Back in August I finally made the decision to go back to school. I say finally because I was going back and forth on the possibility of grad school for quite some time. But since I found myself continuing to bring the option up again, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and go for it, while it’s feasible. So after almost 4 years of being out of school, I made my way back.
Transitioning back to school while working full-time and continuing my passion of blogging was pretty tough, but I’m proud to say that I somehow survived it AND ended my first semester of grad school with all A’s!
Here are 4 lessons I learned from my first semester of grad school.
Grad School Isn’t Like Undergrad
When it was time to sign up for classes, I opted to register for 3. But what I didn’t fully realize at the time was that grad school and undergrad are totally different. 3 grad school classes is essentially equivalent to being a full-time undergrad student. Yikes! If you have other commitments (i.e. working full-time), I suggest only taking 2 at at time, to avoid burnout. There’s a lot more time required for grad school courses!
You get most of your assignments for the semester (at least the required reading material) at the beginning of the semester. Avoid procrastinating (we’re all guilty of this) if you can and try to space your studying out during the week. Due to travel/friends in town, there were a couple weeks where I didn’t have the weekend to get work done (where I did the bulk of my studying). I felt a bit stressed out having to cram everything in at the last minute, when I definitely could’ve been a bit more productive earlier in the week!
Give Yourself A Break
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with your daily responsibilities alone. So when you add school to the mix things get even crazier. As important as it is to study, it’s also important to step away and take breaks. You don’t want to get burnt out (especially early on), so manage your time as best as possible and allow for breaks to get out of the house to have some fun!
Keep the Big Picture in Mind
I’ll admit, there were a few times (mostly when my anxiety during test times was through the roof) I was asking/telling myself why are you doing this? This is stupid, you already have a degree. What the heck were you thinking? Run!!! But then I brought myself back to reality. It’s important to keep the big picture in mind. While stressful moments are inevitable, there’s a reason I decided/wanted to go back and so I’m going to tough it out and follow through. The achievement at the end will be worth it!
Are you in grad school? Thinking about going back?