The end of this month marks the completion of my first year of grad school. Looking back, it was both everything and nothing that I expected it would be.

If you’re thinking about applying to grad school or are starting this fall, here are some words of advice I wish I had gotten before I started:

  1. Your program’s webpage is like a menu from a bad restaurant. Sometimes the courses mentioned on the website are no longer offered or haven’t been for many years. They pretty just keep them listed because the courses sound cool or make the program seem more comprehensive than it is.
  2. Your classmates are just as valuable as your advisors. You’re all in this together, and they will tell you things as they are. Thanks to a certain classmate, I realized that I had to take more classes. Without her advice, I wouldn’t be able to graduate when I expected! They will also give you advice/warning about classes and professors you have to take in the future.
  3. It sucks if you’re working at the same time. If you work and take classes, you’ve got a lot on your plate. One surprising thing about graduate school is that not all graduate classes are held in the evening. There are some held early in the morning which is weird considering that graduate students are more likely than undergraduates to be employed. If you need to take a required class that’s around the same time as your shift, you are stuck.
  4. You need to pay the bills somehowThere’s a lot of risk involved paying tuition. Grad school is very expensive, and unlike in undergrad, there is next to no financial aid for graduate students. Whatever aid (scholarships, grants, state aid)  is available will mostly likely only cover a small amount of your tuition bill. There are no guarantees that you will get a job well enough to pay back a private loan quickly.
  5. It will mess with your emotions. Grad school is very stressful (no, d’oy!), and you will have moments when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. You may have spent all night doing a project on photoshop and have it crash before you had a chance to save it (tip:always keep saving). Weird things will happen that will make your brain cry and you more emotionally vulnerable than you ever were in regular life.  Don’t even get me started about final exams.

Despite all the craziness, grad school is worth it. You gain skills, experiences, networks, and friends that make you a more well-rounded person and a more appealing job candidate (than you were before graduate school).

What advice do you wish you were told before going to graduate school?

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About krisztinai

I'm a graduate student studying communications.

6 responses »

  1. roger0206 says:

    I totally agree with NO.1. I asked a lot when I first met with chairperson why i can’t find the course that list on website. That’s NYIT comm arts should make aware of that and improve it.

  2. justystachowiak says:

    Yes grad school! It has been hell for me to be honest! Personally I agree, it’s so worth it. It’s great as far as the hands on experience you gain, the people you meet, the connections you make, etc. It’s been extremely exhausting however as far as working. My schedule is absolutely insane! I have no life, just work and school. I work on the weekends all days! I put in 35 to 40 hours just in three days. Talk about crazyyy! Then during the week I work on everything else. School my other responsibility as far as a personal assistant. I want to rip my hair out at times. Especially now! Where my job doesn’t care what I’m going through in school and the fact that I have massive papers due, exams, and presentations etc they expect me to do my job and that’s it! No excuses so I just suck it up, don’t sleep, and get stressed to the max. So I guess my advice for students would be to just take it easy with work. If you can cut back on some hours and work less because your work permits it than by all means do it! Especially if parents are going to help or if your financial situation won’t suffer. Ooh and the most important is NOT to procrastinate…something I do (just because I need that pressure to perform good) so annoying.

  3. […] 5 Pieces of Advice for Future Grad Students (comm663.wordpress.com) […]

  4. […] 5 Pieces of Advice for Future Grad Students […]

  5. […] 5 Pieces of Advice for Future Grad Students (comm663.wordpress.com) […]

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