Anna’s Declassified Grad School Year 1 Survival Guide

So here I am, in August, recapping the year. I was too tired to recap immediately after I finished year one of the biology master’s program at NYU and then in June/July I was caught up trying to enjoy my life while simultaneously balancing 2 jobs (1 that I’m not getting paid for but I’ll get to that later). Now that I’ve had time to process what’s going on I can fully explain my first year experience. Here are tips I have for year 1 and at the end I’ll do a summary of my year highlights.

Tip #1: Go to every free drinking and social event offered during welcome week (I know I’m wildin’ out to start). These events were where people opened up and I got to talk to other graduate students, before the stress and exams got to us and I never saw people who weren’t in my discipline. Today I’m still friends with a couple people I met at these events which gives my introverted self hope that I can do this in the upcoming years. Graduate school is hard to go through alone and I’d like to talk to people who aren’t just in my classes.

Tip #2: Take breaks, from both class and research. My self care is eating lunch in the park outside of the library when it’s warm. When it’s cold I chill with tea and youtube as a study break in the library. These things not only keep me sane but they also give me energy to get back into my studies and not burn out after 3 hours of class & 3 hours of lab back to back.

Tip #3: Plan. Make your study schedule weeks in advance. Set google alerts for every event you want to go to and every meeting you cannot miss. I never used google calendar in undergrad but it has become a godsend now. I also plan what I’ll be doing each day in my research lab in my lab notebook so I don’t walk into lab not knowing what comes next for my experiments.