibility to finish your degree. They have a job and you are an independent person pursuing your goal. They are not high school counselors..
5. When you get a paper back with 100 criticisms it might break you down. However, if you can rebuild yourself, you will become tougher.
6. When you feel that you can't make it think about people who don't have the opportunity to be educated and also live in worse conditions than you right now.
7. Have you found the beauty of what you are doing right now?.
If you think there is more to say about this, please leave a comment. It is hard to think of every single possibility. I'm just in my second year of Grad School. Buena suerte!
Some funny and serious links that talk about Grad School:
1. Grad School / U of M http://www.grad.umn.edu/
2. You can watch The PhD Movie: http://www.phdmovie.com
2R. Have you heard/read about the Ceej and Em: Graduate School Barbie (TM):
Post. Another Grad Student mentioned that to be Grad Student is like a being professional hipster (I'll omit to tell you why).
Wait... I forgot to tell you that you will have time to celebrate the achievement of the first year: