5 Mistakes Graduate Students Make

5 Mistakes Graduate Students Make

December 3, 2019 7 By Stanley Isaacs


Hey everyone, this is Self Made Millennial, I’m
Madeline Mann. And today we’re going to talk about 5 mistakes that graduate
students make while they’re still in their grad programs. You’re spending a
lot of time, a lot of sweet money, on this graduate program, so I’m here to make
sure that you are carpe-ing the diem. Also I’m talking in general about grad
programs, your mileage may vary, so if my tips are not necessarily exactly in line
with your grad program, then do leave some information in the comments so we
can all learn from it. The first mistake that graduate students make is not
milking being a student. Now I’m not talking about milking cows,
I’m talking about milking opportunities. People love to help students. They also
know that you’re super broke, so you can write to conferences and say, “Hey I’m a
student, would I be able to get into the conference at a student discount?” Or even
“Hey can I get in for free?” Embrace that you’re broke AF and just ask for cool
discounts that will help your professional development.
Additionally, asking for informational interviews when you’re a student is so
much easier than once you’re out of school because people want to sit down
with students tell them about their career, help them. And so really use that
to your advantage. And if you’re not that familiar with informational interviews
or you want to know exactly how to reach out to people, how to do them, this will
seriously escalate your career to new levels. I have a video that I will link in
the description of how to have exceptional informational interviews.
So check that out. Make it your goal to do at least one informational interview
a week. The second mistake that grad students make is not working while
they’re in school. While your degree might help you with
chances of getting hired, really companies want to see real-world
experience. So if you put your career on hold to go to graduate school, that might
actually stagnate it. But if you are working at least part-time while you’re
going to school, that can really skyrocket your trajectory. Being in grad
school is such an amazing gateway to get into a lot of these internships at your
dream companies. A lot of times they will pay you diddly squat. I had two different
internships while I was in grad school one of them paid me $18 an hour and the
other paid me $10 an hour. This was not a time to get all up in my ego and all
about my worth. I was there to learn and get my foot in the door and by golly, I
did. And then once you graduate and become a civilian like the rest of us,
those companies often no longer want to hire you for that same internship. Those
are really reserved for these students. If you’re applying to internships
there’s a video you have to watch. It’s about the 5 different types of
internship applicants. I went through hundreds of resumes and synthesized the
different approaches that people took and what approaches works the best, so
check that out, I will link it in the description. Third mistake that grad
students make is failing to build relationships. When you’re paying tuition to these big
fancy schools, part of what you’re paying for is the network. Make it a point to
really get to know your classmates, your professors. When there’s a mixer, make
sure you show up, even though you’re tired and you don’t want to sit in
traffic, just do it. When people ask me, should I go to grad school? One of the
things I tell them is that grad school is for participators. That means, if you
just want to show up to class, get your degree, and bounce, you’re really
missing out on a lot of the social capital that you get from enrolling in a
program where they bring together like-minded people who are motivated
like you. So build those relationships and keep a running list of all their
emails so that once you graduate, send them emails every 6 to 12 months
updating them on how your career is going. They seriously will enjoy reading
this, I swear, and it’s just a great way to keep that rapport going. The fourth
mistake that grad students make is having an undergrad mentality. What I mean is, in undergrad, you skip
some classes, you would calculate how many questions you have to get right on
the next test in order to just barely pass, and you’re kind of strategic about
cramming, and all this stuff. And that’s really not the way grad school is. Grad
school is often less focused on grades, but it’s all about your personal journey.
So it’s really, you get out what you put into it. Make sure that you go all in,
doing all the readings, being in all the discussions. Because really the only
person who loses out in that situation is you. And the fifth mistake that grad
students make is not documenting enough. I would say one of my biggest regrets in
grad school is that they gave me so many resources and while we weren’t really
tested on a lot of it, I could have spent more time really utilizing those
resources and document all the information they were giving me. I’ll give
you an example. So part of my program was learning how to build training
facilitations for companies. So they would bring in facilitators and they
would do a facilitation with us. And now at my job, I build corporate
training facilitations, and I think about, “Oh yeah we did a facilitation back in
grad school, maybe I should reference those notes.” I look at the notes and
they’re there so sparse. I could have done a way better job of not just
writing the main ideas of the facilitation, but all little transitions
and the examples they use that would be so helpful to me now. Have a good eye
about things that might not be relevant today, but you could use in the future.
Take photos of the slides that your professors put up, make screen caps of
different resources, just capture all the information you can. Well you graduates,
you’re going to do amazing, I believe in you. And if you believe in me, please hit a
“like” on this video as well as subscribe if you’re new to this channel. Thank you
so much everyone, Wi-Fi high-five!