Intellectual Wellness: Life Lessons I Learned in Grad School

I read this article on LinkedIn the other day and it reminded me of a similar article that I wrote after I finished grad school. 2 years later and it all still rings true for me.

When people say the people that you meet in grad school are people that you will have in your life forever, they are right. But don’t be surprised if it is not people that are in your cohort. The people that I am most sad about leaving and saying goodbye are people that I have met through my GA.

Even though you are in grad school, keep your options open. I came to grad school thinking that my interests were completely centered in the “I” side and discovered that the “O” side is so much more interesting and compelling to me.

Even though you are grad school, stay involved on campus. I went through a couple leadership series my second year, and I have been able to network with an entire different group on campus and it has given more additional skills that I was not exposed to in the classroom. Especially in my field of study, this has given me that opportunity to start to practically apply the theories of leadership that I have learned in regards to leadership.

What you learn in the classroom will never compare to what you learn in a real world setting. That being said, grad school for me, was totally worth it. Because the lessons I learned in the real world were much more valuable for a number of reasons. 1.) I would have never had those opportunities had I not been in grad school. 2.) I was able to better analyze those lessons because of my additional education. 3.) Knowing theory is essentially for really being able to learn lessons and make changes.

Don’t be afraid to take a chance. I decided to move 700 miles away from home for grad school. But taking a chance could be in what you major in, where you go to school, what you research, etc. Just remember to have an open mind but guard yourself at the same time.

Having a support system may be the most underestimated factor in grad school. No where on the grad school application does it say anything about how strong is your support system. But trust me, I would have never made it through anything without my support system. Granted some of the things I went through during my time at grad school are not traditionally things that people go through, but I can guarantee you that every grad student has been stressed out.

Learn how to manage your time. If there is one thing I wish I would have learned before grad school, it is how to manage my time. I didn’t find a system that worked for me until my 2nd semester of my first year, but once I figured it out, my stress drastically decreased.

If you are moving far away for grad school, visit the place first. Before I accepted my offer to grad school, I went to all the grad schools that I was accepted to and did a campus visit. When I came to the university I am at now, it was at the bottom of my list. I thought that this was the last place I would go. It doesn’t seem that prestigious, it is not in a geographically great place…the other school seemed much better on paper. But when I visited both schools, I really realized that the “less prestigious” institution was definitely where I needed to be. The professors were amazing and so helpful just during that one campus visit.

Be willing to stand by decisions that you made or own up to a mistake you made. Don’t be a flake. (That’s really just a life lesson for everyone.)

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