Life After Grad School

Life after grad school involves some very interesting things. Transitioning into the real world has been such an eventfully/stressful/exciting time. I have spent, I believe, about 24 years of my life in an academic setting and I was even taking classes while working full time a few years ago, so you can say I am a long term academic. I went as far as I could go in my education and it is time to make the change into being an adult. So today, I want to discuss the transition from college to full time work and give ways to make the transition easier. Hold on tight because I think this might be a longer one of my posts.

love life after grad school

Eventfulness of life after grad school

Let us first start off with the eventfulness of this transition. For me, I defended my thesis, moved to Miami!!!! and started a new job, all within 2 weeks. Yes, you read that right…two weeks. For many people, not including myself, they would have probably taken a few weeks to a few months off of work to just go and be free for a bit. That was not me. In fact, I transitioned so quickly that I didn’t really have time to plan out the whole move, so I spent the following weekends coming back to Gainesville to finish packing

stress after grad school

Stress of moving after grad school

So next, let’s discuss the stressfulness of the move and transition. As you can imagine, moving 6 hours to a new city, to start a job, is nerve racking. I really didn’t have any time to move stuff, say my goodbyes, and finish my doctorate in those 2 weeks, but I did my best. Given the time that I defended, I had a good month before I had to submit my thesis for the college. If I had to finish that during the time where I moved then I would have been in a ton of trouble. Luckily that wasn’t the case. It still added a ton of stress to the move though. also, just starting a new job, finding where it’s at, meeting new people, and even driving there was super stressful. I am still fairly stressed out, but not nearly as much as when I first started 3 months ago.

It’s exciting after grad school

Lastly, exciting. New beginnings are always filled with so many emotions. I was sad, happy, depressed, but mostly, excited. I was starting something that was brand spanking new! And on top of starting something new, I had a cool new title of Dr. to go along with it. That is super freaking exciting and I definitely was. First off, Miami is just an exciting place. As someone who grew up in small cities, moving to a very large one was a bit overwhelming but mostly exiting.

There are millions of things to do just around my apartment. I literally can walk a few blocks and go see a Miami Heat game, then go to Wynwood and see the murals on the building, then I can just go walk to Miami Beach. Luckily, I am in prime location for everything. I am also meeting brand new people, working on exciting projects, and most importantly, I get to see my girlfriend and cat when I come home at the end of the day.

What to Expect Moving from Academia

Moving on from academia and into the real world will be very exciting at first. You will actually be more excited than anything. You’ll start a new job somewhere, possibly move away to a new state or even country, and start your life. There will be new people to meet, paychecks that are higher than any that you have ever seen in your life, and a whole bunch of free time where you don’t have to do homework. You will be overwhelmed with the excitement for at least a few weeks.

You’ll start having weird feelings

Next, you’ll start to miss grad school. You will miss is a lot! This usually comes about a month to a month and a half in to your new job. You are going to start missing the late nights in the lab, the stress of getting experiments done, and you might even miss writing papers for publication. If you are in an academic profession out of grad school then you may not feel this way as you are just continuing with what you did in grad school lol. But if you are industry, you’ll definitely feel this way. Grad school has been your life for so long and it’s practically your identity. You were/are a researcher and not you are an employee, possibly just a number. So, it is completely fine to feel a bit lost and sad that you are not in grad school anymore.

It won’t last long

Luckily, this only lasts a few months, then you are right back to feeling ok and not as sad that you are gone. Usually the sad feeling goes away 2 to 3 months after you finish. For some, it is much shorter of a time, for others, much longer. You are starting something new so feelings of regret and sadness will come and go. In the show How I Met Your Mother, they refer to it as “graduation goggles“. The feeling is of nostalgia, even if your time was miserable. It goes away, don’t worry.

You might feel a bit depressed towards the 2 month mark when leaving academia. I think this is mostly due to post graduation depression or post PhD depression, which I have written about in my blob post (here). I, unfortunately, am in this stage right now, but I believe there is hope that I will transition out of this. If you are in this phase, please, please, please, see a therapist or talk with someone. Every single grad student that I know has experienced this after graduating and starting a job. Most of my friends are getting help and I absolute love that. I also need to get help, which will happen, I promise.

starting a job after grad school

What to expect when starting a job

Let me tell you that you are going to be a sorts of confused when starting a real job. It is exciting, and there is a ton of opportunity to grow and learn, but the beginning will be rough. I started an engineering position and I feel so dumb. Like beyond dumb! I literally have a PhD in engineering and biogeochemistry and feel dumb when someone asks me a question. I am back to the bottom of the totem pole, but that’s just how it is and I think that all PhDs will have this. Getting a doctorate means you are extremely knowledgeable in one subject, not all of them, so you won’t really know much at first. The best part of a PhD, however, is being able to pick up on things very quickly. We learned how to learn quickly and grasp very difficult concepts. So, if you are in the position where you feel dumb, just know you wont feel this way too long.

being lost after grad school

Feeling lost after grad school

Another thing that you will feel is very lost. You likely were hired for a large firm with a ton of employees(>1000). You probably came from a lab or research group of like 4 to 10 people. Yeah, you might be a little lost and have no clue who to go to for help. It happens and it is all part of the process. in fact, you probably won’t be beneficial to the company for at least 6 months, and that’s about as long as it takes to just understand what the heck you’re supposed to do. Just go with the flow, put in some work, and ask questions!!!!

For me, I have a really hard time asking people questions. I have a hard time just talking to people (possible social anxiety?) but I am putting myself in a position where I need to ask questions instead of just finding out myself because that would take too much time. Grad students are often not very good at asking questions because we are afraid we will look dumb (this could just be me, who knows). You have to do it though. It may take some time to be comfortable with asking questions, but I promise you will eventually get there.

free time grad school

Free time after grad school

Another thing that I noticed was I don’t think about my work when get home, unlike in grad school. Work took over my life, because it had to, and also because I loved doing it. Now, when I get off work, I completely shut off my brain to all things work. I leave work at work and go home to live my life. This is really great because it helps to create a balance that grad school really didn’t have. It is a blessing and a curse at first.

If you start a job right away, you won’t really know what to do with the spare time and may find yourself trying to do more stuff to occupy the free time you have. I would advise against that and focus on just relaxing or doing new things. Life after grad school is not a race and occupying all the time with something may cause problems later on.

You’ll need to gain soft skills after grad school

The last thing that you may experience is having to learn how to be a person again. You may have lost a ton of social skills by working in a lab or office by yourself for years. It may be difficult to talk to people and do stuff on your own. These soft skills will come back but you may need to give it some time. I lost a ton of social skills while in grad school that I am frantically trying to get back. Luckily grad school prepares you to learn quickly so you will learn these skills much faster.

Final Thoughts

I think limiting this post abut life after grad school to less than 2k words is a good idea. I can go on and on about life outside of grad school and what you will experience. It has been quite a transition, but it is one that needed to be done. If you are in this position, let me know what your experience has been like since graduation? Do you agree with me or is my experience much different than yours? Let me know in the comments.

Cooking in College

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

I typed in “cooking in grad school” today and some really bad blogs/articles/Quora questions came up. Do people not write about cooking in college? Like, cooking is a huge skill that I strongly believe ever student needs to know. You don’t need to know hoe to cook the best food, but at least know how to make toast lol. Today, I want to discuss how you can get started with cooking in college when you actually have a kitchen and a few items. I was considering creating a little course to share with you all about cooking with limited cooking resources. Let me know if you would be interested. I was thinking about maybe showing how to cook the recipes from this blog post, and showing how to do it with everyday appliances and cooking supplies that most college students have. It’s an idea.

Anyway, I want to go over how to get started, a few tips, and why I think it’s an important skill and hobby that you need to pick up while in college and especially while you are in grad school. Let’s start off with why you should learn to cook and then we will go into some other stuff.

cooking in college

Why you should learn to cook in college.

I really hope you know why you should be cooking while in college. Like come on. What is better than showing off your culinary skills to friends and maybe your neighbors! Cooking is such an amazing hobby to pick up and it teaches you so much. It teaches you basic life skills like how to actually make food that is good for you, knife skills, shopping (financial) skills, and social skills. You do want to invite people over to show off, right?

Show Off!

I think one of the coolest things about learning to cook in college is being able to make crazing awesome dishes and really blow your friends away. I make pretty delicious recipes all of the time and my friends go crazy. You don’t even need to know extreme cooking skills to make stuff that is super delicious that your friends will absolutely love. There are plenty of recipes online where the dish might be like 4 or 5 steps and then it’s done. You need to know only basic culinary skills to cook them and they will always turn out amazing. Cooking is a great way to show off to your friends and make new friends. Everyone wants someone that knows how to cook in their lives.

cooking in college and grad school

Your Wallet Will Thank You!

So college is a very financially stressful time. College students are broke, but have some financial support from either their parents, loans, or some other method. Usually loans are the most helpful. Grad students may have loans, but many doctorates don’t take out loans and solely rely on making the equivalent of 10 dollars an hour. So, when in college, you are pretty poor. One thing that I find to be super expensive is eating fast food or getting to-go.

Each meal is about 10 dollars for one person and you might be eating out 2 to 3 times a day. Yes, I know people that eat out that much. College is easier because you can get on a dining plan at school and eat at the dining halls. These are often good choices, but you can and will gain weight since most of the time that food is pretty unhealthy. Not always, but often.

Going to the store, grabbing some veggies, protein, and other ingredients is fairly cheap and you can learn to make food that tastes better than the food you buy at a restaurant. Your wallet will thank you so much. I know that 20 dollars can get me way more food at the store than it can going out to eat. Also, getting groceries means you don’t have to tip extra. You can make things in bulk and have all of your meals done for the week for maybe $50. It’s such a win. If you get really good at cooking then the food you make will be healthier, better tasting and just way better in general than what you would get elsewhere. Heck, this article says that the average meal at a restaurant costs over 300% more than making it yourself. Save some money, learn to cook.

It’s a great hobby

I have written so much about hobbies in college (check out the link to those here). I want to let you know that one of the coolest and best hobbies to have is cooking. Also, baking is another great hobby to have. It’s easy, fun, and you get to eat. What is there not to love about it? Honestly, I find cooking to be one of the best hobbies that I have.

I get to be creative in the kitchen, mess around with flavors and spices, and eat what I make. It is an easy and cheap hobby that people will admire you for. Plus, you can get a cook chefs hat and maybe a funny apron. It is a great thing to do with friends and significant others. It is also something fun to do by yourself. I can’t stress it enough that you need to take up cooking. It really is amazing.

What to Get to Start Cooking in College

I am so glad that you asked!!!! The first thing to do is make sure that you have a kitchen to use. The next is to get a few pots and pans. One of my favorite things to do is go to a Good Will at the end of the semester. People that are moving away will donate their cooking stuff to them and you can buy really good stuff for dirt cheap. Grab whatever you can from there. It will be like 30 dollars but you’ll get hundreds of dollars worth of stuff. Trust me, it’s great. Another thing you can do is just acquire it from past roommates. That’s what I did. All of my cooking utensils, pots, pans, knives, etc. are from past roommates that have moved away. Nothing matches, but it all does what it’s supposed to do, help me cook.

List of things you probably should get

So I want to list off some things that you can get. I’ll post links to amazon pages where you can buy them. I would say go to Good Will, Walmart, or just buy on Amazon. It’s easy.

  1. Pots
  2. Pans
  3. Cutting board
  4. Spatula
  5. Rice Maker
  6. Whisk
  7. Knives
  8. Strainer
  9. Cast Iron. For those that just love the taste of charred foods.

I Think this is a good list to start. I will probably add more when I think of other essentials. But pretty much, this is what you start off with. As you get familiar with things and more comfortable in the kitchen, then you can start getting other cooking things. Knives, pots, pans, and a spatula are essential. A cutting board is also essential too. Whisks are good to have. A strainer is good if you want to make like noodles or maybe anything boiled. A rice maker is not essential but man do they make amazing rice. If you are a rice eater, get a ricer cooker. A cast iron pan isn’t essential at first, but eventually it should be the only thing you cook out of lol. I have one and cook in it every day.

How to Get Started.

So, I would suggest just getting into the kitchen and goofing around. Many people don’t like that so I’ll help you with a few resources that you can use. The first is YouTube. I found this course on YouTube and the guy goes over practically everything for beginners. The link to the channel is right here.

Another resource is watching Food Network when you have free time. Try and find recipes that the chefs make on their shows and try and cook with them. It is a great way to learn some simple, yet delicious recipes. I did this with the show, Good Eats. Yes, I am a huge Alton Brown fan. I hope he reads this blog post and comments. In fact, my love of science pretty much comes from watching all of his shows when I was a kid. Thanks Alton, you’re the man. Honestly, watching all of the shows really helps you to get the basic skills down. The more advance stuff comes with experience. Make sure you get the basics down and the advance stuff will come quite easily later.

If you are looking for recipes, just type in copy cat recipes of some of your favorite restaurant meals. Someone, somewhere, made a recipe that will tastes like your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant. Follow the recipe at first. Learn how to make the recipes first before you start making changes. Also, buy cook books. It doesn’t matter the cookbook, just get one. Make the stuff in there and see if you are even able to. You’ll be surprised how easy most things are yet they seem so complicated.

Final Thoughts

It’s the end of this segment but I hope to be able to continue with some cooking stuff in the future. If you want me to write more about cooking in college and grad school, leave me a comment or send me an email at As I said, I love cooking. I would love to talk about cooking and getting started with you.

I hope you all liked this post. seriously, I really do think making a mini cooking course would be fun. Let me know what you think. As always, I hope you all have a wonderful day and week. I have to get up early tomorrow for a job interview, so I need to get to bed here soon. Hopefully you guys are productive tomorrow and everyday. I will see you all in the next one. Peace!

More of My Favorite Quotes

I wrote a few months ago, a blog about my top 10 favorite quotes. Since then, I have read and heard many more quotes that I want to share with you today. If you want to check out my last blog, here is the link to that page. I figured that motivation might not be as high today to do work so hopefully these quotes give you that boost of energy and motivation to get right back to being productive. If not, then I suggest checking out my blog on how to be more motivated (here).

Photo of a Sign and Eyeglasses on Table

Anyway, let’s get into the quotes that I have read/heard recently that I think are worth sharing.

1) “If we do it now, we’ll never run out of time”-some Redditor (lol) 

2) “If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success”-John D. Rockefeller

3) “There is nothing permanent except change”-Heraclitus

4)”If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”-Albert Einstein

5)”In order to write about life first you must live it.”– Ernest Hemingway

6)”The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”-Stephen McCranie

7)”Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.” -Jonathan Lockwood Huie

8) “It’s okay to look back at the past, just don’t stare.”-Dover

9)”Two of the most important days in your life are: the day you were born and the day you find out why.”-Mark Twain

10)”In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” -Robert Frost.

Final Thoughts

I hope these are some good quotes that are inciteful and possibly inspiring. Let me know of some more quotes and I will probably make another post with them. Until next time friends, stay amazing!