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Summer before grad school

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Thoughts on going early to start research before the first year of grad school? Or should I enjoy myself and recharge before the next five years of my life?

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Of course, only you know what is best for you, but here is my advice :)

 

If you are in your undergrad now, it might be a good idea to take the summer off and have some fun & relax before diving into the long haul of grad school - I probably would do this. You won't have another chance to travel/be lazy/etc for several years and I think taking the summer off would be a great way to "recharge" so you can avoid burnout. If this isn't a factor for you, a big positive of starting early is getting a head start on your research so that you might be able to graduate a little early. Personally, I'm just itching to get started so will be starting in June (I would start yesterday if I could! ;)). But I'm probably in a much different situation than you since I'll be leaving my much loathed job for grad school, and not just graduating from undergrad.

 

What is your personal situation and are you leaning one way or the other?

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I'm always 50/50 on it. I'm coming out of undergrad and know there are some things I would like to review/teach myself before I go to grad school and get my butt kicked for a couple years. But a summer break of 3+ months is a little long, and I have the opportunity to work for a professor that is just getting started at the university and needs pubs. Aka I'ma get me some pubs (first time in my life). 

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As someone who got totally burnt out by grad school straight out of undergrad - I'd say take a break.

 

The next 5 years will afford many opportunities for research but not so many opportunities for pure, unadulterated time off, so take it while you can get it.

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I already started as soon as I made my decision because I need to crank out something for the big conference in Sept. But if you feel like chillaxing, take the time off ;-) as others have said, its important to refresh yrself before this crazy journey ;-)

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I know a lot of places really encourage coming early, but personally I plan to take the summer completely off.  I seemed to have a harder time coming back every year of undergrad after interning full time through the summer, so I need the time to get my brain back on track this time.  I think having time to get nice and bored will have me raring to go come August.

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Not that I am a chemist, I have been told you should relax and think about research questions, read relevant literature, etc. Not like reading for school, but read what interests you and see what is going on in the field.

One big thing i was told, which was good advice, was to read what students are writing dissertations on currently.

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