How do I learn to survive grad school?
October 15, 2007 8:26 AM Subscribe
How do I learn to survive as a grad student?
posted by anonymous to education (15 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
For a number of reasons, this is anonymous, so bear with me as I drench you in information.
I recently started a two-year masters' program in the arts, and I also currently hold a half-time assistantship.
Basically what I'm looking for is advice on managing what has become a fairly quiet, monastic life, and also on making myself do work.
My program allows us a tremendous amount of time to read and write, which means that the amount of actual classwork I have, even when combined with my teaching duties, is less than I had as an undergraduate. However, I have quickly found that I don't know how to best use all of this "free" time, and it is quickly wasted taking naps and reading gossip blogs.
Moreover, I'm having a bit of difficulty adjusting to my new life in general. I live alone, which is optimal but quite lonely; my significant other is far away, which is not new but still difficult; I'm one of the youngest ones in my program, which makes me feel inexperienced and intellectually lightweight; I'm surrounded by PhD candidates and unsure about my work, which adds to the feeling that I'm a lightweight; I moved from a large city to a small town, and now winter is closing in; I have lots of new friends and colleagues who I enjoy spending time with at work but who have little free time outside of school and family life; and, oh yeah, there's the shock of realizing that hey! academia is just like any other workplace, and even brilliant people are jerks and have personal problems and get involved in low-stakes academic politics.
So, MeFites who've survived grad school, how did you organize your life and deal with any, or all, of these problems?
I'm not thinking about quitting (yet), but I also don't want to find myself thinking every day that it's only two more years until I can leave here/move in with S.O./work in my field/etc.