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Grad School: Sailing or Failing?

Grad School

So… orientation was on Monday for my graduate program down here in Athens, Georgia. It started off with me fanning myself like a crazy person with the black folder they handed me at the door. (So far I’ve only gotten black folders at all the orientations I’ve been to. Obviously to match my black heart. The university must know. >.> <.< >.>) But so far, I haven’t died from the excessive, never-ending stream of humidity in this state. And I mean never-ending.

Side Note: In the North, it gets humid, it rains, the humidity leaves. In the South, it gets humid, it rains, it stays humid, it rains some more, it STILL stays humid. -.-

Orientation

Anyway, orientation. So, we sat in cute little desks (like adorable third-graders but without the energy because no one brought us coffee) and were talked at about the program and what was expected of us and how things were going to go.

Then they were like: ‘and you should be in the lab 30 hours a week.’ I was all ‘o.O?! The acceptance letter said 16‘, but okay. Okay. I can do this. I want to work in the lab. I want to gain experience and knowledge and it’s a research PhD, after all. It makes sense. *nods with understanding*

Classes

Then we signed for up classes, which I presumed were going to be like undergraduate classes. You know, three classes on MWF. Four on TT or something like that…. No.

I have one class on Monday, two on Tuesday, aaaand… nothing. That’s it! Three classes! 0.0 Now, I understand why we have to be in the lab 30 hours a week and I’m HAPPY we’re supposed to be in the lab that long because otherwise I’d go INSANE with all the spare time!

Lab Rotations

One of the important parts of a research degree is… well… research, which means I need a lab. But I want to pick a lab I’m interested in, with a professor whom I get along with and one which can fund me during my education(for the next 4-6 years. >.>) In order to pick a lab, we have 3 six-week lab rotations with professors of our choosing. My first rotation started on Thursday.

And I died.

It’s been… 3 years since I’ve worked in a lab, much less had a genetics class. As a result, I was so lost and mind-boggled by half the stuff my professor was telling me about the possible projects I could do during my six-week rotation.

I felt like the stupidest person on earth. There’s no way the other grad students could’ve felt this way and it really ate away at my self-esteem. So, I opted to leave early for the day and get some serious reading and research done to prepare for Friday.

Guess what. It worked! I printed off and read some articles. I brushed up on terminology I haven’t used in years and on Friday I was all set to go. Best part, we did some bench work. I got to extract RNA and DNA, similar to what I’ve done in the past and it really helped me to relax. But it’s only the first two days. We’ll have to play it by ear to see if this is the lab I want to spend the next 4-6 years of my life in.

College Life

Party? Drink? Social… life? What are those? o.O Ha! I’m just kidding. Well, kind of. I had opted out of going out to the social functions around the university for most of the week because I am still trying to get my life together (literally). However, I found that spending a night out with friends at a brewery and sharing a few laughs, is a major stress-reliever. This was another reason I was prepared for Friday: I basically detoxed my anxiety.

Now, I can’t say whether I’ll have the time (or money >.>) to go out consistently, but once in awhile is never a bad thing. Everyone needs a chance to step back and let their brain recoop. And I’m happy to say I already found friends to do this with. (Y’all don’t even realize how big of a deal having ‘friends’ is for me. 0.0)

Sailing… or Failing?

It’s still early, but so far, I’m alive. I’m sweating after two minutes outside a building. I have all of three pieces of food in my fridge(because I’m a minimalist when I live alone). I managed to cook (and not burn down my apartment). I have a friend. I’ve been social. I’m settling into my lab. I start classes on Monday. And I have about another dozen articles to read this weekend, but… I’m alive. In other words:

I’m floating :/


What are your start of school experiences?
Tell me about it in the comments below! ^.^

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9 thoughts on “Grad School: Sailing or Failing?”

  1. I’m so glad I came across this blogpost! I’ll be started grad school next year after two years working in industry. Btw, I’m from Georgia, attended undergrad, and work here as well so I completely understand the constant fanning. Humidity is ridiculous here.

    Anyway, I am starting my PhD in Chemistry and I’m a bit nervous to start back school especially lab rotations but this calmed my nerves. I was able to transition from high school to college and from college to industry so I’m sure it’ll be alright once I get the hang of things and with some hard work 🙂

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    1. Hello! I hope your transition to graduate school has been smoothed and you’re doing well. It can always be a bit difficult adjusting to a new environment and lifestyle, but I definitely think having worked in the industry will help. Time in the working world allows us to mature and be more responsible than the kids coming straight out of undergrad. Again, hope you’re doing well, and glad my post could help!

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  2. New beginnings are fun! I had an awesome time in grad school. Actually, I might have had too much fun at times lol. Well except for my first day haha.

    On my first day of grad school I decided to check my school email address for the first time. Up until then, I’d been receiving emails to my personal email from my program so I didn’t think to check until a few hours before my first class. But lo and behold there was an email from my professor with an assignment due the first day. He wanted us to read a 40-page research article and present it to the class. Only select people were chosen the first week and of course, I was one of the lucky 4. At the time, I had a phobia of public speaking and perfectionist tendencies. I pretended to be sick with the flu and apologized for missing the first day. But it turned out another girl missed the first class too and we bonded over it. She became one of my best friends immediately. I actually later did research with the professor and we got close so all turned out well in the end. Hahhahaha good times.

    Well, good luck you most definitely had a better first day than I did haha I’m sure you’ll have a good time too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! That is an awesome story! I’m sure it was terrible, but it is pretty much the perfect example of a first day horror story and I thank you for sharing it with me. I definitely had a better day than that, but I didn’t have class on my first day either. I can imagine my first day likely would’ve gone the same way as yours if my prof was all like: ‘read 40 pages and present it.’

      Though, I have been trying to keep a good eye on my email because they specifically told us in an email to. :p Yay organized people! That’s the only reason I know that the syllabus for my classes was available online prior to class and that I have homework due today(which I finished yesterday). Phew!

      Oh! And apparently our profs emailed the students they were going to pick on ahead of time. So, those students are aware that they’ll have to answer questions, but everyone else still assumes it’ll be random. (Minus myself because I made the right friends before class started. :p)

      Liked by 1 person

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