Lessons From Graduate School

I have a little over four weeks left of school, and then I will be halfway through my graduate degree program. (Sidenote: it’s a three-year program, I’ve been going two years in, and I still have three years left. That’s how it’s worked out with balancing my school on top of my family schedule. And it’s okay. I”m making up for getting through my undergraduate degree in three years.)

I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned how to make fancy graphics pretty quickly. Example:

Picture 1-2

I’ve also learned how to meet deadlines without staying up late or letting school take over my life. My tips are don’t procrastinate, and be okay with work that isn’t perfect or even the best you can do. Good enough usually is just fine. I actually had one assignment with two parts. I loved the first part, hated the second. The second one got me a better grade. My perfect is different than someone else’s and trying to spend all that time to reach that perfection level is a waste.

One of the most interesting things I learned is sometimes less instruction and guidance is better, especially when it is mirrored with high expectation. It’s super annoying: I would rather a nice rubric with all the instruction on how to get there. But sometimes without that, it forces you to try harder, motivates you to learn how to teach yourself things, and helps promote creativity. Grading rubrics don’t exist in the real world.

I’ve learned it’s important to segment my time and not let any one thing take over my life. It’s good to have a lot going on: school work, home, self-care, family responsibilities. And it’s good to sit down and just focus on one of those things instead of worrying about everything at once.

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