Over the summer I was awaiting my acceptance letter to my dream school. It was a looooonnnggg few months of waiting for the decision. When I got the email that I was admitted to the program – with a full scholarship (!!!!!) – I may have shed a few tears.
Starting the program was a really exciting time in my life, but came with a some challenges. Especially with the state of the world, school looked a lot different this semester. Starting graduate school via zoom is a little bit harder than I thought.
I was so excited to begin my program, but I got overwhelmed very quickly. I’m sharing some tips with you that will help your transition into grad school!
1. Get to know everyone in your classes
Even though this is a little bit difficult right now via zoom try your best to connect with people in your classes.
- Make connections for the future: People in your classes are going to be the ones in your field in the future. Get to know everyone so you can connect and network with them. A lot of students in grad school are already working so if you went from undergrad to grad school (like myself) this is a great way to find out companies in your field that might be hiring. Networking with people in your classes might get you a job in the future!
- Form study groups: Connecting with people in your class is a good way to form study groups. Grad school isn’t easy. It was a big change form undergrad so having study groups makes assignments and studying a lot easier.
- Make friends: Connect with people to make friends! The people in your program are going through the same things as you. Having people to talk to can help ease stress or just be fun to have friends with the same interests.
2. Sign up for office hours with your professors
Again, this one is challenging if you are completely online this year, but reach out and see if you can set up a meeting via zoom.
Your professors are there for you to help you achieve your goals in class and in life. They can provide you with resources for any problems you might have.
I was very overwhelmed in the beginning of the semester. It was a difficult adjustment at first. I definitely had imposter syndrome so I reached out to one of my professors. She helped ease my stress about everything and reassured me that I’m in this program for a reason. Throughout the semester she would check in to see how I was doing.
If I didn’t do this I would have just struggled silently, but I didn’t have to.
3. Get assignments done ahead of time
Do not procrastinate!! This goes for everything in life, but especially in grad school. Please don’t procrastinate your assignments!
Deadlines sneak up on you, they change, and assignments can be added. It’s so important to stay ahead of your work.
Here are some ways to help stop procrastination:
- Write a to do list at night for the next day. Knowing what you have to get done the next day will help you not stall the process of getting started in the morning.
- Quit trying to be perfect. Perfection will hinder any progress. If you keep trying to be perfect nothing will get done.
- Take small steps. Breaking down a large project into smaller tasks makes it seem more manageable so you’ll actually get it done.
4. Review your notes every week
I have each class once a week so for a couple hours before I like to review notes from the previous week. This helps me remember everything a lot better. I also take part in discussions more because I know what’s going on – lol.
This will also help when it comes time for finals. You don’t want to have to cram for them.
5. Keep up to date with news in your field
A good tip is to keep up to date with things going on in the industry you are studying. I’m studying to get my masters in public administration so I keep up with things going on in local government and non-profits in my area.
It’s good to do this so you can have conversations with people about these things. Being informed is a great way to keep in the loop with things going on and people in your field.