How Can I Have Fun in Grad School

Do you ever ask yourself, “how do I have fun in grad school?” Wait, you do? So, if you do, you’re most likely a grad student yourself. You have probably exhausted your resources and have come to this blog to get answers to the toughest questions that you have. This is a tough question, I won’t lie to you. It is one of the toughest questions that you can ask yourself while in grad school. Having a fun time while in grad school is essential to your success, and it helps you not hate every minute you’re here.

Having fun while in grad school is not rocket science. If you are one that is in grad school for rocket science, you may find it to actually be fun. So, in that case, having fun is rocket science. Sorry, I am getting off track. Anyway, there are many ways to make the most out of grad school and have fun while doing it. People often read the horror stories of going to grad school and how they had a terrible time. This does not have to be you. Sure, there may be some things that aren’t fun about grad school, but you can have way more fun and exciting things than not fun and unexciting things.

So today I want to talk about a few things in grad school that really makes it fun and exciting. These things can be related to your academics, but I want to kind of shy away from that and find fun things that you can do outside work that will make the whole experience so much better. So, let us get started with the ways in which you can have fun while in grad school.

ways to have fun in grad school

Ways to Have Fun in Grad School

There are a gazillion ways to have fun while going to grad school. Yes, even if you are going to law school, you can still have fun (after you read 15 chapters). Grad school is not supposed to be 60 hours of work a week, no life, and no happiness. No, it’s supposed to be a time where you learn how to do research or be a lawyer or be a doctor. It’s a time in your life where you are able to mess up, and learn from those mistakes without much repercussion. It is a tough time, but you will be able to have some fun, I promise you this.

1) Have a friends group to have fun in grad school

The absolute bets thing that you can do in order to have as much fun as possible is find some friends. Going through grad school alone is something that no one needs to experience. Just the feeling of being alone is sending shivers down my spine. Get a group of friends to just hang out with and talk to. They can be part of your research group, people from other places, or you can use a phone app to find friends that are similar to you. Heck, use tinder and meet friends that way lol.

Having friends can really make the whole experience of grad school so much better. You might be in school for 3 to 8 years, so having people to vent to, go to dinner with, or just hang out will make those years the best. If you are like me, and have had trouble in the past finding friends, go check out my post about how to get friends in grad school (link here). These methods helped me significantly.

Pets in grad school

2) Get a Pet

Probably one of the best decisions that I have made was to get a pet while in grad school. Coming home to a very loud kitty is a great way to brighten up my day. Sirius, my cat, loves to run around and play with toys, but he especially loves to play with the cat wand that I bought him. This means that I have to engage in his play. Have you ever not had fun while watching a cat chase after a mouse on a string? It’s so much fun and get’s you out of the work zone. He has truly made the grad school experience so much more enjoyable and fun because he forces me to have fun.

This is the same with dogs. Taking a dog to a dog park and watching them play is down right awesome. Bring a tennis ball and play fetch with them. What’s even more fun about taking a dog to a dog park is there are other dogs to interact with. if you play fetch, you might have your dog and 20 others chasing after the ball. You can’t be miserable watching all those furry animals chasing after a tennis ball. It’s just not possible.

3) Learn to Love The Journey

Did you know that you can make everything in your life not fun if you change your mindset to a way where you think of only negative things? Yeah, it can happen. Even going to a party with all of your friends can be terrible if you only think about the negative things. What I am saying is, the amount of fun you can have is solely up to you and the way you look at things. The journey to getting a degree is long, but if you have a positive mindset, the journey can be a fun and exciting one. If you thing negatively about the journey, all fun tends to disappear.

I found that counting my blessing each day and really focusing on the positive aspects of grad school has significantly made it more enjoyable and fun. I am in a good mood most of the time which really helps me to find all of the fun things that come with grad school. It’s easy to have fun at work when you are already in a good mood. Try it out and see if it works for you.

Sports to have fun in grad school

4) Join a sports league

I currently am on a kickball team that plays every Wednesday. This gives me a lot to look forward to each week and a way to relieve stress. Plus, I get to have a fun time playing kickball against friends. Joining a sports league can be quite a rewarding experience. You get to stay active, meet people, and for at least an hour, the only thing you worry about is playing. Having fun is the ultimate goal (and winning for some) and you get that when you join sports leagues. If you are more competitive, there are always leagues that place really good players against each other. If you want to just go out and have fun, there are a ton of leagues that do that too.

Intramurals are also extremely fun and you get to meet a ton of people. Grad students love joining theses leagues and you are bound to interact with quite a few. I played flag football with only grad students and had a wonderful time. We lost every game but had so much fun playing.

Hobbies in grad school

5) Start a new hobby

You can start a new hobby or continue with the ones that you have now. I have a few hobbies that I actively participate in to make my grad school experience way more fun. One is wood carving. It is a great way to learn patience and you get to create some really cool things. Another hobby that I have is fishing. Unfortunately, I can’t do this as often because I am on a crunch to finish my doctorate. Fishing is my all time favorite hobby and kept me very happy all throughout grad school. Another hobby of mine is working out. This is great because it helps me stay in shape, reduces stress, and makes the day a bit more fun.

I highly suggest trying new hobbies while in grad school. One hobby that I strongly suggest trying is blogging. I started blogging in grad school and it has helped my writing skills, made the day more enjoyable, and I have been able to make friends from it. Whatever the hobby is, go for it. If it makes these years much more fun then it’s totally worth it.

6) Go to as many events as your schedule allows

One thing that truly makes grad school a great experience is the amount of things you can do for free at your school. You are still technically a student so you get all of the perks that come with being a student. One of those is being able to go to events for free or at a very reduced rate. During the semester, there are millions of things that you can do. During the day, take an hour or so and go to one or two of these events. It is a great break from work and it will make the day better and more fun. As grad students, we do sometimes forget that we can leave our offices and labs. Make it a habit to leave during the day and go enjoy a free event or something for an hour.

Final Thoughts

These are 6 ways to have fun in grad school, pretty much on a daily basis. Grad school is a great time to have fun and be active. You have a ton of freedom in grad school to be able to do wonderful and fun things. It does not have to be a harsh/negative experience. In fact, grad school may be the best time in your life. Take full advantage of that.

I hope you all are having a wonderful time in grad school. I certainly am and I truly give credit to all of the above things that I covered. Try some of them and see how well it makes the experience for you.

So this is it for the night. If you have any more things to add to this list, please comment below. Also, this post (here) is a really good addition to my list. Go check that out. Hopefully the comment section is working. I haven’t had many people comment on my posts lately, so I don’t know. I hope you all have a wonderful week and I will see you in the next one. Peace!

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!

How to Enjoy Life and Grad School

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How to enjoy life and grad school? Sounds like a pretty difficult concept to write about lol. I have been thinking alot about my life and where it is going next. I have also come to the conclusion that I do indeed enjoy grad school and I am starting to enjoy my life as well. It took a very long time, but I think I have found a few ways to get the most out of the cards I am given in life. My enjoyment does not come from the goals or the money I will make. Heck it doesn’t necessarily come from any materialistic thing. No, it comes from a mindset that has taken me a couple years to finally get to. I want to share some of the ways that help me find enjoyment even when things are bad.

So, like all my really amazing posts before this one, I would like to do a list of the things in my life that have helped to make the past 4.5 years pretty good. I think these things are definitely excellent ways to increase your happiness and overall mental state while in grad school. See, grad school is a pretty long, mostly boring, journey that we must take to do research in academia. You will go through many emotions, especially towards the end f it where you are questioning your time and effort into doing grad school. First off, it’s worth it. Getting an advanced degree is totally worth every penny but you many not see that now. So lets get into some ways to enjoy your life and grad school.

Motivational Quotes

1) Whatever you do, do not compare yourself to others, especially those not in grad school.

This is huge because you will have friends that will advance very quickly at work and make a ton of money. You will be stuck in this limbo state where you are making little advances and even less money. Do not compare yourself to their achievements, instead, congratulate them and be happy for them. You may be very jealous of their advances but they may be extremely jealous of your achievements and how you decided to get an advanced degree. I have met countless individuals that have told me that what I do makes them slightly jealous even though they make tons of money and have really fancy things. The grass is greener where you water it for sure.

Person Walking Between Green Forest Trees

2) Get outside as much as possible, especially when it’s sunny.

My office does not have windows. In fact, it wasn’t even an office originally, but a storage fridge for chemicals. That means that I could spend a whole day there and not even see the sun or another person. You can see why it’s imperative that I focus on my mental health, because if I don’t, I will be in a bad situation. One of the best things that I do, daily, is walk to campus. For 1 hour a day, I am outside and doing some light exercise. I truly think this has helped me enjoy things more. During the walk, I get to experience a ton of really cool things that I wouldn’t if I rode the bus such as the cool breeze of the morning, the sounds, the smells, and most important, the peace. Getting outside and enjoying the free things in life have made my 4.5 years way more enjoyable.

Full body of flexible barefoot couple in activewear sitting on mats in Lotus pose with closed eyes while practicing yoga together

3) Meditation

Yeah, I know, I have written about this countless times. But, it’s something that has helped me significantly. My head, like many others, is a bee hive of thoughts and useless information. It is almost impossible for me to remember anything unless I have a way to calm my brain and extract that info. Meditation has allowed for that to happen. I also suffer from anxiety, which has caused a ton of hardships throughout these years. Meditation has been a key component in reducing those feelings and actually giving me the confidence to overcome the residual anxious feelings that I have towards things. You cannot enjoy life if you are in constant fear of things and worry about things that will or will not happen. Spoiler alert* The things you worry about happening will probably never happen, ever. If you want to learn how to meditate or want to read more about how meditation has helped me, here are a few links to my blog posts (how to meditate here, everything else here).

Relaxed black woman watching laptop near dog on bed

4) Get a pet or a ton of plants

Taking care of a pet or plants can be a bit difficult but sooooooo worth it. When you are in grad school, you spend a ton of time alone unfortunately so coming home to a pet that is super happy to see you makes your day so much better. Plants are great if you don’t have the time or resources to take care of a pet. Just the act of keeping something alive can really help your mental state as well. Also, plants just make you happy. I love having plants in my apartment because they really make everything look pretty. I also love the whole “nature” look that comes with having them. Here’s an article on how plants make you happy. I think a nice combination of both plants and animals has helped a ton.

Men's White Button-up Dress Shirt

5) Surround yourself with good people

One of the hardest things to do is to end a relationship with someone because they are toxic or really don’t bring happiness to your life. I have been here. Having to let someone go out of your life is hard but it has made, at least my life, better. If you have to let someone go because of toxicity, then it is totally justified. Once that is over, surround yourself with non toxic individuals. I have surrounded myself with very uplifting and supportive individuals and I truly believe that has helped me enjoy my life as well as grad school more. You will meet all types of people in grad school so you can almost pick and choose who you want to bring into your weird little world. If you are just starting, try and make friends with supportive individuals and you will see that grad school is not nearly as bad as what you have read on reddit.

Final thoughts

Most importantly, have fun while in school and, well, life. You get one chance to make this the best experience ever so being miserable shouldn’t even be an option. What I have shared today has helped get me out of some really tough mental states. I am such a different person than what I was a few years ago. You can definitely have an amazing life adventure if you take the time to truly enjoy the simple things. Happy Saturday everyone. I will see you in the next post.

How Adopting a Pet Has Affected My Mental Health

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I woke up this morning at 4 am. to the sound of my cat, Sirius, meowing because he was scared and probably pretty hungry. We are currently experiencing a tropical storm and he does not like the noise of the wind. I gave him some food then tried getting back to sleep. I have a pretty hard time getting back to sleep when I wake up because I get anxiety in the morning. So I meditate which usually puts me right to sleep (lol). This routine has been going on for about a year and a half since I adopted him. He wakes me up at ungodly hours and I comply. I love every minute of it. I wish he would sleep through the night, which he does when it’s cold outside, but I can’t win every time.

Adoption Day: Full of Anxiety

I remember the day I adopted Sirius. My roommate at the time liked to foster cats and we had gone through quite a few. We were currently fostering Sirius and his brother Regulus. I loved both cats and honestly wanted to adopt both but knew that having two cats was quite a handful. Regulus was adopted first and then we had Sirius with us for a few more weeks until I went to pick him up from an adoption clinic and saw how unhappy he was in a cage. I got him right away and he’s been my best friend ever since.

The Beginning

Having a cat at first caused me so much anxiety. In fact, I had a serious panic attack that very night after getting him. I am a “what if” thinker. I thought of all the “what if’s” that could be thought and it really affected my mental state. Turns out, getting that cat was the best thing I had done for my mental health. Sirius gives me a reason to wake up in the morning. I have to take care of him which helps me take care of myself. Having the responsibility of a pet really gives you a sense of satisfaction as well. Now I am not saying to go and get a pet if you are suffering from depression or anxiety. I am saying that it has helped me significantly.

Honestly, even getting a house plant to take care of will help as well. Just know that animals are amazing creatures. Sirius even picks up on when I am sad or not feeling well and he will come over and just lay with me. One weird thing that I noticed, and paid for, was him getting really stressed out when I was super stressed out from an altercation with a roommate. This led to him suffering from feline idiopathic cystitis. That was awful and luckily that is over with.

Final Thoughts

Having a cat has helped tremendously with my anxiety and has even helped to reduce it. I truly believe I am a better person because of him. It also helps that he’s an awesome cat and everyone loves him too.

**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.