10 Things Every Grad Student Should Know


I was inspired by Logan Can when I read her post about organization tips for college students. It’s that time of year again, school will be starting soon –some will be going back for their next semester and some will be starting a new program (like me!). I am starting my second masters, and I can say it is only God because I originally was only going for a one year certificate program. I am doing things differently this time around. I HAVE to..because I made a lot of mistakes when I was working on my MSW. I was in school full time, working part time, had a 20 hour per week internship, was planning a wedding my second year…I was doing way too much. And my husband made me promise, this time around to take care of myself so that’s where I’ll start:

  1. Take care of yourself! You are the most important person in your life! Carve out a day, a couple hours, whatever you need to so that you aren’t deliriously going through life day to day. If not, you have many meltdowns–trust me I know
  2. You won’t read everything that you are assigned–It’s just not possible. I’m not saying don’t read your textbooks, because they’re important, but you have to find a way to read the proper amount that is suitable to be able to participate in class, write papers, and stay sane.
  3. Don’t start your papers the weekend before they are due. Look over your syllabus and do your best to start papers early so that you aren’t cramming
  4. Eat a balanced diet. You would be surprised at how much eating a nutritious diet can do for your energy and focus.
  5. NEVER buy your textbooks full price –Hopefully you learned this in college, so I won’t say much more. Amazon and half.com are my go to websites
  6. Don’t be so quick to sell your textbooks. You may actually need them in your career
  7. If you are working, tell your job that you are in school. You would be surprised how understanding or supportive they (may) be.  There may even be incentives or a tuition reimbursement program at your job. Talk to your supervisor and Human Resources.
  8. Make friends. A lot of programs have cohorts–a group of people you will be in your entire grad program with. These are your colleagues! It’s amazing how a group of people can become so close to one another in a short time. Your classmates are your support system. You are not alone in this–if you chose not to be!
  9. Get to know your professors–not just so that if something comes up they may be a little more lenient, but because they are your colleagues too! You can gain so much from them outside of the classroom. When the time is right, they will be available to write recommendation letters, be references, and vouch for you on your next steps in life.
  10. Don’t be discouraged!! Grad school is tough. You will have highs and lows but there is an end to the beginning. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel! Grind now, shine later!!Fatima custom signature

10 thoughts on “10 Things Every Grad Student Should Know

  1. Stephanie Cox says:

    I’m going to share this list with my brother who starts grad school in Jan. I worry about him and all the stress he will be under but it’s nice to have a list to say, hey little bro, consider this, this and this.

  2. Mary says:

    These are great tips that were definitely well though through. I hope I never have to go through grad school; I just don’t think I could make it another 2 years in school. However, I admire anybody that goes through it, especially straight from undergrad.

  3. Tiffany @DaydreamingRealist says:

    This is a great list! I love lists! I really like the one about keeping your text books, because I did that and I use them from time-to-time. It’s important to keep references around because your brain can only hold so much. Great advice A-Z 🙂

  4. GiGi Eats Celebrities says:

    I’m so excited – 2 more weeks of grad school and I am done! The one thing about my grad school that was different though was that it was 100% ON LINE! I am enrolled at Tufts University right now, which is in Boston but I can do it from the comfort of my own home in Los Angeles! I LOVE technology!! 🙂

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