Getting Ready for Graduate School

Getting Ready for Graduate School

October 25, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


Getting Ready for Graduate School [music throughout] “How is Graduate School Different from Your
Undergraduate Experience?” EBONY: As a graduate student, you really are
focused on your studies as a career, it’s not just something you are doing to get a
bachelor’s or to please your family. If you choose to do a graduate degree, you’re doing
it because its something that means something to you. KAITLIN: I love that I can study exactly what
I want to study and what I’m passionate about and I don’t have to worry about other course
requirements in fields that I’m not particularly interested in and I can really just focus
on what I’m interested in. ASHLEY: I went to a small, historically black
liberal arts school and it was all women. If you just look at everything I’ve just listed
compared to the University of Michigan, it’s almost polar opposite. Once I got here, I
just thought, oh wow, I have all this stuff at my fingertips I didn’t have before. PHILIP: As an undergraduate student transitioning
into graduate school at the same institution, my initial expectations were that things would
be pretty much the same although I was pleasantly surprised to find that graduate school really
allowed me to get to know the department and the institution on a much more intimate level. DASHINI: I think with undergrads, there’s
a tendency to think of teachers as passing on this information to you, whereas in graduate
school, while they are still teaching you, they are in some ways also prepping you to
be ready to be a colleague of theirs. JUSTIN: Graduate school requires a little
more balance in terms of the work you do, whereas in undergrad, you may have studying
and recreation, in graduate school, you’re going to have studying because you have classes
that are requirements for your degree, but you’re also going to have requirements for
your work, your research. KYLA: With graduate school, typically the
answers aren’t known. That’s your job. That’s why we do research. RAHUL: You have to learn your material, become
an expert of your field, but at the same time, you should start thinking about how you can
contribute to this field. ELAN: You are an independent learner completely.
You still take classes for the first couple of years, but generally, you’re researching,
you’re investigating, you’re reading on your own. You’re really in charge of your education. “What Do You Wish You Would Have Known Before
Coming to Graduate School?” KERRI: I wish I would have known how much
my life was about to change. DYLAN: I think that it would have been helpful
to have a better, more accurate expectation of what the time commitment would be for graduate
school. Graduate school is kind of an all-encompassing, all-consuming thing and it would have been
better to have a better expectation of that. RAHUL: Life in graduate school can be quite
challenging. You get a lot of assignments, and you’ll have to be up to date on all of
these assignments. You’ll have courses and at the same time, you will also have to carry
on your research work. KAITLIN: There are so many amazing, brilliant
people here. I guess that seems pretty intuitive, but I didn’t realize I would be surrounded
by so many people who were incredibly bright and incredibly knowledgeable in their field.
That makes for a great atmosphere for collaboration. ALEX: You really have the capabilities to
do whatever you want when you get here. The sky is the limit. Especially, in terms of
research, you can go talk to any professors, any students, and get involved with any project
that you find interesting. You are not limited by what you’ve done before, by what your background
is in your undergraduate experience. SARANG: One thing that I wish I knew about
graduate school before coming to Michigan was how much space or how much room you get
to do the things that you like doing. Traditionally, in an undergraduate program, you are not used
to having that sort of latitude in the things that you are interested in. So I wish I knew
I could plan these things on my own accord, of course with some input from my advisor
and my peers. TIZOC: Something that I wish I would have
known, which was very important for me, was what classes should I take in the fall. You
have to get that information from your fellow grad students because that’s going to make
your first experience here very important. “Advice for Newcomers” ALEX: One piece of advice I would give to
a prospective graduate student is to take advantage of all of the opportunities you
have here, whether academics, social, career. The University has so many resources and it’s
unfortunate to miss out on them. KERRI: I would advise all prospective students
to really do their homework. You’re not only looking at the doctoral programs or the graduate
programs themselves, but you’re looking at the University as a whole, you’re looking
at the town. Really make sure that the program feels like a good fit, the town feels like
a good fit for you. It makes a big difference in the long run. ASHLEY: If I could give one piece of advice
to a prospective graduate student, I would tell them to research, not just the faculty
that are at the school or potential faculty that they could work with, but also research
the community, research the Graduate School, the resources. This is the place where you’re
going to be living for the next 5, 6, 7, 8, who knows how many years of your life, so
you want to make sure that you can form a community. DEVAN: Reach out to potential advisors now.
E-mail them, read some of their papers, and then get a discussion going. YI: You have to make sure that you know who
you’re going to work with before you come and make sure that the person you want to
work with is the kind of person that you actually can work with. DASHINI: Remind yourself that everyone is
as nervous as you are, even if they might not look it on the outside, so to remember
that everyone is feeling excited about being at graduate school but is also nervous about
this new part of their life. KYLA: We’re all here, we’re on different tracks,
we all have different destinies, and different things that we’re set out to do and the quickest
way to failure is to compare yourself to someone else. Just make sure you’re doing your personal
best and that’s really all that matters. ELAN: Research carefully and have a good idea
of what you want to study. You’ll be studying it for a very long time, so you want to make
sure you enjoy it and you know the questions you want to ask and you just have a thirst
for knowledge. JUSTIN: It’s important to have that end goal
in mind of what you want to do with your Ph.D., why you’re getting a Ph.D. and that’s a personal
thing to have. It’s important to be able to answer that question for yourself. SARANG: Try and make the most of your time
at Michigan. There are plenty of resources, a lot of really interesting and exciting and
intelligent people to communicate with, to have good conversations with, and do something
good for the society and for yourselves. YU-HAN: Be positive, stay open-minded, and
be an enthusiastic learner. KAITLIN: Have fun and enjoy yourself. This
is the only time in your life that you really get to focus on what you’re really interested
in, what you’re really passionate about. I would say don’t waste too much time worrying
about everything, you can really just enjoy what you’re doing. It’s a great experience.