Ah, Grad School …

By Mona Malacane

For the first post of Spring semester, I feel the need to reflect. Perhaps it’s because it’s the beginning of another semester… Maybe it is because I’ve had to re-explain (for the 1000th time) my lengthy career path to all of my friends at home over break … Or maybe it’s because I’m rounding the corner on my sixth semester of graduate school. Regardless of the prompt, it’s good to look back and see how far you’ve come because it’s way too easy to forget. However, this is not my personal diary blog and I’m sure it would become rather boring to read my musings about how I’ve grown over these years. So instead I thought I’d write a list of general things that change from year one to year three in this big game of hurry up and wait that we call graduate school.


The emotions when reading the acceptance letter go something like, shock –> doubt/denial–> disbelieving excitement that you are actually going to grad school.

getting into grad school

That first semester is all …

enthusiasm 1

And then by the third year, it’s kinda more like …

getting into grad school 2

And you kind of have to do some of this … because trying to do everything is just not possible.

enthusiasm 2

And T 501 does a number on your confidence for a while.

501 use 1

But don’t worry, it will eventually click! (One year later.)

501 2

Statistics are kind of the same way. They start out feeling like this at times:

statistics 1

And then you learn how to cut through a lot of the gobbledegook to take away what you will actually need to do research.


You stay close to friends who aren’t in academia because they (and weekly grocery trips) kind of become your only connection to the real world. When those friends start asking about why you don’t come home as often or when you have free time next to hang out, you sarcastically reply …

free time 2

But after a while, what is free time? You should know that there is always something that you can be doing.

free timeAnd you experience these moments a minimum of twice per semester.

first semester of phdAnd the delay of gratification …

delay of gratification

… starts to drive you a little insane.

get used to disapointment

But the memory and thought of success is what keeps you pushing through.

end of the semester

As does the reason for why you went to graduate school in the first place: because you have a thirst for knowledge and learning!

nerd life




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