12 Tips for Surviving and Thriving in Grad School
Carol Williams-Nickelson, Ph.D, former associate executive director of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students and co-editor of Internships in Psychology: The APAGS Workbook for Writing Successful Applications and Finding the Right Fit, hears the words “surviving grad school” a lot.
But she wants prospective and current students to know that while grad school is an intense and challenging experience, it’s also a rewarding one. “Grad school was one of the best times of my life,” she said.
Grad school also is a unique experience. It’s unlike college, where classes are of chief importance, cramming the night before leads to decent grades and there’s plenty of time for play and extracurricular activities. Being a graduate student is a full-time job that requires you to sharpen a variety of skills — and learn some new ones.
Williams-Nickelson, along with Tara Kuther, Ph.D, professor at the Department of Psychology at Western Connecticut State University, share their insights on how students can better prepare themselves for the demands of grad school, overcome common obstacles and succeed!
Acing Academic & Other Demands
1. Know how you work.
There’s no doubt about it: Grad school is a lot of work. And in order to keep up with the demands, you need to know how you truly work, according to Kuther, who believes that this is key for succeeding in grad school. Learn “when you’re most productive and when you aren’t.”
2. Read smarter, not harder.
“In grad school, reading is a whole skill unto itself,” said Kuther, who’s also an About.com guide to graduate school. Like most students, it’s likely that you read beginning from end and don’t think about why you’re reading the text ‘til later, she said. But this is actually unhelpful.