5 tips to survive and thrive in graduate school

Liz Davis
October 9, 2015

Congratulations! Starting graduate school is an exciting chapter in your personal and professional life. Graduate school is a challenging and demanding experience but also very rewarding one. The Division of Graduate Studies has compiled our top 5 tips to help lay the foundation and prepare you for a successful career as a graduate student. 

Know how you work. Following your undergraduate studies, you should have a clear idea of what habits lead to your success. Aim to schedule classes and activities to maximize your productive hours. If you know you work better in the morning, create a schedule that allows you to utilize that energy. During busy times, time management and a consistent schedule can help ensure your studies don't suffer.

Be ready to network. Developing soft skills is equally as important as developing technical skills. Your peers and faculty in graduate school are what form the foundation of your professional network. Take time to build authentic connections through on-campus and extracurricular activities. Continue to refine your communication skills. The ability to communicate effectively is invaluable since intelligence alone likely won't land you a job after graduation.

There is more to grad school than grades. Grad school involves much more than assignments and tests. While grades are important, the ability to apply your knowledge and gain experience in the field is vital to your success as a student and professional. Take advantage of the extracurriculars available to you. You may feel like you don't have time but these activities are what build your network and knowledge. 

Maintain balance. With all of the responsibilities associated with graduate school, it can feel like the rest of your life is on the back burner. Staying motivated can be difficult at times. It happens to everybody and you can overcome it. Relaxing, social time and exercise are all important to avoiding burnout. 

Enjoy the ride. Even on the days graduate school leaves you exhausted, remind yourself of why you started. It's important to focus on making constant progress instead of getting overwhelmed by all that lies ahead of you.