Fordham GSAS: Grad. Life: Can You Get Senioritis in Grad. School?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Can You Get Senioritis in Grad. School?

A friend of mine recently told me she thinks she's developed what she termed "grad. school senioritis."

But can you get senioritis after you've gotten your undergrad. degree?

If you're motivated enough to get into graduate school in the first place (which you most likely are, since you're reading this blog), then you probably wouldn't expect to have problems with staying motivated once you're in grad. school. Right?

But stuff happens, people. Sometimes life gets overwhelming. Sometimes things aren't what you expected.

And, in case you thought you were alone, a great post I found on gradshare (a site I only recently discovered, and that you should all check out) proves that you are definitely in good company. In this post, Dora Farkas, PhD, Founder of PhDNet, lists five things you can do to stay motivated in graduate school (which are all much more fleshed out in her post):

1. Don't say you "have to." Say you "choose/want to" (after all, you want to be in grad. school, don't you?).
2. Don't think "I must finish." Think "When can I start?"
3. When you think something is too big to handle, break it up into small and attainable steps so you can feel accomplished.
4. Realize you are not perfect, and neither is anyone else (yes, even in grad. school). You are human.
5. Change your mantra from "I don't have time to play" to "I must take time to play."

Dora says her favorite is #3. Personally, #4 and #5 were the toughest for me to get over. I am a type-A nutter (as Hermione Granger might say), and it took me a long time to realize that all I can do is do my best, and that is all anyone can do. Balancing work and play was also really rough. If you ask most of my friends, they'll probably tell you they think I still don't have it down. But I've gotten better. I realize I have to take breaks or I'm not as productive (though I still have a problem with always trying to take "productive breaks," like reading for one subject as a break from another, or cleaning my bathroom and then going right back to writing a paper). And I realize that sometimes I just need a few days off (though, in order for my guilty conscience to allow this, I have to work ahead like a maniac for three days in advance so I can actually relax during those days off instead of having a panic attack). it's probably pretty obvious to everyone that I have not mastered #5 yet. But even just recognizing that you have more control than you think (if you take the advice of this list) will probably help you prevent burning out (it's helped me so far, anyway...*knock on wood*).

What item on the list was hardest for you to get over? Is anyone else still struggling with one of these concepts? What else should be on the list?

I'd love to hear some other thoughts!


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