Somewhere in my college years when I was getting my undergrad degree, before it was sadly over, I decided that I wanted to continue my education and go to graduate school. I, along with my classmates who were also applying, had somewhat of the same reasons for doing so. We all felt like we needed to continue on with higher education. “The Master’s is the new Bachelor’s” is a saying that I have been hearing a lot lately.
From a young age, I was always taught that in life as you continue to grow up the next step in your life is always harder. In middle school, everyone always says high school is going to be harder (same social pressure and harder academics), and in high school , everyone always says that college is much harder, because it’s your first stage of actually “being on your own”.
While all of that may be true, none of it compares to what happens when the fun of college ends! My friends and I were not prepared for how hard life really was going to be after graduation whether starting a full time job or continuing your education.
When I applied to the graduate program at my college, I had no idea what to really expect, but now that I just started my second section of classes, I have a better understanding, and I’m praying every day that this decision will pay off in the end.
If graduate school is the direction you want to take after college here are some things you have to expect:
-Do not think it is going to be anything like undergrad, because it definitely is not; clear your calendar and drop your social life. (I think this is the first time in my that my academic career that my boyfriend has told me that he can see it’s a lot of work, that it’s hard and that I can get through it!) Use your friends as motivation.
-Grad school programs vary, but if your program is anything like mine, it’s better to just take 2 classes at a time. Anything more you will not be able to get all of the work done or actually be able to comprehend it.
-No tests, no finals and a little bit of group work! You might think it’s a good thing, but with all the reading and papers you have to do it definitely evens itself out.
-If you don’t like reading, you are in for a biggest surprise. The biggest thing that I have realized in grad school is that the work load is 5x what it with in a shorter amount of time to complete it. Reading, literality everything is reading.
-Not only is there an extreme amount of reading but you have to actually do it! If your classes are anything like mine, that reading is what makes up your class discussions, and your opinion here does matter for your grade, among other things.
Graduate school is definitely an uphill battle, but if this is what you want, you can do it! You have gotten this far. Just keep swimming. Take advantage of this opportunity you have to learn, and try new things even if they scare you. Be confident, challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone!