What I Really Learned in Grad School: Quarter One
Obviously, it’s been a minute since my last post. If you are wondering what the hell happened to me these last 2.5 months, the answer is very simple: grad school. The quarter system, having 10 weeks of class, 15 hours a week, was far more intense than I ever expected. Not only was I going from working from home in a job I hardly had to do anything for to being a full time student and working part time job, I was learning how to navigate an entirely new lifestyle with new relationships in a new phase of life during the craziest year of any of our lives. Needless to say, I’ve been overwhelmed.
Despite the long days and thousands of pages of reading, there were lessons that I learned this quarter that were invaluable, and generally applicable to people in all phases of life. Below, please see some of my biggest takeaways (outside of the classroom) from my first quarter of graduate school:
- Comparison is a waste of time. I know I’ve written on the imposter syndrome before, and where I feel it most is when I compare myself to my peers and wonder, “Am I as qualified/smart/ wordly/ cute as her (or him)?”. While I found myself falling into this same pattern countless times at the beginning of the quarter, I realized that all that did was take away from time that I could be spending developing my own best qualities and characteristics. Focus on what you have to bring to the table instead of comparing your strengths to others; there’s room for everyone wherever you’re going.
- Your vibe attracts your tribe. Despite being on virtual classes, I have been blessed to make strong relationships with multiple people in my program. My general rule of thumb? Treat everyone with kindness and respect, and give everyone who wants to get to know you the time of day. AND don’t be afraid to slide into people’s dms- especially right now, everyone is looking to expand their network of friends and to feel less isolated.
- Know your strengths. Jumping back into school after such a long time off, I felt like I was a literal fish out of water. For a few weeks, I was convinced that I had forgotten how to be a student and was doomed for failure. It took me some time for my head to stop spinning and for me to really be able to reconnect with myself and remind myself my strengths. For me, this included sitting down and thinking how I could best focus on my work, use time management, and also fit in things that make me me. Knowing yourself and how you can most successfully balance things during a stressful time will help you reduce stress and handle busy times better.
- Prioritize. When I am busy and have a thousand things to do, I will not get anything done until I physically sit down and write out an order in which each task should be completed. For you, this may look different, but the key in busy times is to make sure you prioritize your to dos. Perhaps one day your priority is to finish a huge project, or perhaps it is to do your favorite self care activity.
- Perfection isn’t a goal. All of us enneagram 3’s out there, or really anyone who has any internal motivation to do good things, are constantly seeking perfection, inherently setting ourselves up for failure. Perfection is not a goal we should strive for, because it isn’t humanly possible. Instead, we should be striving to be the best version of ourselves. We need to recognize the beauty of our imperfections as they make us uniquely ourselves. The only “best” you can reach is your own; make your goal to settle for nothing less than your best.
Through all the ups and downs of these past few months and this year as a whole, I am so grateful to be able to learn something new everyday, to be surrounded by people who constantly inspire me, and to have the opportunity to grow into the best version of myself. Hopefully, my takeaways inspire you to do the same. Happy holiday season ❤