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Hi everyone! 

As most of us are still (((anxiously))) waiting for the results, I thought it might be interesting to bring up the following question: What is social life like in graduate school? What are your experiences? Expectations? Fears? Hopes? 

This is a question that usually comes up to my mind, especially in those moments when I feel graduate school will be a reality, which means my life will radically change in the next few months - and for the next 6+ years. In my case, I will move to a whole new different continent (I'm European), and start a new life by myself. I've gone through this experience many times before (I've lived in many different countries), but I feel this is a particularly unique situation. I won't lie: I hope to meet interesting people, make good friends and become part of a nourishing, supporting community. And I do so because I think having this kind of affective interactions is crucial in order to be happy and healthy as we navigate the many hardships of writing a dissertation and completing a PhD program. 

I know there are as many experiences as people who've gone through graduate school, but I wonder what you guys think of this. Do you think graduate school promotes this kind of community-building experience (beyond the professional sphere)? Do you think this is more likely to happen outside of school, by getting involved in other types of activities? 

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All through my undergrad, I was an introvert. I even avoided the fresher's party (Can you believe that??!). Since my college was in my hometown, I just did not come out of my comfort zone. Now I am applying for my masters in the United States and  I feel it is absolutely necessary to have a good social network. In academia, we have to work in a team because it spurs creativity and even beyond the professional sphere, I believe that there are many informal get-togethers so that relationships are not limited within the walls of the classrooms and research labs. For those of us working part-time to pay for tuition will definitely get the unique experience and opportunity to interact with individuals outside the college. 

As far as I am concerned, I cannot become a social butterfly overnight but I will definitely try to come out of my bubble. As far as expectations about grad school are concerned, I think that people are very helpful and intellectually stimulating and I hope that I can make some very close friends there. 


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Social life for me has been great.  I was in a similar situation to you a year ago, but I was moving from america to the UK.  I have a wonderful group of friends in my department that meet once weekly for dinner, and for tea sometimes too depending on our schedules.  We are all focusing in different areas so it’s nice to catch up, commiserate during tough times, and celebrate our successes as they come.  I also have dinner with college (my university is set up into different colleges) mates on most weeknights where we pretty much do the same thing.  I’m also pretty active in societies so I have a great time with friends doing nonacademic stuff too.  I honestly didn’t make time for fun as an undergraduate, so I’ve genuinely enjoyed the whole work hard play hard mentality as a grad student. 

As far as fears, I’ll be heading back to the U.S. for medical school this fall and I’m nervous about being able to establish strong relationships at my future school.  I’m sure it’ll be fine, but it’s certainly something I worry about before starting any degree.  

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