We’ve all had our successes and failures in life, and grad school is no exception. Here are some of the successes I had in grad school. In my last post, I shared with you some regrets I had, but here I’ll share with you my high notes in grad school. If you do some of these things, maybe you can have an easier time in grad school, too.

1. Had a hobby

In grad school you eat, sleep, and breathe your content area. So it was nice to go home, relax, work on my knitting, go to my husband’s football games that he coached, or go to Bible study. Anything to get my brain off of psychology, journal articles, and p values was a relief.

2. Kept on top of deadlines
I’m so glad I did this, because my advisor was not known for getting students through in a timely manner. I had to be spot-on the deadlines, harassing my advisor every step of the way. It was a good thing, too, because I secured my 5th year funding 7 days before the deadline. I also received email confirmation from my dean that my dissertation was approved just 12 hours before my water broke when I was pregnant. So I am definitely glad that I stayed on top of deadlines!

3. Gave my 100% best.
When it came to running a study that I knew was going to turn into nothing, I still gave it my 100% best. I’m glad I did this, because it demonstrated that I was consistent. Faculty members, students, and staff appreciated my consistency. Also, it confirmed to me that I had integrity. Sometimes I questioned myself. I wondered, “Why should I go through all this effort when it’s going to be for nothing?” But I kept at it, and gave it my best. In the end, I can say that I never wimped out. Maybe for you, it may be different. But for me, I’m glad I gave everything my best.

4. Worked on projects with other faculty
Just like with financial investing, it’s good to diversify your research projects in graduate school. Don’t put all your eggs in one faculty member’s basket. I’m glad that I branched out and collaborated with other faculty members. Not only did it make it easy for them to write me a letter of recommendation, but I had other projects to explore than just the ones I was working on with my advisor.

5. Got enough sleep
Sometimes I would feel guilty about sleeping in, but I’m glad I did. Getting enough sleep is crucial for your brain to function properly. And in case you didn’t already know, you really need your brain in grad school. So I don’t regret taking the extra time to sleep. I did pull some all-nighters, but it was the exception rather than the norm.


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