How to Celebrate Getting Into Grad School

It’s decision month for many individuals. I have been seeing quite a few tour groups on campus and have received many emails about prospective students coming. So, this is a great time to learn how to celebrate getting into grad school.

Everyone has their different method of celebrating. For me, I love celebrating things with pizza…pizza as well as cake. I know people that will go on trips to celebrate something as big as getting into grad school. For me, I can’t really afford that, but I will treat myself.

So today, I want to go over some ways to celebrate this huge accomplishment, getting into grad school. There should be a ton of celebrating because this is a big deal. Many people don’t even get into grad school, so of course you need to celebrate. So, Let’s list off some of my favorite ways to celebrate an event like this.

Ways to celebrate Getting into Grad School

1) Have a pizza party

It is cheap, it is delicious, and it is a great way to celebrate your achievement. When I was accepted to grad school, I bought the most expensive pizza deal from Dominos (I love their pizza. Don’t judge me), and I watched Doctor Who for probably 4 hours lol. Yes, I celebrated getting into grad school with pizza and the doctor. This is usually how I celebrate things, unless it’s graduating, then I throw a party.

2) Go on a trip.

If you are able to, I would highly suggest going on a trip prior to starting grad school. Celebrate being accepted by travelling to a new and foreign place. It might be the last time for a while that you can go on a trip, so I would highly suggest going. I went to Canada prior to starting grad school and I am so glad I did. It gets hard to find time to travel when you have deadlines to meet and experiments to do.

3) Go out on the town and do fun things with friends

Your friends want to celebrate with you as well. In fact, they might be more excited about you getting accepted than you are. It is a weird thing but some people just really get overly excited about these things. Anyway, go celebrate with them by doing something fun. This is also a really good thing to do, especially if grad school is in another state, because it gives you more time to hang with your friends before you leave for school. Spend as much time with them as possible before you leave. It will mean a lot to you and to them.

4) Schedule a tour and celebrate on campus before starting

This is a good way to celebrate if you have friends that are already at the school. I did this in undergrad when I was accepted to UF. If you have friends at the school already, go visit them and also schedule a tour of the campus. You can celebrate getting into the grad program at the college itself and get a free tour of the campus too. Get it out of your system now because it’s all work from here on out lol.

5) Buy new clothes

Celebrate getting into grad school buy buying new clothes and a new wardrobe. This is a fresh start and a good reason to get rid of old clothes and get new ones. You want to look like a grad student and less of an undergrad, right? I did not do this and now I am stuck with clothes that make me look like I am stuck in the 2010’s lol.

Final Thought

No matter how you celebrate, do something. This is a huge accomplishment and a great way to start on your journey into the academic world. Congratulations on getting into grad school. I remember when I received my acceptance letter, I was at work and pretty much cried lol. I was so excited but had to stay pretty calm because it meant that I would be leaving my company to start school. After receiving my acceptance, I told my parents who were very proud and excited.

It took a few weeks to let everyone else know because I had to sort it all out first to make sure it was actually happening. It’s a scary and exciting transition from working full time to going back to school. Anyway, congrats again. Grad school is a wonderful and exciting experience and I know you will love it. Here are a few more ways to celebrate getting into grad school.

How to Deal With Grad School Stress?

Have you ever asked yourself why things are the way that they are? Like, why do we have to drive on the right side of the road? Or, why is it that you can’t just eat only one brownie when a plate is left in front of you? These are questions that keep me up at night. One of the things that I question and want to really get down to the core about is why is grad school so stressful? Does it have to be stressful? Why is there even stress in grad school? I thought we were done with that in undergrad. Today, I want to touch on this subject and possibly answer why grad school is stressful and what we can do about it.

Main Reasons for Grad School Stress

There are going to be a ton of reasons in grad school to feel stressed. Some are normal and some might not be. Do not worry though. You will get out of grad school alive and well, potentially a bit insane, but we can work on that later. Grad school is a stressful time but also a great time in your life. I want to discuss some of the reasons for stress and also want to discuss ways you can reduce this stress.

1) The workload is too much

I think that this is the main cause of stress in grad school. The first two years of a program will be heavy with coursework and maybe a few experiments here and there. This will be a bit overwhelming at first because you might not be used to this workload. For some individuals, undergrad was a cake walk and then they decided to go to grad school. The first assignment you have might be a 10 page analysis on the origins of life or something like that. If you come from a major that was easy, you can see how grad school might kick your butt at first. Many majors that were hard just stay right on track with the level of difficulty. Engineering, for example, is the same thig but you’ll probably write a bit more in your classes.

You will have a smaller course load than undergrad but you will be plenty busy. In grad school, the professors expect you to work, and work hard. You’ll get plenty of assignments to do on top of your lab work. This can definitely be extremely stressful and anxiety inducing.

2) You may not have any support

I think a huge part of stress in grad school is doing research alone. You don’t really have the support of others because, frankly, they have no idea what you even do. You will be alone most of the time and that can be stressful and a bit depressing. Stressful, because you end up putting way too much pressure on yourself, and depressing, because, well, you’re alone. These two, mixed together, is a dangerous concoction.

Not having the support of others can make the whole experience super stressful. As I said above, you’ll start pushing yourself harder and harder and just stressing yourself out because you don’t have anyone to tell you that it’s good enough. I wish this wasn’t a thing in grad school and I wish people didn’t encourage pushing yourself that hard as well.

3) You won’t have a lot of time to interact and make friends

Sure, you will make friends, I wrote an article on how to (here), but you might not be as social as you were in undergrad. You may also find it a bit difficult to make friends. That just adds to the stress already built up. I found that not having a support group (aka friends) made it hard to vent and release some pent of stress from school. You may also feel stressed trying to get friends as well. No one wants to feel lonely while spending 5+ years in a grad program.

You will feel stressed to find friends and that can make things very hard for you in grad school. There are many ways to help to relieve this stress which I will talk about later in this post.

4) Financial Stress

Grad school stress is brought on by a ton of different things and I think financial stress is one of the big reasons for it. There is so much uncertainty in grad school and you might not know if you’ll be able to afford to eat next week. You don’t get paid that much in grad school, and holding a part-time job during can be almost impossible. I have written a ton about how to make money in grad school, but it doesn’t help that much with the stress. You might be adding even more stress to your experience because you are working extra to pay bills.

You’re practically poor in grad school and that’s just how it is, unfortunately. We are apprentices so they don’t have to really pay us more, since we are “learning the trade”. Many of us have families to take care of and loved ones. So, money can be a problem. Once I figure a sure-fire way to not be poor, I’ll let you guys know. Until then, we just carry on.

What to do to Deal With Grad School Stress?

There are many things that I discuss on my website about dealing with stress. In fact, the main reason for the blog was how to be mindful and reduce the hardships of grad school. Check out my other blogs (here) for more incite. Anyway, let’s discuss a few ways in which we can reduce grad school stress and potentially thrive off it.

1) Get organized.

This is such a simple thing as well as highly effective. It is so easy to just have papers all around, no planner whatsoever, and nothing to keep your organized. This can make it harder to get things done due to clutter as well as make things very stressful due to lack of organization. First, get yourself a planner so write down all deadlines and what to do everyday. Next, clean your desk. The more clutter, the more likely you misplace something important. Organization will make it easy to find things you need and you won’t feel as overwhelmed by clutter. The planner will keep you on top of assignments and deadlines.

The first thing that I did when I was overwhelmed with work was writing everything down in my planner. I saw how much work I need to do and when it was due. This allowed me to schedule my days to work on assignments exclusively and my productivity increased drastically. I also decluttered my desk and actually found some pretty important documents! Yay to decluttering.

2) Make sure to take breaks

I wrote the other day about how to prevent burnout. Constant stress in grad school can most definitely lead to burnout and a potential mental breakdown. When overly stressed, you need to take a moment and just relax. Meditate for like 15 minutes or go on a long walk. Get away from work for a while and things will get better. You may just be caught up in the moment and feel overwhelmed. After a nice little break, you might find clarity and realize that it’s not that bad.

Breaks will also prevent chronic stress from happening. This will make your grad school experience terrible and you do not want that. Remember that relaxation and rest are key components to productivity and stress reduction.

3) Seek out help

I think this is a very important way to reduce stress, yet people often don’t do it. It is amazing how reaching out to someone for help will alleviate so much stress in your life. If you are feeling overwhelmed with school, reach out to a professor or adviser and ask them for advice. May reach out to the professor of the courses you take and ask for an extension if you are feeling overwhelmed. They will most likely help you out. If you are really struggling, reach out to your friends and family for support. They will gladly help.

There are many places on campus where you can reach out to reduce stress. Study groups, student health centers, and tutoring places. All free to grad students. Take full advantage of these to help and reduce the overwhelming feelings you get in grad school.

4) Learn to shop deals

Things are getting pricey these days (thanks inflation), which will make financial burdens worse. One way to deal with this is shop deals. Take full advantage of being a student and look for student discounts. If you like music, Spotify has a monthly subscription for students that’s $5.99 and include premium Spotify and also Hulu. If you love Amazon, apply for their student program for a discounted Amazon prime membership. You will soon realize that you don’t have to deprive yourself of luxuries in life if you shop deals and use student discounts. Do this will keep money in your bank account and financial stress away.

Sometimes money can get really tight in grad school. You may even need to take out loans. This is fine as long as it helps to reduce that burden. Taking loans out is scary, but sometimes necessary to make sure to finish your degree. Take out loans only if you absolutely need to. Interest rates for paying them back can be high.

5) Exercise Please!

Everyone knows that exercise is a great stress reliever. So, why don’t we do it more? Well, people are so overwhelmed with stuff that they may be too tired or they just don’t have time to do it. We need to incorporate exercise into our life to make sure that stress doesn’t get the best of us. Take a look at this article by May Clinic. They go over all the different ways in which exercise helps you manage stress. Some of these include improving mood, reducing the negative effects of stress, as well as pumping up your endorphins. Really, guys and gals, go exercise. Heck, just go on a walk. That will make things a lot better for you.

6) Reduce Grad School Stress By Having Fun

Last, but certainly not least, have fun. Make grad school a fun experience. Try and have fun with work and make that a fun experience too. You’ll notice that your stress will probably come from how you perceive doing something. You may feel more stressed if you have to do something that you don’t find fun. Try and make those things fun by turning them into a game or giving yourself a prize for completing it. This will reduce the stress from doing it.

Final Thoughts

Grad school stress is terrible. You may feel more stressed than ever, especially towards the end. Try to combat these feelings if you can. It will make the whole 2 to 8 years way easier and quite enjoyable.

For those in grad school or those that have finished, how did you reduce stress or deal with it while you were doing your studies? Let us know in the comments. Thanks.

How to Prevent Grad School Burnout

This post about burnout in grad school may contain affiliate links. For more information see disclosure at bottom of home page

I am hoping you are coming to this page in hopes to prevent burnout in grad school rather than trying to find a cure. Today, I want to share what burnout in grad school is and how to prevent it. I also want to discuss ways in which you can help reduce it, in case you are already burnt out.

What is burn out in grad school?

According to mayo clinic “burnout is a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity”. Burnout is pretty much working yourself so much to the point where you lose motivation to do any work, what-so-ever. People that experience burnout usually work quite a lot and are in very stressful fields of work or study. Grad school is one of those fields in which you will probably be working way more hours than full time employees. you will most likely over exhaust yourself day after day. This can lead to burn out.

How do I know I am burnt out?

When you first started grad school, did you feel super motivated? You were ready to take on the world and every project out there! After a little while of working, you started to notice that you didn’t really have the motivation anymore. You may have woken up and found that you really couldn’t do any work at all. At first you may just stay you’re tired, but after a while, you notice that the feeling of being tired just doesn’t go away. This is where burn out comes to play. You will know that you have hit burnout when you just can’t muster up the strength to do any work or accomplish anything related to your studies.

When Will I most Likely Experience Grad School Burnout?

Some of the notorious periods for experiencing burnout would be during finals, during your qualifying exam, and at the very end with your defense. If you are in a Master’s program that is non-thesis, you may experience burnout towards the end of the semester. For PhD students, you may experience it during your quals and definitely during the time you are writing a paper for publication. Towards the end of your doctorate, you will be so busy that burnout is almost inevitable. Luckily, there are ways to combat burnout.

How to Prevent Burnout in Grad School?

The first thing that you need to do when you start grad school is develop a plan on doing non-academic related things. This is just as important as working on your studies. Trust me when I say this “relaxation and recovery are the keys to productivity!” If you work yourself to the bone, you will hit burnout and this can lead to weeks, possibly months of no productivity. So, first things first, establish a schedule to incorporate fun into your life.

Your to-do list

Next thing that I want you to do to prevent burnout is make sure that your list of things to do each day is much smaller than you want. You do not need to be cramming 1000 things into your day. You will overwhelm yourself and this will definitely cause some problems. Reduce the amount of work that you want to get done. Also, remember that a grad degree is a marathon and not a sprint. You can’t complete a doctorate in a day or a week. It takes years and you need the strength and energy to complete it.

Set a Time to End the Day

There may be days where you have to be in the lab until 10 pm, but for the most part, you’ll be done by 5. Treat your studies like a day job. Work from 9 to 5 each day and then just quit. Don’t go home and do work. Don’t stay passed that time to get a little bit more work in. No, just stop. Go work out or go have fun. Call up a friend and go to the movies. Leave work at work and go enjoy your life, Try and make this a recurring thing. If you work hard during the day then 5 pm is a good cut off time anyway. This will help with the relaxation preventative measure as well.

Limit Caffeine

This one may surprise you but it is actually something that I have found causes me to burn out much quicker. I love coffee and it hurts to know it can hurt me. Caffeine somewhat boosts my productivity. After a while, I start to rely on the caffeine to keep me going. You know what that does? It doesn’t allow me to rest. When you work a ton, you may get into your lab a bit tired. This might be your body telling you to slow down. When you have caffeine, you end up perking yourself back up. This will make you productive but even more tired the next day. Repeat this cycle a few days and next thing you know, you can’t get out of your bed and you’re exhausted when you wake up. Be mindful of the caffeine consumption that you have.

What if I am Burnt Out?

So you checked off all of the boxes and determined that you have hit burnout. Now what? Well let’s go through some ways to get out of this terrible time and possibly learn from it.

Tell your adviser

Many times, the reason you got burned out was because of your adviser or the amount of work that you have to do for them. I am sure that you have done a crazy amount of work for them many times. They most likely don’t knowhow much time you spend doing stuff. They may keep giving you work, thinking that you can do it in like an hour when in reality, it takes 2 or 3 days. Talk with them. Let them know that you are overworked and really feeling unmotivated and burnt out. They will understand, I promise. They will also probably tell you t take a few days off.

Take a few days off

Mind burnout may only require a few days of just doing nothing. If it is extreme burnout where you can’t function, you’ll need more time. Towards the end of the semester, you are likely to feel the crushing effects of burnout, after this period, take a vacation. Go on a trip and leave your work at school. Vacations are a great way to get back to your old self and you’ll definitely have more motivation to work after one.

Sometimes just taking a day off to go do something fun during the week is what will get you back into things. When you are severely impacted by burnout, tell your adviser that you are going to take some time off. This is a great time to just get some sleep, catch up on Netflix, listen to your favorite book on Audible, or heck, cook your favorite food.

Sleep more

When I hit burnout after my qualifying exams, I slept in every day for about a month. I had severe burnout and needed the rest. Lately, I have been working a bit more, trying to write a paper for publication, and I have been forcing myself to sleep early. This is a great preventative measure as well as remedy for when you are burned out. Feeling well rested has made me a ton more motivated to do work. It has also resolved the bit of burn out that I was experiencing this week.

Talk with a Therapist

I will always promote therapy. This whole blog is pretty much thanks to therapy. If you are in a position where you are always burnt out and can’t really handle it, I suggest seeing a therapist. I have written extensively about my experience with therapy and how it has significantly helped me. This might be a great thing to do, especially if your insurance allows it. Sometimes the best way to get out of feeling down is talking to a licensed professional.

Final Thoughts

Burnout is common in all industries. We tend to think that working ourselves to death is a sign of strength. No, it’s not. Burnout in grad school is a scary occurrence that needs to be addressed. Burnout can lead to drop out rates increasing, mental health problems, and other medical problems. Your grad school experience should be a good one and not one filled with dread.

If you are in grad school or went to grad school, did you experience burnout? If so, can you tell us about it in the comments?

**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.

Is Getting a Pet in Grad School a Good Idea?

So you just started grad school and you want to get a pet. Maybe you have been in grad school for a while and just want a furry companion to stay up with you as you spend hours writing away. Whatever the reason, you are looking to the internet to see if it is a good idea to get a pet while you are in grad school. Well, luckily for you, you came to the right place. Today, we are going to weigh the pros and cons of getting a pet and I’ll even throw in some pictures of my cat, Sirius.

It is a big decision, you know, getting a pet

Prior to grad school, I did not take care of any animals. I was always on the go and just didn’t even want to subject a furry little creature to the lifestyle of an engineer. Undergrad was just me moving around, going to work, going to class, and eventually getting to sleep. Yes, I wanted an animal companion so bad, but knew that it was not the right time for that, quite yet.

It was also a huge decision. Getting a pet can be like having a kid. I haven’t had a kid so if this is completely wrong, I am sorry lol. You will need to feed, nurture, and love your pet. And, unless you can do this, you really shouldn’t even be considering a pet. They are a lot of work, at first, but then it gets easier.

Benefits of getting a pet

There are many benefits of having a pet. I want to list off quite a few of those benefits. So, let’s get started, shall we?

1) They will help you feel less lonely.

You really don’t understand just how lonely grad school can be until you start it. I had to go to therapy because of anxiety and loneliness. I had many people around me, yet still felt super alone. It is hard to feel alone when a cat or dog comes and plops their furry butt right on your lap. The animal relies on you and will always be somewhere near. The will show you love and you can even talk to them without them talking back lol. My cat made me feel so much less lonely which helped to boost my productivity in my lab.

2) They will keep you on a schedule

You know what the best alarm clock is? A hungry dog or cat. So my cat wakes me up at 7:30 am every day to get fed. I have an automatic feeder for dry food, but his morning food is wet food so he is really eager to get me up. I don’t even need to set an alarm anymore because I know that he’s going to jump on my chest to wake me up. It’s great because I rarely sleep in. He also let’s me know when it’s time to go to sleep at night by curling up next to me. If I am still on the computer, he’ll start walking all over my keyboard so I have to stop what I am doing. He’s good at redirecting my attention lol.

3) They will show you love, even when your PhD/Master’s does not

The best part of having a pet is having a creature love you so much and pretty much worship you. I have a cat so that is not the case lol. oOgs, however, will do that. Have you ever seen a dog not excited to see you? The answer is no, unless the dog has anxiety or something, then they might be a little timid. Animals show you so much love and they will even show more love on those days where things just didn’t go your way. It’s great to come home after a long day of failed attempts to a wagging tail or a cute little hello meow. Each day, I come home, and as I turn the corner to walk to my front door, I hear meowing, letting me know Sirius knows I am home. It’s super cute and makes the worst days better.

Downsides of Pets

Do the benefits outweigh the downsides of getting animals? It is possible. Let me share with you some not so fun things about having a pet in grad school:

  1. Dogs need to go outside quite often. You may need to get someone to take out he dog during the day.
  2. Pets can be expensive and grad students don’t make that much money.
  3. Vet bills
  4. Flea Medication
  5. Cats like to claw things…well everything
  6. When you go away, you need to house them somewhere.
  7. They may keep you from being productive
  8. Your apartment or house may smell like your animal.

There are definitely downsides to getting a pet. Probably the two biggest would be that they can be pretty expensive and you might not be around all of the time to take care of them. Dogs, especially can be a bit high maintenance. Cats, on the other had, tend to do well alone and take care of themselves practically.

What type of pet to get?

What pet do you really want in life? Do you want a dog, a cat, a rabbit, a pig? I haven’t met a grad student with a pig, but that would be a pretty cool animal to have. The two most common pets are cats and dogs in grad school. If you aren’t allergic, I would go with cats. I love dogs, but they can be a lot of work, especially if you are not home a lot. Cats tend to just take care of themselves. They are super easy.

Dogs, however, are great cuddlers and make you feel really loved. If you work from home a lot, a dog is totally fine to get. I highly suggest getting a dog that is not on the aggressive species list because it makes moving a bit easier. Dogs are amazing creatures and I wish I could have one. Unfortunately, I spend a lot of time in my lab so a dog would be a bit too much.

I would highly suggest weighing the pros and cons before you make a decision. If you spend most of your day away from your home and just want an animal to come home to at the end of the day, a cat would be the way to go. If you want an energetic creature that shows nothing but love and you have the time and energy, dogs all the way!. If you want a bit of both, go for cats and dogs. Other creatures that are great pets are snakes, lizards, fish, and rabbits. I am fairly certain that all of these are pretty easy to take care of as well.

Final Thoughts

The best thing that I did for my sanity (emphasis on mental health), was get a cat while in grad school. He has taught me about responsibility, compassion, and love. He is also always there to keep me company. I don’t know how I could have done grad school without him. If you are thinking of getting a pet, please, please, please adopt one from a humane society. I adopted Sirius from the Humane Society of North Central Florida. They are always overwhelmed with animals coming in that need loving homes. I guarantee you will find your furrrrever buddy there or at a human society in general.

Getting a pet in grad school was one of the best things I did and has helped me so much. I strongly encourage you to get a pet, if you can. Show them love and I guarantee they will show you love back. Let me know about your pets in the comments. Until next time, peace!

What is a Grad Student?

Apparently, this very subject is searched quite often on Google. There aren’t many sources that really go into what a grad student is and why they are even a thing. Today, I want to discuss with you what it means to be a grad student. But first, we must talk about what a grad student even is.

What a graduate student is

So, grad students are simply students that have finished undergrad and have thought that it would be a good idea to continue their education. Grad students are usually individuals that want to get to a more academic job position or someone that wants to be more competitive in the working world.

Being considered a grad student can be a very broad term. There are all kinds of graduate students out there, so let’s go over a few.

What is a Master’s Students

Master’s students are usually only in the academic field a max of 2 to 3 more years. Their degree goes more in depth into what they want to do a career in. For someone like me, a master’s will get you a better position in the engineering field and you’ll probably be making a bit more money. Master’s students include people getting MBA’s as well. Some master’s programs can be online or in person. They tend to only course based, though, you can do research based ones as well.

Course Based Master’s

This is the most common type of master’s program. This is usually for people that just want a master’s and then they head off to an industry job. Sometimes people will go this route for research positions, though. For non science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors, you’ll probably only have course work.

Research Based Master’s

So this master’s student will probably take a few less classes, but make up those credits by doing research at the end. These students tend to want to go into research after their master’s or start a PhD. Many STEM majors go this path because they want to get into research afterwards.

What is a PhD Student

So a PhD student is a grad student that is doing a ton of research and advancing their field of study. PhDs can be done after getting a Master’s or you can go right into it after undergrad. This grad program is much longer than than a Master’s and there is way more that goes into it. These grad students are usually going to do research or teach after they graduate. Grad student’s pursuing a PhD must be able to publish data, teach, write a dissertation and defend that dissertation. At the end, they are given the title “Doctor”.

This grad program can take you a very long time to finish. On average, a doctorate will take 5 to 8 years to complete. So, you’ll be a grad student for a long time. These programs are usually done on campus. Some PhD programs are online. For any STEM major, you will spend a great deal of time on campus and in your labs.

What are Professional Students

This is a bit of a gray area when it comes to calling this group of individuals grad students. These colleges tend to train individuals to be something rather than just teach them things that they want to know. Examples of these would be medical school and law school. These are graduate students though. They may want to be referred to as professionals. Grad school for them is a bit different than master’s students and doctoral students. The professionals take courses and labs that make them prepared to go into a certain field. A master’s just get’s you a degree and some more knowledge and a PhD get’s you research skills. A professional degree focuses on them becoming a role like a medical doctor or lawyer.

These programs usually last longer than a Master’s, but sometimes much shorter than a PhD. You will likely have to pass an exam at the end to get your license in the field which you studied. For example, law school, you take the Bar.

So what is a grad student really?

Grad students are just those that are trying to advance their degree beyond the typical bachelors. There are hundreds of reasons that people go to grad school ranging from pay increase, wanting to learn a new skill, and even boredom. Grad school is here to help introduce you to more complex ideas and help you get a better understanding of them. These skills are wonderful to have and highly sought after by employers.

Final Thoughts

I hope that you know a little more about what a grad student is. Many people just don’t really know what one is and that’s very surprising. If you don’t know much about me, I am currently a grad student so I like to tell people what exactly I do. If you want to read more about me, check out my About Me page (link here).

Dating in Grad School

I am quite surprised that I have not covered this topic much sooner. This is a huge subject that hopefully I will be able to do justice. Dating in grad school can be a wonderful, difficult, frustrating, exciting, and overall fun experience. Yes, it will require a ton of work, and some patience, but it is do-able. I have had many friends date in grad school and I am currently dating a wonderful lawyer now. Yes, you can even date lawyers lol.

As I said above, it can be frustrating, exciting, and totally worth it. In some cases it might not be the best idea to date in grad school. Sometimes, you will be so bogged down with work that you won’t be able to put in any effort to make things work. For the most part, I truly believe that dating in grad school is very possible, though it might be difficult in some ways which I will discuss. Also, here’s a helpful guide to those thinking about dating a grad student lol.

How Dating in Grad School is difficult

Time

So, I want to start off with the difficult aspects of dating in grad school. The first real hurdle to bypass is dealing with your workload and having time to develop a relationship with an individual. If you are constantly working, you won’t have time to really see the other person and really bond with them. This can lead to many failed attempts at getting a boyfriend/girlfriend. Grad school is busy, and can be overwhelming at times, which makes finding time to see and hang with someone difficult.

Age Difference

Age can play an important role in dating. Grad students are usually a bit older than undergrads so they may tend to date outside of the college. I know many people that have a hard time because the vast majority of college students are much younger than them and they have a hard time relating to undergrads. Age definitely is a factor when dating in grad school.

Not being able to connect with others

Grad students are pretty much from another planet. We thrive off of failure and low p-values. The stuff that we talk about, thinking it’s trivial, might be so complex for non grad students. This often makes it very hard to connect with people. Our problems that we face are not normal problems either. Dealing with lab equipment failing, loneliness, depression, low wages, and rejections from journals might not be the most common problems to connect with people over. This can make dating other people a bit difficult because you can’t really bond over problems. Yeah bonding over problems is a real thing lol.

People are always coming and going

If you are in a doctoral program, you will be in school for a minimum of 5 years after undergrad. That’s a long time in the academic world. You are going to see students come in as freshman and leave before you even get your first paper published. This is why dating is very hard. People tend to come and go so much and long distance relationships are quite difficult to have while in grad school. It is not like you ca get up and go with someone to a new town and just continue your research. In some cases you can, but for people that require a lab, it’s impossible. This is why it’s very hard to date, especially when you’re significant other is done with college and looking for jobs or moving away.

Benefits of Dating in Grad School

Trust me when I tell you, dating in grad school is doable. It has a ton of benefits as well and I am very happy that I am in a relationship while going through this process.

Support

The support I receive from my girlfriend is one of the reasons I haven’t given up. I’ve been in grad school for 5 years and I’ve been in college for almost 11. I need the support. Having someone in grad school that supports you can be the difference between giving up and graduating. Of course you can finish without having the support of a significant other. I’m saying that it makes it a bit easier. Also, having someone else in your life can help with financial support. Something we all need lol.

It helps take your mind off work

I want everyone to know that working all of the time is toxic and a terrible idea! Dating in grad school gives you a really good excuse to leave all of your work at work and go and enjoy yourself. If you are just starting the dating process, go to as many fun things as possible. Go to the movies, dinner, shows, etc. Leave all of your work worries in your office and go enjoy yourself and the company of someone else. You’ll start to notice that you’re happier and you’ll probably do better in your research and school work.

You’ll feel less lonely

If you haven’t read my blog about feeling lonely in grad school, I highly suggest checking it out. Here is a link to that. One of the things you will definitely experience in grad school is feeling lonely. Dating in grad school will help that a ton. It’s nice to be able to come home and talk with someone about your day. Often grad students don’t get that opportunity because they are in the lab all day then go home to an empty apartment. It can get quite lonely. Having someone to see after a long day by yourself can really make your whole day. It can also help combat depression and anxiety.

So is it worth it to Date in Grad School

Coming from someone who has been in a 6 year relationship, yes it is worth it. In fact I was dating my girlfriend while she went to grad school and now she is here to support me through my experience. It can be done. The best part is being able to have someone there for the support. I truly think that that support is what is keeping me here.

It may take a bit of effort and time but I think dating in grad school is totally worth it and a great way to spend your free time. Being able to spend the time you have with someone you like or love is time well spent.

Final Thoughts

What was your experience with dating in grad school? Did you enjoy it? Are you still with the individual you dated? Would you advise people to date in grad school? Let me know in the comments. As always, I hope you have a great day! Until next time, peace!

Tips For Grad School

This post about tips for grad school may contains affiliate links. For more information see disclosure at bottom of home page

I figured that the best thing to do, at this stage in my academic profession, is give more advice to younger grad students. So, today I want to share some of the best tips that I can come up with alone with tips that I have been told throughout the 5.5 years while in grad school. I will try and make them different than my “hacks” links to that article here. These are tips that I feel will help you survive grad school as well as thrive as a graduate student.

Before we get into the best tips for grad school, I just want to congratulate you on deciding to even think about grad school. It is a very tough decision, but well worth it. I think one of the best things that I have done for myself and my future career is to dive right into grad school. I have already received a Master’s and (hopefully very soon) a doctorate. It’s tough, and I hope that does not discourage you from chasing your dreams.

Person in Black Pants and Black Shoes Sitting on Brown Wooden Chair

Let’s get right into the 10 best tips for grad school

1) Go To Class

You would be surprised how many people just go to grad school to slip right back into their undergrad ways. You should be taking courses that will help you advance your career and studies. This can only be achieved if you actively go to class. Sure, skipping some classes might be essential, especially if you have to finish a homework assignment. But for the most part, you need to go to class. You will learn and retain so much more information. Also, going to class will ensure you pass the course and continue on with your degree.

tips for grad school : go to class

2) Get to know your professors

The best resources that you have, besides the library, are professors. They are your gateway to a successful academic career by providing you with all the skills and help you need. They know the struggles of grad school and know how hard it can be and how demanding it can get. Fortunately, most, not all, are will to help you navigate your way through school. They are also great to have as references for jobs later on. Get to know your professors. They might get you a job or research position after college.

Woman Sitting on Brown Wooden Chair Beside Coconut

3) Take time away from studies to relax and have fun.

I cannot stress the importance of rest enough. Grad school may have you working your butt off. Some times I will be in y office for 14 to 16 hours just working away and forget to even eat. This can and probably will happen to you. You know what comes with working 14 hour days, 7 days in a row? I’ll tell you, it’s called burn-out and it is awful. Plus, grad school is going to be a sizeable chunk of your life, so do you want to spend the entire time working? If the answer is yes, well I can’t really help you lol. But most people will say no. By resting, you can reset your bidy and actually become more productive. Also, I find that resting is when I come up with my best ideas.

tips for grad school: exercise often

4) Stay active while in grad school

Join a club, join a sports league, just stay active. This helps significantly end your day and transition into your “non-academic life”. I joined a kickball league, so my Wednesday nights are dedicated to that. It takes me away from my work so I can interact with other people. Also, has helped me make friends, reduce my stress levels, and control my anxiety. It is also a great way to exercise. That’s another part of staying active, exercise! If you are hesitant to start, I say start slowly with a walking challenge. I, also, suggest taking a look at my fitness page for more ideas. Studies have shown the benefits of exercise on student’s. Take full advantage of that.

tips for grad school :learn to cook

5) Learn how to cook

The fastest way to lose all of your money and get bad eating habits would be to eat out all of the time. I get it, fast food is convenient and tasty. Yes, but it is expensive and can be unhealthy. I do love buying McDonalds every once in a while, though. Eating out is good in moderation, just don’t do it all of the time. One really good tip is to learn how to cook and in bulk. Rice, chicken, and vegetables is a healthy and very cheap meal. I bought a rice cooker, like this one. Don’t get me started on how you need a rice cooker in your life lol. Anyway, I will make brown rice, cook some vegetables up, and add chicken. Get your favorite hot sauce and you have a cheap and pretty healthy meal. Make this in bulk and bring it to your office the next day.

Also, cooking is a great way to make friends too. You can invite people over for a dinner which will definitely impress them. Going out to dinner can be costly, but having a spaghetti dinner for 2 to 10 can be way cheaper and fun . You will impress the heck out of them.

Person in Yellow and Black Backpack Walking on Green Grass Field Under Cloudy Blue Sky during Daytime

6) Find a way to get to class other than driving.

If you live close to campus, the best way, that I find to get to class, is by walking. It is great exercise and gives me a time to just, be. Life can be quite much sometimes but all those worries tend to just subside during that 30 minute walk to campus. I wrote about the ways that grad students can get to class. You should go and check it out here. There are so many different ways to get to class though. Scootering is fun, walking, biking, running?, literally any way you want. But one thing I advise against, unless you live millions of miles away, is driving yourself to campus. There are so many resources available like busses to get you to campus. Use these resources because it will save you the hassle of buying a parking pass, finding parking, and paying for gas.

Man in Gray Long Sleeve Shirt Lying on Bed

7) If you are having trouble, reach out.

One of the best parts of grad school is the amount of help you can get. I said above about professors helping, well, they are not the only resource. There are so many resources that can help you with any problem that you have. One of the things you will find in grad school is that you will need help with something. This can be with school, your health, how to cook, you need help with peer review, etc. There are resources for those. In fact, I can be one of your resources too. ‘

The best resource that I had was being able to see a therapist. This was included in my insurance. I hope this is included in yours as well because it is a great opportunity. If you are wondering what my experience was, check out my blog about it. But, just know that there are so many resources available and you really need to take advantage of them. They are there to help you.

tips for grad school: back up your computer

8) Back up your computer and files often

I can not stress this enough. Have a back up of everything that you do. Accidents do happen and life brings a ton of curveballs. I have had work just disappear all of a sudden. My buddy had his hard drive crash and it was going to cost him $700 to extract what was on it. Back up your work!!!!! Honestly, this may be the best tip you see on this list. You will write a lot of stuff and have a ton of data. You do not want to lose months or even years of data because your computer died on you. Also, fun fact, coffee will absolutely destroy your computer if spilled on. So, please get a way to back up your stuff. It may save you years of work.

tips for grad school: write every day

9) Write everyday!

I have written about the importance of writing. You can go and check it out here. Anyway, you will spend a ton of time writing and you should. Grad school consists of this huge thing called a thesis. It’s big, it’s scary, and you’ll have to write it. But, if you take my advice right now, and write everyday, you will see it’s really not that bad. In fact, you might even write it in much less time than you though. Writing is like practice. The more you do it, the better you get and easier it is. Many people in grad school don’t write enough which dulls their ability to write. Sharpen those skills by writing each day and it will make life so much easier later on. 1000 words seems so achievable if you have been doing it every day. It seems almost impossible is you haven’t written in a while, though.

tips for grad school: live in the moment

10) Live in the moment, not the future

I want to finish this list with a favorite tip for grad school . I often find myself thinking about what needs to be done or what the next day has for me and often forget that all that I have guaranteed in my life is the moment that I am in. Sometimes the best way to reduce stress and anxiety is just focus on the now. Yes, there may be deadlines looming, but those aren’t here yet. Focus on what you can do right now and less of what needs to get done. My therapist told me to focus on the now. I spend a ton of time worrying about the future and don’t really take advantage of what’s going on in the moment. Take some time out of your day to just focus on what’s going on around you. You will find that anxiety subsides and you gain some clarity. You don’t know what the future holds, so why worry about it?

Final Thoughts

Here are some of the 10 best tips for grad school that I can come up with to help you in grad school. These tips have helped me a ton and I guarantee they will help you too. I really hope your grad school experience is great and let me know some other tips in the comment. As always, I hope you have a great day and week.

Is Grad School Fun?

Today, I want to talk about the fun side of grad school. Is there a fun side of grad school though? Well, the answer is “of course!” Grad school can be such a fun time in your life and I want to go over why grad school is actually one of the most fun times in my life.

Of course, grad school is much different than undergrad. The fun that you experience will also be much different than that which came with the 4 years of undergrad. You will likely spend more time doing other things like movie nights and dinners rather than going out to the club each night. I have found that I actually find getting to bed early and waking up early outshines the lifestyle of going to clubs and bars and drinking until 2 am. Grad school has changed me lol.

Why Grad School is Fun

So, grad school is a ton of work which may have people thinking that it’s not going to be a fun time at all. Man, are they wrong! Grad school is chalk full of fun activities, meet ups, workshops, and a ton more that makes each day exciting and great. I am constantly getting bombarded with emails about the 5000 different activities going on each day.

Two Smiling Women Sitting on Wooden Bench

Meeting new people

The most fun parts about grad school involve other grad students. You will get to meet a ton of people, from a ton of different countries, doing different things than you. When you are in your master’s, you may take courses with people that are in different colleges than you. My statistics course had people from every department and college in the university. This is fun because you get to experience just so much. You can talk with people about their research. You can learn so much new information and grow as an academic. This is also a great way to find new friends this way

Photo of a Woman Holding an Ipad

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Doing stuff you love

When you went to college or if you are going to college now, what did you not like about school? Was it taking classes that just didn’t interest you? When asking other students about what they love in grad school, one common answer is this, they love being able to do work they are interested in. When you are in undergrad, you may have to take a thousand credits of classes that you don’t find an interest in at all. This makes going to school not that fun. Trust me, I had to take quite a few courses that I hated to get a bachelors degree. I truly believe that one of the major things that makes grad school actually fun is being able to take the courses you want and are actually interested in.

People Throwing Pins

Doing activities rather than bar hopping

Don’t get me wrong, I do like going out with friends and grabbing a drink or two. I do find that I have been shying away from the Friday night club and bar hopping and focused my time on doing activities that don’t involve drinking heavily and pregaming. In undergrad, pre games then going to bars was the norm. Every Friday I would have people over to drink and then going to the nearby bars to drink even more. In grad school, I now focus my time on activities such as going to new town, seeing plays at theatres, going to the park and scootering around the neighborhood. My friends also like spending more of their time doing stuff like this instead of spending money at the bars. The appeal of getting drunk and stumbling home at 3 am has gone away.

You will find in grad school that the fun that you had in undergrad such as bar hopping tends to subside. Waking up with hangovers all the time just isn’t helpful in your studies and your interests will most definitely change. You will find fun in going to places like a bowling alley with other grad students or going to a trampoline park for a few hours. Heck, you may find fun in joining a running club or cooking class. These might be things that you didn’t really do in undergrad that you want to do now.

You get to research cool things

One of the most fun parts of being in grad school is being able to do research on things that interest you. Not only this, but you might get to work with technology that costs 10x’s more than your whole college tuition lol. Being able to use state-of-the-art research tools is definitely a fun aspect of grad school. you are also given a tremendous amount of freedom to do what you want, which makes the “mad scientist” in me very happy.

You might get to research some really cool things and potentially build stuff that no one has ever built. I have a friend who worked on and build a satellite that is currently orbiting the planet. That is one of the coolest things ever. Being able to work on projects like this is what grad school is all about. It is also what makes grad school so much fun.

Close-up Photo of Survey Spreadsheet

Reasons You Are Concerned That It’s Not Fun

I typed this exact search query into google when I started grad school. I was concerned. I was actually pretty terrified that grad school would be all work and no play. Man, I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Yes, grad school is a ton of work, but it is a ton of time to find yourself and explore the world of academia.

When you think of grad students, you may think of people staying in the lab all night. You might think of someone falling asleep on a stack of books. Rarely, do you think of grad students having fun and living their lives. This might be one of the reasons why you are searching this topic. You don’t want to be that person. Trust me when I say this, grad students have fun. We need to or else we might go insane. For master’s students, you can have fun every day of your life. Keep up the grades and you can technically be on vacation your whole 2 years. PhD students have to find fun or they will most likely suffer from a mental illness. So, scheduling in play time is essential.

Final Thoughts

If you are considering grad school, and want to know more about the fun aspects of it, shoot me an email. My email is benswaringen@yahoo.com. I would love to talk with you about grad school and any questions that you might have about it. I can tell you all of the fun things I do as well as other things that are also fun to do.

Overall, grad school is a fun and exciting time. Trust me, it’s not all work and no fun. That would make it a prison sentence, and we wouldn’t want that. I have found that grad school has been one of the most fun and rewarding times in my life. I hope you find it that way too. Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful day and I will see you in the next article post. Peace!

Does GPA Matter in Grad School?

I wrote a few months about the importance of your grad school GPA and whether it was important enough to be worried about it. If you want to read that blog, here’s a link to it. Anyway, I don’t really think that post did justice to this controversial topic. Does GPA really matter in grad school? Should you focus on GPA or other things while in grad school? I will answer these questions in this post and dive deeper into whether you should really care about your grad school GPA

Grades do matter in grad school. Unfortunately, grades will matter all throughout grad school and into your doctoral research. Once there, grades don’t matter, luckily. But, does it really matter what our GPA is when we are in grad school? In situations where a GPA is needed, such as applying to a PhD program, or applying for scholarships, then yes, GPA is important. Other than that, your GPA is just another number.

When GPA Matters

I have found in the 5 years that I have been in grad school that GPA only mattered in two fields. 1) While I was applying for a grad school program and 2) while I was looking at scholarships. And, to be honest, both of these things actually focused primarily on my research experience and goals. Of course, I am in a research based field. Grades may matter even more when you are in a grad program that doesn’t do research.

Your undergrad GPA seems to be way more important than your grad school GPA, unless you are going from a masters to a PhD program. Then the GPA will matter. When you apply to a Grad school as an undergrad, your GPA will be used to determine whether or not you get into the program. There are other factors such as a statement of purpose, test scores, and previous research. But GPA does matter in this case. As you go up the academic latter, your GPA will mean far less.

If you are in law school, your GPA does matter. In fact, law school ranks you amoung your peers based on your GPA. Apparently, the higher the GPA, the more likely you are to land a good paying law job. So, this grad school experience, GPA does matter. For the vast majority of other grad programs, GPA matters very little, and here is why.

When GPA Doesn’t Matter

I found that your GPA, while in a master’s, really doesn’t matter. Yes, you want to keep above a 3.0 GPA so you don’t get on academic probation, but this is extremely easy to get. Most classes in grad school will make sure you don’t even come close to getting that low of a GPA. I know many students that had mid 2.0s for their undergrad GPAs and managed to have close to 4.0s in grad school. Of course, they worked their butts off, so I have to give them some credit.

GPA is basically non existent once you get to a PhD. Some students finish their master’s first then head to do research on their PhD. Usually they will take maybe one or two more classes for their doctorate and then it’s all research. The GPA really doesn’t matter at this point, only you finishing and getting publications. Students that are in a PhD program immediately after undergrad will need to make sure their GPA stays above a 3.0, though.

Layers in an Office

Does GPA Matter for Jobs?

From my experience, though it may be different for everyone, GPA did not matter when it came to applying for jobs. I have started the process of looking for careers after I graduate and not a single application asked for my transcripts or my GPA. They did, however, ask about publications and research experience. I was also applying for research positions so they cared deeply about this specifically. GPAs don’t determine how well you will be as an employee. Your experience in grad school will be a determinant of how well you do later, not your grades.

Another reason why jobs don’t care about your GPA is because they are placing you in a position where you might be competing with individuals that didn’t go to grad school but have ample experience in the industry. You won’t really be focusing on entry level jobs after college. This means that an employer needs to use another metric, other than GPA, to determine the right individual. So, they focus on experience. This is why getting relevant experience is so important.

Several Handheld Tools on White Printer Paper

What To Focus On in Grad School

There are some programs that just need you to take tests, pay them, and get out. I don’t really like these programs because I am going to grad school to learn information, develop my research skills, and contribute to the wellbeing of humanity. I feel that developing these skills is the most important part about gong to grad school, not just taking tests and passing classes. Yes, undergrad was about that, but grad school is much more than passing classes.

Overall

Overall, GPA only matters in very specific circumstances. For the most part your GPA in grad school, as long as it is above the minimum, really doesn’t matter. Some may argue based on their experiences, and I would love to know about those. (put them in the comments). I just don’t feel that you need to focus on a GPA. Focus on learning skills that will help you get through grad school and make you a skilled researcher. Some of the best researchers in the world were average students, but they focused all their effort on getting better at research. Do this!

Final Thoughts

I am curious, for those that went to grad school, what was your GPA? Also, what was your undergrad GPA? Did GPA matter in your program or was it just something that you needed to keep above a certain requirement? I am always curious as to what everyone’s grad school experience was. Each one is different so it is nice to see how it was for multiple people and compare.

Do Grad Students Get Summers Off

Summers for grad students can be the busiest time of the year. For master’s students, it may be the time that they do research credits to fulfill those requirements. For PhD students and candidates, summers are for research. Spring and fall semesters usually are the only times where grad courses are available, leaving summer for research or internships. I wrote a really good article about grad student internships. Go and check it out here. But for the most part, grad students usually work during summers as well as get some time off to go travel or go on vacation.

Macro Photography of Black Sunglasses on Sand

Summers for Grad Students

summers in grad school

I wanted to start this section off with one of my favorite blog series. Go check out https://phdcomics.com/ for more. Ayway, this comic above pretty much sums up what summers are like in grad school, at least for most grad students. Though, this can relate to a select group of individuals. Because grad school is different for everyone and many people have different job titles, summers can be spent in labs, teaching, or on vacation.

Do Master’s Students Get Summers Off?

Master students will most likely take off their first summer and just enjoy the three or so months before coming back. Because their degree is mostly course based, they will spend summers away because grad courses are often not taught during summer. As for the second summer of a master’s degree, the individuals will more than likely be in lab, doing their thesis. For STEM degrees, master’s are usually split into thesis and non-thesis. Non-thesis master’s are course work only, so doing research is not common. Thesis-based master’s will require you to do some research, so the summer before you graduate is usually that time to get it done.

Do PhD Students Get Summers Off?

A PhD stands for “Piled higher and deeper”. You will have a ton of work to do to get your degree. Often, summers are the time to catch up on all that work. Many grad students teach or TA a class and their fall and spring semesters are busy with that work. Summers are the time to get caught up on all of the work you put off and it’s time to get some papers written.

I often find summers to get the best time of year for PhD students. 1) there’s hardly anyone on campus 2) you don’t have to deal with too many dumb meetings 3) The lab is not full of undergrads! Number 1 is my favorite because it means that not many people are at the gym lol. It is also the best time because you will be so bored with lack of things to do that you will get a ton of work and rest done.

For the most part, you will spend your summers at school. You won’t be required to work the entire time, but you will find working through summer will help you graduate on time.

Brown Wooden Dock

What do grad students spend their summers doing?

So, as I stated earlier, master’s students might spend their summers away form campus at internships or off on vacation. PhD students might be spending their summers getting research done to prepare their PhD proposals. The proposals are their to formulate your thesis pretty much. Summers are a great time to do initial research on the subjects and write it up so you can present it at your oral qualifying exam. I wrote an article about how to prepare for that here.

Person Using Macbook Pro

PhD candidates have already gone through this process and will be spending their summers doing research or catching up on writing. I usually use summers as a time to write at least one research article for publication. Last year was my literature review and this year will most likely be a research paper dealing with my experiments.

Some PhD candidates do not work during the summer because they are not paid for 12 months of work. These students most likely pick up summer jobs or internships to make up for not getting paid. These individuals are usually getting paid during spring and fall as TAs or actual teachers, so during summer, they are out of work essentially. Some of these students will, however, continue to do research, while working full time elsewhere. These positions are usually in fields that do not require access to a lab.

Pair of Red-and-white Low-top Sneakers

Do Grad Student’s Get to Go On Vacation at Least?

The short is of course! Summer time is a great time to get work done but you also need to rest and relax. This is often a good time to go on trips and see family and friends. Since classes aren’t going on, you’ll usually have more time in the day to get work done. You’ll see that you will also have a ton of down time during summer as well. Use this time to go on trips. I have written extensively about the importance of rest and going on vacation.

Overall

Summers in grad school can be whatever you make it. Sometimes you will be busy, sometimes you will be bored out of your mind. It is a great time to take up hobbies, explore the town your in, and catch up on readings. Master’s students often get summers off while PhDs usually work. Summers can be slower or faster paced depending on what you do.

So, do grad students get summers off? It really depends on your program and how much work you want to do. If you are in the program to get work done, you’ll often not have summers off. If you want to have summers off though, take them off. It might be the best thing to do.

Final Thoughts

I have worked every summer that I have been in my PhD program. That doesn’t mean I don’t take time off to enjoy vacations and such. I just want to finish my degree on time so I do sacrifice a little during summer to assure myself and my committee that I will finish my degree. Anyway, if you are a grad student, let us know what you do during summer. Write it down in the comments.

How Many Grad Schools Should You Apply To?

When I started my grad school experience, one of the first things I asked myself was “how many schools should I apply to?” I knew that I wanted to attend a school in Florida, but didn’t know if I should put all my eggs in one basket or reach out for more chances. Determining how many colleges to apply for can be tricky because you don’t want to spend hours writing statements of purpose for 10 colleges. But, at the same time, you want to make sure you have a chance to get into at least one college. If you are looking at how many grad schools top apply for, you came to the right place.

How Many Grad Schools Should you Apply To

First, what do you want?

You need to start off by asking yourself, “why am I going to grad school?” and “what grad school program is right for me?” Once you answer those questions, you need to start looking for programs that focus on what you want to learn. For me, I wanted to get a PhD in Environmental Engineering, so I looked at the best programs in Florida. I saw that UF, USF, and UM were all great colleges to apply for. I aimed for 3 colleges, but you can apply for much more, if you want.

When deciding what colleges to apply for, you need to split up the colleges into categories. The GradCafe has a really good way to decide how to split the colleges up. They say to divide them into 3 categories. 1) Your Dream School 2) Target School 3) Safety school. This is an excellent way to make sure you cover all bases and get into a program. If you want to read more about their recommendation, here’s the link.

I highly suggest following this method. Apply to the very best school for your program. This is the “dream school” approach. If you are an engineer, maybe apply for MIT or another really good engineering school. You might get in.

Next, apply for colleges in the “target school” category. These are colleges that are absolute perfect matches for you regarding average test scores, GPAs , and such. These are usually really good schools as well and definitely ones to focus on.

Lastly, apply to some “safety schools”. These schools are schools that have the degree that you want and are a guarantee to get into. They might be the most prestigious schools, but at least they will guarantee that you do go to grad school. Also, these schools may surprise you an be school for you.

Yellow Red Blue and Purple Letter Stickers

What is a good number of grad schools to apply to?

I will not say “It depends”. I will, however, give you a range to go for. The sweet spot, that I would suggest, is to apply to a minimum of 3 schools and a maximum or 6. This does many purposes which I will go into later. If you just apply to one school, you better know that you are going to get in. If you apply to too many schools, you will go crazy with applications, letters of recommendations, as well as fees. Don’t go broke trying to pay for application fees. Trust me, it is totally possible.

Why 3 as a Minimum?

Well, three is a good number because it forces you to decide the top three institutions that will help you achieve your goals. Ultimately three allows you to find your dream school and the second and third best. You don’t want to have your dream school then two very low tiered colleges after that. No, the top three should be reputable schools, that focus on the topic that you want to study. Having less than three colleges to apply for can be scary because you run the risk of potentially not getting into them. Colleges can be really picky, especially when it comes to grad students, so you need a few more than one or two colleges to apply to. Also, with three colleges, you can cover all three categories that were described above. You can get an application in for a dream school, your target school, and a safety school.

Why 6 as a Maximum?

There are a few sites which may say apply to upwards of 8 or 9 schools. This is a crazy amount of grad school programs to apply to. 6 might even be pushing it, but it gives you a serious safety net. Now in these 6 applications, separate the colleges into those three categories I talked about. A good plan is to apply for 1 really good school that is your dream school, 3 applications to target schools, and 2 applications for safety schools. I would highly suggest focusing on target schools as they will be higher quality programs. the more applications in that category, the better.

Don’t go too high or it will cost you.

The average cost of a grad school application is $60 . That is insane! Some colleges can be well over $100 in fees. If we do the math eq. Average payment x number of applications, we get $60*3=$180 or upper range $60*6=$360. That’s a ton of money upfront. Luckily, many programs do give application waivers. I would highly suggest looking into getting your application paid for so you don’t have to break the bank applying for a grad school program.

Person Holding 100 Us Dollar Banknotes

Final Thoughts

For me, I would suggest applying to 3 to 6 colleges for grad school. I have known people to apply for a lot more than that and I know people that only applied for one college. It is really up to you. Sometimes, you know you will get into a school and applying to just that one school is enough. Sometimes, you may just have to get into a program, so you apply to every college in the US lol. It is really totally up to you.

For me, I applied to 3 schools and only got into one. UF was my target school so I was happy to get into it, but I was close to not getting in to any grad schools. I was just very fortunate in this case.

For those applying to grad school, how many colleges are you applying for or how many grad schools did you apply to? I am curious to know what other people do and I am sure many other people would like to know as well.

As always, I hope you all have a wonderful day and a wonderful week. If you haven’t already, go check out my blog about habits for grad school this year (link here).

What I am Grateful For in Grad School

Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit down. I think it’s because of the effects that I have from having Covid, though. Is anyone else feeling a bit sad/depressed/anxious after having Covid? It could just be me, though. Anyway, to lighten my mood, I thought about all of the things that I am grateful for in grad school. I wrote an article about the things that I am most grateful for. You can read that post here.

Today I want to talk about the things that I am grateful for in grad school, specifically. I think a list would do just nicely in this situation, don’t you think? So, let’s get right into it and talk about the things that I am most grateful for in my grad school program.

Silver-colored Heart Lock Bridge

What I am Grateful For

1) Lab partners

Having a good and reliable lab partner can be everything. There are many times where just having someone there has made all the difference whether it is having them do something with your project or just having someone to talk to. I have had some excellent lab partners in the past and I always look forward to being able to work on an experiment with someone else.

2) Having Reliable lab equipment.

I currently work in like 6 or 7 different labs, each with pieces of lab equipment that I desperately need to do my job currently. I am grateful that these pieces of lab equipment actually work and are reliable. A day where things don’t work can set me back weeks, which is something I don’t want, nor my adviser.

3) Fume Hoods

Having a good fume hood can literally save your life. I work with a ton of strong acids that are not healthy to breathe in. Fume hoods have saved me from breathing in the fumes from the acids. Also, fun fact, if you mix galvanized iron with nitric acid, it produces some crazy gases. I was very thankful that the fume hood stopped me from being exposed to those gases!

4) My office

My office is my home away from home. I have quite a few things in here that actually make people think that I live here. I mean, I spend most of my time in my office, so I want it as comfortable as possible. If I could live here, I would lol. I share my office with one other person, though, we have room for 3 more. Having the extra room really helps.

5) Having a reliable computer

You really need a reliable computer while in grad school. Having one will make all of the difference. Luckily, my computer is reliable, and fairly new, so I am extremely grateful for that. I honestly don’t know what I would do if my computer just didn’t work one day…probably just give up and apply for my master’s lol.

Man Doing A Sample Test In The Laboratory
6) Other PhD Students

Being in a PhD program can get extremely lonely. I am fortunate to have an office mate. Having other student’s to talk to and complain to can be very therapeutic. Most people don’t understand the mental struggles that can occur in grad school, so having someone to talk to that understands can be everything. Also, bouncing ideas off other grad students can lead to new discoveries or ideas that you didn’t have before.

7) Having the support of my family and friends

If it wasn’t for my family and friends, I would have left a very long time ago. You need the extra motivation to finish the degree. I am extremely grateful for the love and support provided by my family and friends. They truly have helped me to be the best I can be.

8) The faculty and staff of my college

The college of Environmental Engineering at UF has some of the nicest, most intelligent, and most qualified individuals working here. It is always so nice to walk down the hall and be able to have a conversation with a professor or staff member. I am always asked how things are going and they are always so willing to help me when I am having trouble. I truly appreciate everyone in this department.

9) My committee members

I have a great committee. I did choose them and thought very hard about who will be on the committee and how they will help me become a better researcher. I am super appreciative of them and how they have molded me into the PhD candidate I am today. Each one is a master at what they do and they have really shown me the best ways to do independent research. They are also in charge of graduating me so I have to say nice things :P.

Scientist in Laboratory
10) Having a ton of labs to work in

I have one lab that I primarily work in, but I do have a bunch of other’s that I spend time in. Having access to so many labs and resources has helped my research significantly. Plus, most, not all, my labs are clean and fairly decent sized lol. Having a clean and big lab can make a huge difference.

Final Thoughts

I like to show my gratitude for things in my life. I truly think it makes you a kinder person and that is what I strive to be. I wanted to share the many things that I am grateful for in my grad school experience. There are many more things that I am grateful for, but that will be for another blog post. Today, I wanted to share the 10 things that i am most grateful for in my grad school journey. I hope you found these interesting. Let me know what things you are grateful for in grad school or just what you are grateful for in general. I would love to read about them in the comments. Also, if you haven’t read my blog about accepting uncertainty, you can go check it out (here).

I hope you all have a wonderful day and I will see you in the next one.

Should You Get a Master’s or PhD?

Going to graduate school is a huge commitment. You are essentially putting off making money to extend your college years. Of course, it is much more than just that. Grad school is about learning more about complex problems and getting ready to tackle these problems when you eventually leave. So the question is, what grad degree do I want? A Master’s or a PhD?

This blog post will primary deal with research grad degrees. There are many professional doctorate degrees that you can get, but I won’t really touch on them. These include degrees in law and medicine. Here is a good reference to see the other professional degrees that are out there. I honestly didn’t know there were so many. I want to deal with either getting a master’s degree or going for the prestigious PhD! Actually, a master’s is pretty prestigious as well.

Person Holding White Scroll

Which to choose?

This question should be on everyone’s mind when applying to grad school. What do I want to do and how will a graduate degree help me in the future? These questions are actually much harder than you think to answer because things change. One day, you may just want to make a ton of money so you apply for a master’s to get a pay increase. Another day, you want to work on really cool research for the rest of your life so you think “maybe a PhD is the right path for me!” I have been in both scenarios, so I know how difficult it can get.

First off, you need to decide what your ultimate goal is. For engineering, getting a PhD is almost overkill. Rarely do you see engineers getting doctorates unless they want to teach or do research. Many companies turn away engineers for getting a doctorate. It’s sad, but true. This is why getting a master’s in engineering is way more common than getting a PhD. You will get a pay increase and won’t really be turned away from engineering projects. But say, you are a biologist, getting a doctorate may lead to you become the lab manager at a well funded laboratory. Getting a master’s in biology won’t cut it, so you can see how you need to decide on your ultimate goal to make the decision for you. Find what you’re goal is and that can help decide what is best.

1 Us Dollar Bill

For the money

If you are in it for the money, I would say it’s probably best, in many cases, to just go for a master’s degree. Master’s degrees are usually 1 to 2 years of coursework and then you are free to call yourself a master :). You can often find that many jobs require a master’s degree and you’ll definitely have a competitive edge on everyone else. Plus, a master’s in some fields will get you a huge pay increase compared to just having a bachelor’s.

Going for a PhD may not be the most lucrative. Yes, you will get paid while in grad school, but hardly enough to survive. Some fields, such as engineering show that getting a PhD won’t really make you much more than having a master’s. Here is an article that shows the difference in pay for bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and PhDs. You can see in the table that many times getting a master’s degree is worth it for money and many times getting a PhD is better. Heck, sometimes just having a bachelor’s was enough.

I would say, if you are going for the money, getting a master’s is enough. Going for a PhD requires a lot more than passing exams and doing it for the money may cause you to be disappointed later on. There are other reasons to do a PhD that will be discussed.

Close-up Photo of Survey Spreadsheet

For the Love of Research

If you are like me, you love, love, love research. I mean, I am constantly thinking about it, sometimes even when I am actively trying not to. If you have this mindset, a PhD is the right path for you, 100%. a PhD is all about pushing the boundary of knowledge and learning how to do independent research. A master’s can also accomplish this too, but often it is so fast that you don’t learn all of the skills you need to be a successful researcher.

This is a great path to go on if you absolutely love the field that you are in. You kind of need to love the field you are in so you don’t absolutely hate the next few years of researching that topic. If you don’t absolutely love the field you are in, I would highly suggest that you do not do a PhD. There is a reason why I have a whole blog on how to go through a doctorate program and reduce the effects and chances of a mental illness. It is hard work and exhausting.

Close Up Photo of a Person Wearing Suit Jacket

Your Career

What type of career do you want? Do you want to work in the academic field or maybe you want to do industry work? So for an academic job, especially being a professor, you’ll need your doctorate. If you want to just be a teacher, getting a master’s is perfectly fine and encouraged. The more education and knowledge, hopefully the better teacher you become. Also, if you want to teach at a community college, you will need at least a master’s.

Say you want to do industry work, a master’s is completely fine. You will find many job postings that you will be perfect for. Getting a PhD may be overkill for some jobs, as stated earlier. Also, getting a PhD may close the doors for some jobs that you may have wanted to do. It doesn’t mean that you can’t work in industry if you have a PhD, you will just be working on some other jobs. Some of these jobs you didn’t know existed.

Final Thoughts

For those that have gone to grad school, what degree did you get and what was the reason you went for that specific degree. For me, getting a doctorate was the right choice for me because I want to go into the research field after college. I tried engineering but research really stood out to me.

As always, I hope everyone found this blog to be insightful or at least just fun to read. If you haven’t read my blog about feeling stuck while doing experiments, go check it out here.

Why You Should Blog in Grad School

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information see disclosure at bottom of home page

I want to start off by saying that one of the best things that I have done while in grad school has been starting a blog. Unfortunately, I started later than I would have wanted, but I did start. So, I am here today to encourage those starting grad school, or in grad school, to blog about it. Keep records of what grad school was like for you and provide tips to others on how to survive and thrive through the academic journey.

Why I started

I started my blog as a way to help other grad students that were having a hard time while in school. My aim was to provide a few tips and tricks that can help reduce the chance of a mental health crisis while going through your PhD/Master’s. I believe that I have been somewhat successful as many individuals have reached out telling me that my blog has helped, even just a little. The way I look at it, if I have helped even just one person then this was all worth it. Hopefully, you are here and have found some of my content helpful.

I also wanted to write more, since, you know, I have to publish articles in grad school lol. By writing each day, or at least 2 to 3 times a week, I have gained quite a few skills that have helped to make the writing process of science less daunting. Of course, I have a long way to go, but that just makes the journey that much more exciting.

Why You NEED to Start a Blog in Grad School

I know the title is why you “should” start a blog in grad school. I want to tell you that you need to start one in grad school. Well, you don’t have to, but I highly recommend it for many reasons that I am about to discuss. Starting a blog has been such a crucial step in my success that I want other grad students to participate and reap the benefits of it. There’s more to it than just honing your writing capabilities.

Woman Sitting on Gray Rock Near Body of Water

1) It will help with mental health

Mental health problems can and will occur while you are in grad school. My whole blog deals with ways to prevent mental illness that comes from the grad school experience. Check out my Mindfulness and Meditation section of my blog to read more about the ways to reduce mental health issues.

Blogging can be a way to release pent up anxiety and worries. Blogging is very much like journaling. You can literally write all of your hopes, dreams, fears, and regrets which can and will reduce mental health issues. In fact there are many studies on the effectiveness of journaling on mental health. Writing a blog is just another way to journal.

Trust me when I tell you that I am a totally different individual, mentally, because of my blog. I have written about my mental health and ways to reduce it. I have written about my fears, anxieties, worries, and problems. By getting it out there into the world, you will find that it will help you understand what is going on in your head and how to fix it.

One very important part about blogging that is lacking in journaling, though, is the community. There are thousands, possibly millions of individuals that are just like you and many of them will reach out to you as support. The blogging community has been such an encouragement and will make you feel like a part of a community, something that might lack while in grad school. Being a graduate student, you will be alone quite often. The blogging community will be there to provide support, especially when you feel the most lonely.

Hiker holding hand of black friend on road

2) You Can Help Others

The best part, I think, about blogging in grad school is providing helpful advice to those going though the same stuff you are. You will experience grad school differently than most, but there are many hardships that we all face. By providing helpful tips and tricks, you can essentially be helping someone get through grad school without developing a mental health issue. Heck, you may help make the grad school experience more fun or enjoyable and help someone achieve their goals.

Blogging, in a way, can be a bit like volunteering. You are providing your skills and experiences to help others. I think this is the most satisfying part of the whole process of blog writing. Being able to help those in need and making a small part of the world a better place is so worth it.

3) It can make you some money

One of the hard parts, if not hardest part, of grad school is being poor. I mean, really poor. For the hours that you put in into your work, you may barely make minimum wage. People often say “well you’re a student and learning, so why should you get paid more?” Well, yes, we may be learning, but we have a whole degree under our belts, sometimes many degrees, we have skill sets that people pay a ton of money for, and we work exceptionally hard on things that can revolutionize the scientific community. To get paid minimum wage to go through what we do is an insult. I do not expect to make 6 figures, but at least help us pay for a place to live and allow us to survive.

Anyway, This post is not about how unfair our pay is, no, it’s about making a bit of extra money. Blogging is difficult and you will not make money right away. In fact, you may not make any money for a very, very long time. This is why I don’t suggest only doing this to make money. Though, eventually, you may start making a few hundred bucks here and there. You may even provide a service that allows you to make thousands of dollars after a while.

Blogging is a great way to provide a skill set too. You can write blogs all day and sell your services such as consulting or possible other services to those that are asking for it. You can make money from affiliated links as well as ads. At first, you’ll make pennies. I haven’t even made 20 dollars, but I am in the blogging business for other reasons instead of money.

Since blogging is mostly passive income, it can be worth it to start a blog, monetize it, and have an extra bit of money to help feed you throughout grad school or pay for the amount of coffee you be buying lol.

4) You’re Writing Skills Will Get Better

The problem that I had when I first started blogging was that my writing skills were garbage. They weren’t that bad but they were a lot worse than they are now. Writing is an essential part of grad school. You’ll write papers and articles constantly. Blogging keeps those skills sharp so you can write these things with ease. Blogging also makes writing fun. I just remembered how much I hated to write in high school and undergrad. Now, I thoroughly enjoy the process.

Ever skill that you can think of with writing will get better. It’s like taking an English course all over again. But this time, instead of getting a grade, you just get comments back from your fans or you get paid. It’s super fun!

Four Person Standing on Cliff in Front of Sun

5) You Will Meet Like Minded People

Blogging your journey will introduce you to all types of people. You may even make a few friends along the way. As I said earlier, grad school can be a bit lonely and isolating. This is a great way to reach out and find your people and friends. Also, it is a great way to network with other scientists and researchers. I have added a few people on LinkedIn that were reading my blog. You can potentially find employers this way as well.

The people reading your blog are probably very similar to you in interest. I mean, if you write a blog about your love of horses, the people reading it will probably love horses too. I write about grad school and many of the people that read my blog have gone, are going, or are about to go to grad school. Some people are even just considering it now, even though they are not at the point of starting grad school. These individuals are very like-minded and I thoroughly enjoy having them read my content.

Photo of Woman Writing on Tablet Computer While Using Laptop

6) It is Just a Good Hobby

I want to end the benefits of blogging throughout grad school with this one. Blogging is a wonderful hobby that takes very little to start and can lead to a world of benefits. Having a hobby is essential in grad school. It is a hard journey and you need something fun to help you along the way. Blogging allows you to write about the things you love and even learn more about them in your research. Mindfulness was a huge part of my blog writing, still is. I have learned so much about it and have grown in my passion for it ever since starting.

Having a hobby that helps you through grad school can be what leads to you actually finishing. Hobbies can help reduce burnout and mental illnesses, two things that are very common in grad school. This is why I think writing about your journey is so important.

Final Thoughts

How’s this for the longest blog that I have ever written? lol. I hope you found this somewhat helpful and encouraging. I have been writing a blog for like 9 months now and it has been amazing the whole journey. If you are in grad school, I highly encourage you to write about your journey or even just start a blog about something that interests you. You will find that a blog separates you from the stress of grad school and takes you places you never thought possible. I hope you all have a wonderful day and I will see you in the next one. Peace!

**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

It is OK to Slow Down

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information see disclosure at bottom of home page

Grad school, a wonderful time where you are running around, doing crazy amounts of things day after day, only to receive a piece of paper. Of course grad school is not just this. It is a learning experience and a chance to grow as a scholar. Yes, some things in grad school may not make sense as to why you need to do them. But in the end, you will be a much better researcher/scholar/whatever you become :).

Man Showing Wristwatch

One thing that I notice is how busy college tends to get. You will have exams, research projects, sports, clubs, homework assignments, outside work, the list goes on and on. It is busy. I remember undergrad used to be extremely busy. The biggest complaint I heard was how busy the semester was for everyone and how little fun they would have. Everyone justified it by saying what they were doing was a “resume builder.” Honestly, I hated this phrase and wish it would go away. No, we were all busy because we wanted to feel important and feared that we would miss out on things.

I am not trying to bash on being busy, though. I love the feeling of being busy, but when I am productive. Some people like to keep themselves busy for the sake of being busy, getting nothing done in the process. I don’t really like this. Now some people really are busy. The individuals getting ready to graduate or the ones trying to get volunteering experience to get into med school have great justifications. Some people just stay busy because they like the feeling. This is ok but sometimes it is really just fine to slow down. In fact, I highly encourage a slower lifestyle if you can.

Black Tortoise Standing

Why Slow Down

The older I get, the more I realize that staying busy and cramming as much as I can into as little time as possible is not sustainable. I like to enjoy things and not rush through them. Sometimes, I overschedule myself and find myself doing multiple different things during the day, while worrying about the next thing I have to do. This causes a great deal of frustration, honestly. Slowing down can help pne enjoy the task or thing that is happening at that moment.

Slowing down can help to cause less confusion, feelings of anxiety, and can lead to far less stress. The most stressful times in anyone’s life is during a time when a ton of things are happening that seem to be out of control. Notice that the most stressed individuals are the ones that cram so much into such little time. Slowing down, taking things off your to-do list, and relaxing are sure-fire ways to live a stress free lifestyle.

Slow Signage

How can I Slow Down?

“But Ben, how can I slow down in grad school? It’s always so busy!” Well, I have a few ways in which you can slow down, but you may not like hearing (reading) about them lol. So, let’s discuss some of the many ways in which you can slow down in grad school, in list form!!! Woohoo.

1) Say “no” more often

One of the best ways to slow down is to just stop saying “yes” to everything that people ask you. You are very valuable in the academic scene. Technically, you are seen as cheap labor, so many people may come to you and ask you to do extra work or write a paper. They may even entice you with your name on the publication. If you can’t do the work for them, you are allowed to say “no”. It is not the end of the world.

Woman in White and Black Dress Standing Beside Glass Window

2) Reduce time on your phone.

Much of our time these days is spent on our phones. One way to slow down and get some more time to relax is by just turning off your phone. Social media, text messages, emails, and other apps can make us feel overwhelmed. Our phones can keep us busy for hours on end, taking time away from things that truly matter like getting other work done, or even just spending time with another individual. It’s time to be ok with turning off your phone.

Notebook

3) Make to-do lists

One great way to slow down is to make a to-do list of everything that needs to get done that day. Then, start reducing the size of that list. We often make lists that are unattainable. I know all of my to-do lists have about 100 things on them, yet I can only manage to get 3 to 4 done a day. Make a list of essential things then subtract other things that are not as important. Do you really need to wash your car between zoom meetings today? Probably not lol. So take that off of your list.

4) Get Organized

Organization will help you stay on track. Organizing yourself is a great way to slow down as well. Focus on the most important things in order and you will probably finish in a reasonable amount of time and have more free time to do the things you enjoy, or just chillax.

Man Walking Near Body of Water

5) Schedule in Walks

I love walking. It’s in my top 5 favorite activities to do. I am also part of a virtual walking challenge (link here), which helps push me to do even more walking. One of the best things to do to slow down, that I know from first hand experience, is go on walks. This helps because it takes time away from doing work and forces you to focus on exercise and what is going on around you. I walk about an hour to an hour and a half each day. During that time, I am not working, I am off my phone (unless I am listening to my audibles) and I am focusing on the present. Walking has definitely made me appreciate the “now” and I have found that my life is not quite so hectic because of it.

6) Quit working at the same time each day

If you want to slow down, schedule a time and quit working at that time. For me, that’s 5:30. I have actually created a habit and my body naturally stops working at that time. My brain shuts off, I get hungry, and I start to really shift my focus elsewhere. It is a really good thing because my body knows when to just stop for the day. If you don’t really do this, you may just continue to keep working for a very long time or stay way too busy. You have to schedule a time to just stop.

Final Thoughts

Life in grad school can get hectic and stressful at times. I get it, I really do. But sometimes slowing down is the best option. Stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems can and will occur in grad school. This is why overwhelming yourself with stuff might not be the best thing to do. I had to force myself to slow down due to mental health reasons. If you want out know more about my mental health, check out these blogs (here). I have to slow down to reduce stress and anxiety. Fortunately, I am in a good place now, but I do worry for some of the new grad students. Please make sure to take care of yourselves in grad school. It is a long and hard journey.

**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

Do You Need to Be Smart to Go to Grad School?

I think that everyone that has considered going to grad school has googled this exact question. I don’t want to admit how many times I have googled it lol. The same answer always comes up, regardless of where I go. No, you don’t have to be a genius, or even smart, to go to grad school. You just need to be a hard worker that has a thirst for knowledge.

One of the reasons that people may consider this question is because grad students are always portrayed as super intelligent nerds. This can be slightly intimidating to people because they may not live up to these portrayed standards. I am here to tell you that you don’t need to be “smart” to go to grad school. You just need to be a hard worker.

Yes, grad school is full of super intelligent individuals, but there are just as many students that did ok in undergrad. I know people that received there master’s in college and failed a ton of their high school courses. Undergrad wasn’t much different, but they did excel in grad school. I also know people that were bottom of their class while going for their doctorate. You know what I call them these days? Doctor!

Woman Sitting in Front of Macbook

Hard Work

Hard work pays off though. Grad school is a grind that may last for a very long time. You will come in each day, pick away at your thesis a bit more and more, then go home. Repeat for 5 years and you get a doctorate lol. Being super intelligent but not willing to put forth the effort will only get you so far. The individuals that can keep going after years of failure and very small wins are the ones who will excel and thrive.

You are smart though

You are smart though, if you get into grad school. Don’t think you aren’t. The reason many people don’t think they are is because they get thrown into a pond with very big fish. You may have someone who graduated top of their class from Harvard or someone who one the national science fair in 8th grade. Because of this, you may not think you belong, but you do.

Person Holding Gray Twist Pen and White Printer Paper on Brown Wooden Table

Apply

It does not matter whether you are smart or not, apply to grad school. I guarantee you will get in. The journey is tough, but you are tougher. The worst thing that happens is you don’t get in. There are so many grad programs anyway, just keep applying. You will get into one of them, I promise.

Final Thoughts

Today, I am feeling a bit dumb, but that’s due to the crazy brain fog that comes with Covid. Oh, right, I had covid and didn’t tell you guys. Some of you could probably guess by my posts recently. Writing has been a bit difficult for me due to brain fog, so my writing might be a little all over the place. I am trying, though, and will go back to update my posts once I get back to normal.

Those that did apply for grad school and those that went to grad school, did you ever type in “do you have to be smart to go to grad school?” I am curious to know. Let us all know in the comments. Anyway, I hope you all have an awesome day and I will see you all in the next one. Cheers!

Should You Do An Internship in Grad School?

It’s internship and job hunting season. I bet you didn’t know there was such as thing. Well in college, there is lol. It usually occurs right after career showcases happen, usually February. Summer is the most popular time to do an internship, so people are trying to secure one before they go on break. Obtaining an internship for the summer can help pay for expenses during the fall semester, and in some cases, pay for classes as well. I have known many individuals that have gotten high paying internships and paid for their tuition just from 3 months of working! So, internships are great to have.

Now, should you get one while in grad school? This can be a tricky question to answer because grad school is much more different than undergrad. First off, grad school covers a very broad range of studies. Grad school includes master’s, MBA, PhD, law degrees, medical degrees, education degrees, and a whole lot of other degrees that I really don’t know much about. In undergrad, it’s mostly dealing with a bachelor’s degree, which most are set up the same way, course work. Grad school can be course work, teaching experience, research based (me), or some other strange teaching method lol. This makes it difficult to find time to do an internship. Sometimes, it can be impossible.

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Master’s Students

During your master’s, you will probably have summers free. Take full advantage of internships if you are in this position. In fact, I highly suggest getting one to get an understanding of the types of jobs that you may have after college. Master degree holders are very valuable, so finding an internship isn’t as hard as you may think. Also, you can negotiate a higher pay because you are a degree holder already. Do not sell yourself short.

For master’s students, I would suggest looking at companies that you are interested in working at and applying there. This serves many purposes. 1) You will get your foot in the door and can put that on your resume. 2)You will get experience at the company and they will most likely hire you on as a full time employee, with a higher salary than a person just starting. 3) You will get paid over summer and get valuable work experience lol. 4) You can also see if you like the job that you are applying for. If you get an internship and hate working as that position, then you saved yourself a ton of time and can try another position.

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Law Students

If you are a law student and wondering if you should get an internship, then you came to the right place. Law students are some of the busiest and overworked individuals that I know. I am dating a lawyer and my current roommate is a law student. One of my best friend’s girlfriend is a law student as well and all of my girlfriend’s friends are lawyers. I am surrounded…Let me tell you, law students make great employees and getting an internship while in law school is imperative. You need the experience of being a lawyer or you’re going to have a hard time after college. Being a lawyer is not like law school. You will need some experience to become a well rounded lawyer when you pass the bar and go work for the big law firms.

Summers are open for you to get an internship wherever you want. My girlfriend had a ton of internships and got a ton of experience before she left college. Summers were spent working for quite a few firms as well as the public defenders office. I believe she had internships during the second year of law school as well. When talking to her, she always stresses that getting these internships were essential to getting a good job.

For those in law school that are deciding whether or not to get an internship, trust me when I say DO IT!!! Get one for summer and make the most of it. Do an internship this summer and next and take the final summer off to study for the bar. I guarantee you will thank me later for pushing you lol.

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PhD

PhD students spend the whole year ding work. For those doing research, you probably won’t be going and doing an internship, though this isn’t always the case. I have known individuals getting their doctorates that spend their summers at internships, usually somewhere related to their research. This is important because they can use this time as experience for their own research goals and maybe even incorporate it into their thesis. Some research PhDs do internships on the side while working on their own research full time. If you do this, make sure that it is alright with your adviser and doesn’t set you back in graduating.

PhD students that don’t do year round research may definitely do an internship during the summer. This is a common occurrence for individuals that are only paid for 9 months and probably teach to get paid. Internships help to supplement the 3 months out of teaching and help to hone their skills in the field that they are studying. Getting an internship while doing a PhD is very common, though not many people really talk about it, surprisingly.

Final Thoughts

Yes, grad students can do internships. Depending on what you do, you may not have the time to be able to do an internship or you risk setting back graduation. Other times, getting an internship is the best possible thing you can doing while getting a grad degree. It can help you find a job, find what you are passionate about, and even earn you a bit of money. If you are in a position where you can get a internship, I suggest going for it. Get the experience. It is well worth it.

Let me know in the comments if you think it is good or bad to have an internship in grad school. Also, if you have had an internship as a grad student, tell us about your experience. We would love to know more.

Please Be Kind To Yourself

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I have noticed many new students beating themselves up because they don’t understand something or they are having a hard time with experiments. Honest, this really upsets me. I know how hard one can be to themself. I was that individual that would put myself don if I got a B on an exam. God forbid I get any lower. It has taken years of self help and a whole year of therapy to get to where I am today.

Grad school is here for one purpose, to learn. One thing that comes with learning is failure. Failing over and over and over is a hard, yet important thing to do during this time. Yes, there is a lot of pressure from your adviser to do well, but they want to see you try and learn along the way. They do not want to see you beat yourself up over small things.

Be kind to yourself. You will make a ton of mistakes in grad school, but as long as you learn from them, those aren’t really mistakes, right? I have seen way too many people leave because they just couldn’t take the stress of grad school. It’s hard, and that gives you even more reason to be kind to yourself while going through it.

I do not want you to end up with a mental health issue by the end of your academic tenure. I have experience quite a few problems throughout my journey and I don’t want that to happen to anyone else. So please, be kind to yourself and don’t sweat the small stuff.

This blog post is a bit short, I know, but it is an important one. I want to make sure that your experience through grad school is a pleasant one and sets you up for a wonderful life down the road. This time in your life can be very hard. Most people are in their mid 20s and just starting out in life. Being kind to oneself can make sure that mental health issue don’t arise. This is why it is so important to be kind to yourself, take breaks, and make sure to show yourself love. It was the best thing I ever did for myself.

**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