How to Navigate Grad School

So you have decided you want to try your hand at grad school? As a semi-graduate from a Masters Degree, I feel that I finally have the expertise to tell others about my experience (and those around me).

Here are a few things you need to be aware of:

Fellow Students: They will be just as confused as you are, especially when it comes to figuring out contracts, funding, conflicting office opinions. You may have lots of friends when you start grad school, but none are like your classmates because they will all be going through the same mental breakdowns as you.

Office Environment: you are not like the other students in your department but you are also not really faculty- which can make it hard to fit in.

The Department: I am a firm believer in that you make what you get out of your supervisor and the other resources in your department. However, in some cases, some supervisors are hard to deal with. They go missing for months, they don’t offer any support, or they offer too much.

Office Admin: they are able to do a lot for you, so make sure you make friends with them.

Thesis: you won’t want to start early, but you really should because last-minute writing sucks. The page number itself causes initial shock, but following a self-made timeline is the second.

Research: it won’t mean much, despite what you think when you are first asked to choose a thesis topic.

Graduating: You will be overqualified for the job market but underqualified for any PhD program.

Well, I hope this semi-sarcastic take on graduate school didn’t completely deter you from ever wanting to seek further education and if you are starting grad school I wish you luck!