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*Introductory Guide for Grad Students

This guide is intended to help you be a successful graduate student at Illinois State University.

Understanding Graduate School

Graduate School is fabulous and exciting!  But . . .it is also:

  • Challenging both in learning a new discipline and developing balance; achieving balance among work, school, and life.
    • It takes some letting go of perfectionism and developing perseverance.
    • Sleep!  You really will 'do' better when you get enough
    • Self-care: What is essential to you? Exercise? Watching TV? Draw? Zentangle? Knit? Seeing friends? Schedule time for what is your essential for coping.
  • Satisfying
    • A sense of accomplishment in gradually mastering the depth of content
    • When you feel overwhelmed remember everyone had to work to learn one's chosen discipline; no one knew the body of knowledge without your same struggle(s).
  • Unwritten expectations
    • Who knew all the other scholarly activities that are 'required': workshops, conferences, writing and publishing, networking, skill building
  • Graded differently
    • Usually fewer papers but each 'counts' more heavily.
    • Hint: strategize to make each useful in other avenues: toward your literature review, for publication (or can be revised/added to), conference presentation etc.
  • Social change
    • Grad school can be lonely
  • Financially worrisome
    • Often are (or feel) 'poor' in that every penny must count