How to Make the Most out of Your Graduate School Experience
September 4, 2018
Graduate school is a unique experience and though it’s cliché, it really is what you make of it. Whether you’re attending an in-person program, low-residency program, or completely online program, it’s important to make the most of it, no matter what that might look like for you. Some people will join all the graduate student groups and throw themselves into departmental events, while others will pick and choose, find a smaller niche, and go from there. The trick is to find out what’s important to you, and create an experience that will allow you to not just succeed, but thrive.
A trusted, experienced editor, along with a methodologist or statistician, can be invaluable to your graduate school experience, especially once you start working on your dissertation. Our team of editors and statisticians can help you through the process and help you take your work to the next level.
Here are five tips for making the most of your time in graduate school:
- Create a weekly schedule. No matter what kind of program you’re in, a schedule will be important, especially if you have job or family obligations on top of your schoolwork. In a low-residency or online program, it’s also really important, since you won’t have specific class meeting times or meetings with professors or advisers. It can be helpful to block off time each week to go over the lesson, do the assigned readings and assignments, study periods, and any miscellany that needs to be done – ie, administrative issues, emailing classmates or professors, and so forth. Treating school like a job, with deadlines and obligations, can help you stay on track, especially in programs that are more self-directed.
- Find (or create!) a Facebook group with classmates or cohort members. Many low-residency or online-only programs have Facebook groups for each cohort or program, in order to create a focused community. In these groups, you can share research articles, ask questions about research or assignments, commiserate about your research or writing progress, and support each other during difficult times.
- Network. We know, we know – it’s not easy, and it can feel a bit disingenuous at times. Try to think of networking as simply meeting others in your field and getting to know them and their work, including your classmates and those ahead of you in the program. Go to departmental events and try to go to conferences, and when you’re an alum, go to occasional alumni events.
- Accept that there will be sacrifices. No matter what kind of program you’re in, there will be things you’ll have to give up, there’s no doubt about that. Whether it’s a vacation, cutting costs in your budget, or rearranging time and schedules, graduate school requires commitment and sacrifice. Just know it will be worth it in the end, and keep your eye on the prize.
- Get to know your advisor, and if possible, find a mentor. Checking in with your advisor regularly, even if it’s once or twice a semester, can be so important, especially if you’re starting to flounder. Your advisor can help you develop a plan of action with studying and organizing your dissertation course, and also make sure you’re on track to graduate. They can point you to resources at the school and even outside of the school or program, and a mentor be an additional support emotionally and professionally. Check out our post here on finding a mentor while in graduate school.
Here at Dissertation Editor, we know what graduate school is like. Our entire staff, from project managers to editors and statisticians, to the CEO, has gone through graduate school and written their own theses and/or dissertations. Our expertise enables us to assist you throughout your research and writing process. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help!