9 Things I Learned From My First Year in Grad School!

I can't believe summer is almost over, and very soon I will be starting my second year (and last for now) of graduate school! It still feels like I just began this journey. It is weird to think that I am almost done! Since I already have three semesters of grad school under my belt, I wanted to share with you 9 things that I learned in my first year of studying in a master's program.

1) You will live off of coffee.
This is something that I learned very quickly. Since a number of assignments starting the first week were absolutely insane, I had no time to cook, so coffee was my food and drink that helped me stay awake. Not really healthy, I know! This habit is something I need to work on!

2) You need to be social and talk a lot during classes.
The usual number of students in each class was between 6 and 12, so the expectation was that everyone HAD to participate in discussions to pass the class. I am such an antisocial person sometimes, especially when I do not feel comfortable around some people. I also need a minute to think about an answer before I raise my hand and give my opinion. So sometimes I found myself really struggling to participate! If you are shy like me, you will have plenty of practice to speak up! My advice is to not hold back and to get out of your comfort zone, which is staying silent! Show everyone that your ideas are worth listening to! 

3) You can never finish all the reading assignments.
Oh my God! The number of reading assignments was crazy! Every week I had to read at least 4 chapters in each class. That is a lot of pages to read, and it is absolutely impossible to finish because of other more important assignments. I learned to prioritize what was necessary to read to participate in class, and what readings I could catch up on later (which I never really did! So bad!).

4) You need to know how to write.
It is so important to know how to write professionally according to the career you are studying for. In the counseling field, I have to memorize the APA format, which is a pain in the butt! Grammar is also very important! English is not my first language, so I do make grammar mistakes. I found an amazing resource that I use to proofread my essays. It is called Grammarly. It is a great and helpful tool, and I recommend you check it out if you struggle with writing.

5) Do not procrastinate if you can't deal with pressure.
I found that if I procrastinate and begin writing a 20-page paper a day before it is due, I will be miserable and stressed out! I hate such pressure, and I cannot perform well under it! I learned that it is important to determine how much time I will need for each assignment, and begin working on them as early as possible.

6) Self-care is very important!
This is extremely necessary if you want to succeed in grad school, and if you want to avoid getting burned-out. At the beginning of my first semester, I completely forgot about self-care, and attempted to only do work! It was awful! Thank God, I was reminded by my professors how important it is to take care of my body and mind. SImply taking a hot bath and listening to music is a great way to relax!

7) Planning and being organized is key!
I learned that professors in grad school are not babysitters, and if I miss an assignment deadline, I will not get a good grade. This is why it is so imperative to get a schedule book, and put all of the assignment deadlines on the calendar. Every week, I wrote a list of things that had to be done that week, and put in reminders of important assignments that were coming up. Be organized and stay on top of everything, and you will succeed in grad school!

8) Bye-bye, social life!
Yes, your social life will suffer! I spent so much time on homework, and I did not see my friends for weeks or even months at a time. This is something that you have to expect if your priority is your future career. But do not forget about your friends because they are also important! :)

9) You will survive!
The first semester was brutal, and I thought I would not make it, but I did! The third semester, which was summer semester, was a piece of cake, even though the number of assignments was trippled! Once you determine your routine, get your priorities straight, you will be just fine! :)

I hope this post was interesting and somewhat helpful to you! Tell me about your experiences in grad school, or your expectations for it if you are planning on going to grad school!

Thanks for stopping by, and I will see you in my next post!