Grad School, Opinions, Special Projects

Graduate student shares tips for success

Teresa Le is giving graduate school another chance. After putting her studies on hold, she now continues her education with new-found wisdom.

Le, a first-year graduate student at Long Beach State, is pursuing her master’s degree in statistics. She previously attended a graduate program at another university but left after not receiving helpful guidance. Through lots of self-navigating, Le has compiled a few tips to help others get through graduate school.

Have a schedule but be adaptable.

It’s a good idea for undergraduate students to have a routine, but it’s even more important to stay organized as a graduate student. There are many different ways of doing this such as using calendars, planners and reminders. Be flexible and remember that things can change.

Get ahead on assignments.

Grades can be much more demanding in graduate school. A good way to avoid overwhelming yourself is by being proactive and staying on top of assignments.

“I tend to do a lot of my work way beforehand, like I start right when they give me the homework. So when things change, it doesn’t affect me as much,” Le said.

If possible, try to get a job within your department.

If you decide to work during your graduate studies, Le recommends trying to find a job within your department. This allows you to further explore what you’re studying and develop a better understanding of potential careers within your chosen field.

“I realized that I wanted to get to know the people that I had not just on an academic level, but professional level,” Le said.

Have someone that keeps you motivated and accountable.

Surrounding yourself with people that keep you accountable and focused on your goals is even more important in graduate school. This can be a close friend, a family member, or a counselor that you can check-in with who supports your goals and progress. Faculty and peers are also a good resource to help you navigate your career plans.

Make time for yourself.

A big part of being successful in graduate school is avoiding burn out. Burn out, which you’re more prone to as a grad student, is when you overexert yourself to the point of exhaustion. In order to avoid this, it’s important to make time for things that aren’t school or work related. This can be anything from working out to spending time with family; anything that helps you de-stress.

“For me, it’s just small things, like walking my dog or spending the weekends with my grandma at her house,” Le said. “I [also] really enjoy journaling, it gets your thoughts out of your head so you don’t spiral.”

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