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Tag Archives: graduate school



Moving is never an easy thing to do – unless you hate where you’re living or hate the situation that you’re in – and I just made a difficult move. I’ve moved a couple times in the past couple years, and I’ve just moved again…three moves in three years, and the third year is only just beginning. I’ve called the beautiful city of Chicago my home for the past year and unfortunately my time here has expired for the moment. I moved to Chicago to go to graduate school, which I completed, and then my task was to find a job and stay in Chicago, which I did not achieve. While the outcome is sad, it also opens the door to other opportunities. So, with a little help from my family, I’m going home temporarily until I figure out what my next move is. I’m incredibly grateful to have family to lean on during a time like this.


There are so many things I will miss about Chicago – walking around downtown on a rainy night, the plethora of restaurants and bars to try, the uniqueness of each neighborhood, sitting in coffee shops, and perhaps most importantly, the friends I made in Chicago – by far some of the best I have ever had and will have for life. Some things I will not miss about Chicago are the stress of the big city, taking the L at rush hour, feeling unsafe while walking around at night, and how expensive everything is.


Moving allows you to put things in perspective, think about what you really want, and is a chance to hit refresh on your life – all of which are good things. So in the end, I suppose moving isn’t so bad.

Reflections on graduate school


The decision on whether or not to go to graduate school is obviously filled with apprehension and uncertainty, especially when weighing the cost and grim job market. For me, at least, it was a decision that really capitalized on an inner struggle. For those lucky enough to get into a funded PhD program, the decision might not be so hard. But for those of us who did not, and instead had to pay for a Master’s degree prior to thinking about continuing on to pursue a PhD, the struggle was very real. I finally did choose to attend a Master’s program, even though I was worried about what I would do upon its completion, as well as the cost to attend.

The struggle did not end with the decision of whether or not to go to graduate school. Once I got there, the self-doubt that arose amid my seemingly brilliant peers was overwhelming. I say seemingly brilliant because although they were, at times they certainly fluffed themselves up to appear more brilliant than they actually are, which is not atypical in academia. Even still, the caliber of students around me was more than intimidating. While this feeling of not-being-good-enough-to-be-there got better as my program progressed, and I started to find classes that I really enjoyed and felt more comfortable in, the expectation to be brilliant remained present. This kind of pressure is obviously not for everyone, and I’m not sure it’s for me. But I tried to cast it aside and focus on the interesting material of my classes.

In the end, despite the struggle of deciding on whether or not to go to graduate school, as well as the continued struggle throughout graduate school, it was definitely worth it. The exceptional, sometimes world-famous, professors you get to study with is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. What you learn from your peers, even if they are intimidating and smarter than you, will stick with you and make you strive to better yourself. The friends you make, yes I said friends, who will not only serve as a support system as you’re struggling with your thesis and term papers, but also as fun distractions from the unrealistic amount of work that is expected of you, will last you far beyond the span of your program. This was something I was not expecting to come away from grad school with at all. I thought people in grad school, especially the one I went to, were really serious, studied all the time, and didn’t have any friends. But the friends I made in my program are some of the best friends I’ve ever made, and perhaps it is because of the intense, difficult nature of grad school that we became so close.

So here’s what I’ve learned from graduate school – you might not know exactly what you’re doing there, and you might not always enjoy it because it really is difficult, but it is important to try to soak in all you can because the vigorous intellectual stimulation and plethora of opportunities to feed your brain is something you will never be surrounded by again, unless you continue on for a PhD.

To do, or not to do. That is the question…


Sometimes you just need to embrace the unknown. This is really difficult for me because I am a low-risk person who doesn’t like to do things not knowing what the outcome will be. But this is not a productive way to live one’s life. SO, I have made a bold decision to go to graduate school next year, and although I was so nervous during the decision-making process, I am very happy and relieved to have made the decision, which I believe to be the right one after all. Whew! Once you have overcome the painstaking decision-making process, you can move forward with delight and anticipation, which is exactly what I’m doing!

Sea change


I have just received my first admission to a graduate school! When I first found out, I was so excited and happy and I couldn’t sit still…I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t wait to tell my parents, who were out to dinner when I called and had to wait an hour until they got home to tell them. During that time I was so anxious and thrilled, but relieved when I finally got to tell someone! Now that a couple of days have gone by since I found out, I have felt such a mixture of emotions ranging from excited, happy, thrilled to nervous, intimidated, self-doubtful, anxious, and worried. A lot goes into deciding whether or not you attend a certain graduate school – i.e. if you actually want to go there, if the program is a good fit for you, whether or not you can handle it, what that degree will lead to, the expenses, giving up your current life for something different, etc. So I am not making any rash decisions, but I have to say that I am extremely happy to have gotten in to such a magnificent institution and am excited about what it could potentially lead to in life.