8 Tips for Surviving Graduate School

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8 Tips for Surviving Graduate School

If you’ve made it to graduate school, you’re likely a pretty confident student. You’ve likely got solid study skills, are excited about the subject level, and feel ready to tackle this new journey. But it’s important to remember that graduate school brings a whole new challenge. If you treat it like your undergraduate program, you might get quickly overwhelmed. Remember these tips to stay on top of your studies and finish the program ready to tackle your career.

  1. Use Your Professors

Part of the reason you’re attending the university you chose is the quality of professors. Take advantage of these experts you have at your disposal. Visit them, take them to coffee to get to know them, and use them as a resource. They can be extremely helpful during your studies, as well as after you graduate when its time to get a job. Remember you will need recommendations down the line, so find a professor you connect with and start building a relationship.

  1. Get Organized

Much of the work you complete in the graduate level will be helpful for you moving forward. An assignment might be used for a future portfolio, or might eventually be highlighted on your resume. Keep your academic work organized and compiled in an easily accessible reach, so you can pull it out when necessary.

  1. Expect to Be Busy

Undergraduate programs are about learning as much as they are about the culture. With a graduate program, you’re committing to really becoming an expert on a topic. As a result, your study schedule will be much busier. If you’ve struggled with time management in the past, it’s time to find a system that works for you before it’s too late.

  1. Take Initiative

In graduate school, you will need to be an independent worker. If you have questions about an assignment or financial aid, you’ll likely need to find the answer for yourself. Before you let this cause anxiety, it’s great practice for the real world. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors with questions sooner rather than later.

  1. Study Now

Procrastination is your worst enemy. Study now and study often, so you don’t have to stay up all night before an exam. The best way to avoid burnout is to manage your time and keep a consistent schedule from the beginning. Put yourself on a study schedule with time for breaks to stay motivated and productive.

  1. Become an Expert

When else in your life will you be surrounded with free tools to help you become an expert on the topic of your choice? Take advantage of libraries, professors, speaking events, and whatever else you can get your hands on to really dive into the topic. Consider getting involved as a research assistant with a professor you admire. You might even be able to make money from it, and you can definitely put it on your CV.

  1. Stay on Budget

Being a full-time student can make working almost impossible. While you likely won’t be able to save any money during your time in graduate school, it’s important to stick to a budget. Track your spending and make small changes to save up, like cooking at home, drinking less, and taking public transportation. If you have the time for part-time work or even a side hustle like driving for ride share or a food delivery service, the money will be extremely helpful. Bonus points if you can find a job that will boost your resume.

  1. Branch Out

While school is for studying, it’s also about building your network. Whether you’re applying to your first job or your sixth, likely these contacts will come in handy. Plus, you need to take a break from studying anyway. Look for organizations that allow you to meet like-minded people, pursue a hobby, and improve your skills if possible.