Today was my official second day of grad school!
It’s funny. When I first learned that students typically take 3 courses per quarter I thought to myself “Just 3??!! I’ll have tons of free time, then!” See, my undergrad university squeezed a 4 year curriculum into three years in an effort to fit in the American education system into the German undergrad schedule. My normal semester class load was of 7 to 9 classes. My last semester I only took 6 and I felt like I was on holiday. You can understand why I thought 3 grad classes would be a breeze. But… you know what they say about assuming? I sure made an insert-synonym-for-donkey-that-is-way-inappropriate-in-a-proper-school-blog-here out of myself. This might sound stupid but grad school courses are not undergrad courses. The amount of reading involved grew exponentially. And trust me, you want to do the readings. Otherwise, you might as well not show up at all because nobody wants to hear people trying to squirm their way through a class without knowing the basics. There are papers to be written; little, baby papers AND big scary papers. Projects. Exams. More papers.
It is all doable, don’t get me wrong. I’m actually quite excited to start writing (Nerd alert, nerd alert!) I just know that it will involve great organizational powers to keep everything running smoothly. So, if I can give you one academic piece of advice for before you begin classes or for that first week it’s this:
Get a move on with your readings before classes start!! If you can make some progress with your readings you’ll have more time to eat, sleep, go out, work out and… work on other things. It’s unbelievable how fast grad school has picked up speed!
Oh, my roommie asks me to say something else that might be useful for when you start grad school: changing courses during your first week is totally acceptable! Sometimes you come to grad school with a super planned course schedule in your head. You’ve checked all the quarter schedules for at least your first year and you know which ones you want to take. Then you hear more about one class from some other students or you talk to professors or you read the syllabus and you think: “Huh? What was I thinking? That’s not for me.” And that’s ok!
Better get back to my books now