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Grad school is a very scary experience. Like most new things, grad school will put you into some very scary situations that turn out to be just fine. You won’t have to do anything too crazy, I promise you that. But, you will experience stuff that may make you scared. Trust me, it’s all part of the process of making you a great scholar.
It is OK to be scared in grad school. You are going to do many things that are brand new to you and you are going to give a ton of presentations. I mean an absurd amount of presentations. Those can be one of the scariest parts of grad school. You may feel a bit nervous about most things. This is good. This means that you are stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring something new and exciting. I actually drew a visual for me on my white board to let me know that getting out of my comfort zone was good.
I suggest drawing this same figure. There are many different versions of this which I will share but this is my favorite because of it’s simplicity. I need to get out of my comfort zone to get to where the magic happens. Grad school is where that magic is and I definietly got out of my comfort zone with this one. Here’s another version.
I find these visuals to be so motivating.
In grad school, you will traverse through all of these zones to get to where the magic happens. You will acquire so many new skills, and the best part, you will also create a much broader comfort zone.
I often tell new students that the first year will be the hardest. You will be super hesitant to do experiments, meet people, give presentations (link here on how to give great presentations, btw.), etc. This is normal and very much expected but there will come a time where all of the things that made you nervous or scared, won’t anymore. I love seeing when this occurs in new students. They gain confidence in what they do and grow in their experiences.
Embrace the feelings that you get when you are trying something new. Know deep down that this experiences is helping you learn and it is OK to be nervous. You are growing as an individual and that is so freaking cool.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”
**If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, I highly recommend that they seek help. Online-Therapy.com or TalkSpace.com are great ways to reach out to a licensed therapist and get the help needed. Therapy has 100% helped me and I know it can help you.
Excellent post – there is also so much safety when learning in grad school – you are surrounded by any number of people you can ask for advice, both professors and students. I’d also definitely suggest embracing that and learning as much new as possible while in that environment.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” . . . Love that!
This is amazing information ! Thank you so much !!
I love that graphic. It can be applied to any quest. Even at my advanced age I can apply this to my training in dressage!
Just remember that we don’t always have to expand our comfort zone alone.
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