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Stop Being A Good Grad Student and Become a Successful One

Dec 11, 2020

 

When you first start a new experience, there are a lot of new things going on and it may be difficult to know exactly how to act through this new experience. This is especially the case when you are first entering graduate school.

Before you enter grad school, everyone tells you how different it is from undergrad. Generally, telling you how much harder grad school is going to be!

When you first walk into the doors of your first classroom or lab, you may feel lost and like you are already behind. How do you figure out how to be successful in grad school?

What most of us will do is look around at what everyone else is doing and what they say they are doing! Then, we implement these strategies in our own life.

But, where did these students learn these strategies? You guessed it, from the people that were students before them!

Media is another place where we learn what a “good student” looks like. Through all these experiences, we have this picture of what a perfect student is. Have you ever noticed that your vision of a perfect student tends to be the exact opposite of you?

We always strive to be this unrealistic perfect student because it is what everyone else is striving for, because of course, this is the way to be successful right?

Wrong!

The best way to become successful in grad school is figuring how you are successful given your personality and tendencies.

Stop trying to look like a good graduate student! Start figuring out how you are most productive as a student!

My ideal of a perfect student was always someone who woke up early, was organized, and had planned study sessions every day.

I am someone who cannot get up early (Night Owl!).

I am organized in my work, but my work area is always a complete mess!

I am a binge worker. I will do a ton of work in one sitting and then not do work until it piles up again.

My natural state goes against the majority of what every person tells you makes you successful in school. And yet, I earned my PhD in Chemistry with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies in 3 ½ years! How?

I figured out how to be successful based on who I was and what worked for me! I didn’t do regular study/work sessions. I would spend one night working for eight hours and getting a month of work out of the way. I would binge data collection and then not do anything for a month.

But it worked for me.  I am here to tell my experiences and things that I have found that benefit me!

Find your own way to be successful! Try new things! Fail! Try again! Don’t get caught up on the appearance of being a good student and be a successful student!

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