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Hello, I am a first-year PhD student. I want to ask about input on thriving. As background: in undergrad, I consistently had leadership roles in extra-curriculars, which helped balanced the necessary classroom focus. During Master's studies, I was also engaged (more participatory) in social and recreational groups. Now, as a PhD student , I would like to be able to connect better - it is strange, since more opportunities seem available than ever before, at my current institution. There is certainly a difference in rigor, but I have also never had so much time to focus exclusively on my studies
At my institution, you get a free shot at the prelim when you first arrive (physics PhD program). I have a master's from another institution and, since the prelim reflects one's first-year graduate education, I believe that I might be able to pass it given a summer of dedicated study. If I pass it, I could by-pass typical first-year courses. This is really a non-quandry because I think I will give it a shot, but I wonder whether it would be worth it to take first-year courses with the rest of my peers and really nail down the material once-and-for-all (i.e. take my time instead of rushing