Been there, done that.

After six years of grad school, there are a few things I've picked up from personal experience and a whole lot of time talking with other female grad students (AKA procrastinating). I've always wished there had been some kind of handbook about how to handle the whole world of graduate school, so I figured I'd start a friendly place to discuss what it's like to be female in grad school, and maybe pass on some wisdom too!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Random Observations from Grad School Life

In the spirit of random lists, I started thinking about some of the things I've noticed during the past six years. (Some of these are repeats from another earlier list posted elsewhere, so, um, yeah. I don't know why I'm pointing out this caveat, but oh well.) Please chime in with any to add!

1.    TA'ing sucks more time and energy than a black hole, with the exception of actually teaching, which is a black hole and there's no escaping (at least until grades are submitted).
2.    Sometimes there's a real reason why some people end up in academia, and it's not always a good one.
3.    Research institutions are very, very different from teaching institutions.
4.    Not all advisers are created equal. See #2. Some rock. Some should never emerge from their offices.
5.    Tuition costs should factor in blood, sweat, tears, and the number of times I have sworn at inanimate objects and myself.
6.    It is possible to live on ramen consistently. It will result in scurvy. Multi-vitamins help.
7.    Having children in grad school requires super-powers, namely the ability to go without sleep for weeks at a time. I do not have this power, and really, I don't want it. I like to sleep, and if I'm going to get a super-power of any kind, it damn well better be flying.
8.    On-campus housing will smell bad. Always. No amount of industrial-strength febreeze will get rid of it.
9.    An apartment with a washer, dryer, and dishwasher can make life worth living.
10. Mindless fun is occasionally the only way that I can remember that there is a life beyond grad school.
11. Seeing your name on your first journal article almost makes up for the hell it was formatting, learning how to submit it, and writing the dang thing to start with. Almost.
12. Picturing people naked in order to feel more comfortable speaking in front of them is a terrible idea. Honestly, who came up with this??
13. Grading tests/papers/assignments is fun for about the first two minutes, the first time you do it. Then the power-trip fades when you realize how dumb the majority of people in college are.
14. Sometimes running away does help.
15. Going to grad school close to family can be good. And bad.
16. I officially worship Pepsi. Other caffeinated beverages are also welcome.
17. Freshmen will always be clueless. The charm of this trait wears off fast, so enjoy it while it lasts.
18. Those few students who listen, understand, and are enthusiastic about my classes make all the difference in the world.
19. Holding office hours on a Friday will ensure that you never have to see anyone.
20. Bribes work, especially when disguised as something else.
21. The amount of highlighting I do in an article is inversely related to how interesting the article is.
22. Sometimes I actually wish I could get sick, just to have an excuse not to work. (*knock on wood*)
23. Poverty sucks.
24. Waking up one morning and realizing my twenties are ostensibly over, and having a really hard time remembering the majority of the last decade, is really depressing.
25. Getting “hooded” when graduating just sounds wrong.


  1. Ah Meradeth. I love your random observations. They are all true.

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