Graduate school is an entirely unique and thoroughly challenging experience. While undergraduate courses are no walk in the park, when compa...

Grad school survival tips

Graduate school is an entirely unique and thoroughly challenging experience. While undergraduate courses are no walk in the park, when compared with a Master’s, they can certainly feel that way. You have to work harder and longer than ever before, with significantly higher costs, and you won’t have any time to blow off studying to get a few extra hours of sleep. That being said, it is a choice made by thousands of students each year and a manageable one at that. To survive grad school and ace your Master’s, here are some vital tips you should know.

Switch up your approach
You may have been a strong undergraduate student, but that doesn’t mean you should assume the same will happen in grad school. Pursuing an advanced degree, like you are, won’t and shouldn’t be the same as pursuing your bachelor’s. The way you learn will be different, as will be the quality and quantity of work required from you. To get the most out of grad school, you need to understand and prepare for these differences by switching up the way you learn and work.

Connect with your classmates
Some of the greatest support you can get in grad school is from your fellow classmates. They understand what you’re going through as they’re in the exact same position that you are. That being said, they will all still have their strengths and weaknesses, which will allow you to help one another when given a particularly tricky assignment. Social media is a helpful tool for connecting with other students, but it is also incredibly beneficial to join or create a study group.

Take advantage of your professors

Where other students and advisors can’t help you, your professors surely can. Graduate school professors should be your number one contact for acing your Master’s. They have an incredibly wide and in-depth knowledge of many different subjects and areas, both inside and outside the classroom. They’ll be able to advise you on everything from study techniques to applications for internships. If you ever need help, you’ll be thankful that you keep in touch with your professors.

Clean up your online presence
These days, your digital profile matters a great deal. While most universities won’t vet your social media, there’s no denying that almost all employers do. With that in mind, graduate school is the perfect time to clean up your online presence and build up a professional image. After all, you’ll soon be looking for employment to start after you graduate. To ensure you seem employable, avoid posting anything you wouldn’t want employers to see. You can also increase your privacy.

Stay organised
With all of the work you have to do, you’re sure to collect a great deal of paperwork in your time at grad school. While some of this won’t be needed again, many of it will be, which means you can’t afford to lose anything. For this reason, most grad students benefit from creating a proper filing system. Whether this is in a cabinet or binder, be sure all of your papers are organised so that you can find them easily later. You should also make an effort to keep your work space tidy.
Invest in your tools
It’s always easier and less stressful to complete work when you have the proper tools for the job. As a Master’s student, you won’t be able to borrow these from a housemate or just make do without them. Trying to do so will only ever end in disaster, wasting precious time and potentially impacting your grades. Rather than risk your hard work, you should invest in the basic kit you need. The items required for this will differ depending on your subject, but stationary is a must.

Practice effective time management
Many grad students have other commitments besides school, such as full or part-time work and family care. Because of this, you’re going to need to find ways to balance these commitments and make time for studying. This might mean taking time away from other activities, which can be tough at first but is ultimately rewarding. You’ll also need to avoid multitasking, learn to eliminate distractions you face and work when you feel the most productive throughout the day.

Learn on the net
For those still struggling with time management and other commitments, there are other options out there. If you can’t make the commute to school each day or have a family to take care of at home, then check out the University of Exeter Online site. The courses available here offer the same Master’s qualification as any other but can be completed entirely at home. This allows you to take classes whenever you want, which means you can fit them around your home life.

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