The Graduate School Marathon
Start writing a post
Student Life

The Graduate School Marathon

Make sure you stretch before you start sprinting.

18
The Graduate School Marathon
Moyan Brenn/Flickr

When I graduated from my undergraduate program, I felt ready to conquer graduate school. I finished my four-year program in three years, in part because I knew that I wanted to continue my education but did not want to be in school forever. But three years later in a two-year program, I am still a graduate student. And it’s really tough.

I know that graduate school is set up differently based on your school and program. My history M.A. program requires 30 credits, three of which come from writing a thesis. When I registered this seemed like a simple undertaking. I had taken 15 credit course loads each semester as an undergraduate, so spreading 30 over four semesters seemed completely doable. I had written an undergraduate senior thesis, but I knew that my graduate writing would need to be longer and more complex.

I took 12 credits in my first, second and third semesters, but only 27 of my credits counted toward my degree. (I was also studying Arabic and French, and these courses did not count toward my history degree) Now, these classes weren’t like the courses I took as an undergraduate. I basically read a new book each week for each class. This ultimately overloading my bookshelf, backpack and brain. I was fine with it because I usually loved what I was learning.

But this is only one part of graduate school. The other part is my work life. I didn’t work full-time like many other people in the program. Instead I worked part-time jobs and internships. One semester, I was working two-part time jobs and one internship. I was basically working a full-time schedule of about 40 hours a week, but with more obscene hours, locations and paychecks. This, by far, has been the hardest part of my graduate career. The struggle between work, school and a social life is competitive, often resulting in some disappointment.

I’m currently writing my thesis, which is taking much longer than intended. It’s like running a marathon, but I had initially expected it to be a 5K. I’m still struggling to finish it and there is no foreseeable end in sight. But at the same time, it’s a struggle that I’ve trained for. I’m using the information I learned in my classes. I’m using the languages I have studied. It’s daunting and grueling, but I’m ready to conquer.

So for any and everyone looking to go into graduate school, recognize that it is not easy. Of course, your classes will be more difficult than those in your undergraduate program. But there’s also so much more than just the academics. You need to worry more actively about jobs, internships, student loans and your future career.

You may want to rush through the program (like me), but just know that this is incredibly difficult and, frankly, at times impossible. Your program is not a sprint or a 5K. It is a full-blown marathon. But that also means you’ll feel so much better when you cross the finish line.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Ford Cars That We Love

There's a good chance we've all driven a Ford or spent a lot of time at Ford, but what are some of the best cars they've ever made?

17863
Ford Cars That We Love
Photo by Jessy Smith on Unsplash

There are arguably few bigger automakers than Ford. They are a company that shaped the auto industry as we know it today and with a solid reputation in the industry, our wide range of Ford leases has always been a popular choice among drivers.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Prose: One Call

What if you had one call, but you could not say anything other than what you were told to say? In this short excerpt, Bethany finds herself at odds with her jailers and with the one she was told to call, the one she loves. What would you do when the conversation takes a turn off script?

13813
Prose: One Call
https://unsplash.com/s/photos/jail

With each incessant numbing ring of the phone call, I could feel the betrayal coiling around me like the phone line, squeezing me tighter.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Film Review

Solid animation can't raise the newest entry in Sony's colorful monster series beyond the basics

76779
'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Film Review
Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6suJohjIvfo

I take a slight issue with the idea that Adam Sandler didn’t have a good dramatic role until ‘Uncut Gems,’ what about ‘Hotel Transylvania’ (he says semi-seriously)?’

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

Are some people just not meant to be together? Is there any way to prevent an impending divorce?

96504
4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

We've all heard the statistics. Roughly 50% of married couples eventually end up divorced. This can lead to complications, problems with your children, financial issues, and no small amount of negative emotions.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

​Pets are Good for the Soul

Millions of Americans have found comfort in pet ownership. The media has been awash with stories about a surge in pet ownership, as Americans have taken advantage of the ability of pets to improve emotional well-being.

87141
Good for the Soul
Pets are Good for the Soul

America is going through a mental health crisis. This crisis predates the global pandemic, but has in many ways been dramatically exacerbated by it. In 2019, 19.86% of adults, or 50 million Americans, reported suffering from a mental illness. The emotional toll of the pandemic has been heavy, with over half of U.S. adults saying that they have experienced stress and worry related to Covid-19. Anxieties over work, uncertainty about the future and other triggers have intensified the mental health crisis. Millions of Americans have found comfort in pet ownership. The media has been awash with stories about a surge in pet ownership, as Americans have taken advantage of the ability of pets to improve emotional well-being.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments