Monday, October 10, 2016

Undergrad vs. Graduate School.

Somehow I'm already halfway through my first semester of grad school, and I'll tell you what: it's entirely different than anything I've done before, especially undergrad (or in my case, post-bacc classes). Obtaining an undergraduate degree is different for every major, but I would say taking classes as a communication sciences and disorders major is one of the most stressful majors out there. Grad school is insanely competitive to get into, and the amount of work to get done while maintaining a nearly flawless GPA is tremendous. But to all you CSD majors out there: grad school is so much better. My mentality has completely changed, and here's how:


Exams

Undergrad: Memorizing facts, statistics, diagrams, formulas, etc. to get a top score on a midterm. Start studying a day or two before the exam, spend the whole night before cramming.
Graduate school: I start studying for exams two weeks in advance, not because I want a 100% (though it wouldn't hurt), but because not only do I need to know the information for a test - I need to actually learn the information. As an SLP, one needs to be knowledgable about the industry; I'm no longer studying for a certain score, I'm studying for my future job.

Sleep

Undergrad: Four hours of sleep the night before a final? #YOLO.
Graduate school: Some days I have three hours of class starting at 8 a.m., followed by group therapy, immediately followed by a session with my individual client. I have to be on top of my game throughout the day, so sleep certainly matters. If it means I have to kick my ass into high gear earlier in the day to get to bed at a decent hour, so be it. Team ALL The Sleep.

Work

Undergrad: I will attend all the classes and get all the A's while also working four nights a week for 4-8 hours per shift! I can make time to study, go out socially, complete volunteer hours, rack up observation hours, and work 20 hours a week. No prob. I hate my life, but no prob.
Graduate school: Working more than 10 hours a week is not recommended. In fact, it's borderline discouraged. I still work one to two days a week, depending what I have going on. I work enough to make ends meet (with the help of my student loans), but it feels so good to always know I have plenty of time to study for a midterm or finish a project without having to worry about someone picking up a shift.

Relaxing

Undergrad: I have zero chill because I'm in the midst of working on my letter of intent, asking for letters of recommendation, studying for three exams spread out over the course of two days, volunteering, tweaking my resume, and picking out where to apply for graduate school (this was literally me around this time last year). Free time? Is that a class, or...?
Graduate school: I'm tired? Run down? Need a break? I'm taking an hour to watch Gilmore Girls, to catch up on reading a novel, to go for a quick run. I'm not letting the semester control me, and I'm going to make time for myself, even if that means setting myself back an hour on my productivity clock.



Then again, this could be a particularly easy semester. Who knows - maybe I'll have zero time for sleep/me time in the coming weeks or next semester. It's still early in the game, but I feel like I have a good thing going on right now.

Hope everyone had a fun filled weekend - here's to a killer Monday! 





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