What advice would you give to someone entering graduate school?
My biggest piece of advice to someone entering graduate school would be not to procrastinate on any of the assignments or research projects. Speaking from experience, I know that sometimes we get caught up with other things in life. But don't forget that education comes first and everything else should come second. Otherwise there is no point in going to grad school. The courses are much harder and the professors expect a lot more out of the student. So just keep working on the materials and get them done. If one assignment is done, move along to the next.
Good point made. Also, study a subject which is in demand. It is totally futile to study a subject which will pay no socioeconomic dividends.
Yes, I agree. To study a dead or dying subject where you won't make any money after you graduate is not worth the time, effort, or money .
Drink lots and lots of coffee because you will work like you have never worked before and keep hours which are unGodly!! Also get a friend to proof and edit all your work. On average the typical grad student writes 200 pages publishable text each semester. Keep a lot if ink cartridges around.
I taught grad school so no original thoughts and definitely no whining. If you can not take it quit but do not become so self absorbed and needy that your are dreaded.
Also you have a syllabus. Stay ahead on your work, research, studying and paper writing. Since you know what is coming there is no reason to ever fall behind!!
I would suggest that a person look carefully at the job market and choose an area that has a better chance of getting a job afterwards. Know your chances for a job before you start. Choose your main advisor carefully also. Ask other graduate students about their experiences and find out what sort of projects they worked on (read them if possilbe) and also what sort of jobs they got after graduating. While going to graduate school can be something you do for your own joy in learning, it is also often something that is so grueling that you lose the joy in your subject (at least temporarily), so I think you need to know why you are going to grad school. One final thought. If your graduate school does not offer you financial support for a Ph.D., you probably need to know you are not in the top of your group and your chances of employment later are probably slim. That doesn't apply to law, business or medical school, but it does apply to many Ph.D. programs such as English, History or Political Science. I've known some people who thought that getting into a Ph.D. program meant that they were good enough to get a job later as a tenure track professor, only to find out that they could not get that sort of job. So look into the employment after your degree and be realistic about your chances for that dream job. I've written some Hubs about getting into graduate school, recommendations and tenure track jobs.
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