Jump to content

Loneliness in Grad School


Recommended Posts

Anyone here found ways to handle the lonliness that comes from zero time to socialize?

 

I am doing my MS and will be applying to PhD programs this fall so in addition to 30 hours a week of research, I need top grades. I LOVE my research and classes but I find myself studying/working nonstop. I really dont have time to both hangout with friends or family and get all of my research done. I live with my fiance but lots of days (like now) he goes out with his family or friends since the alternative is to sit and stare at me study. I don't blame him of course but it doesnt help my lonliness.

 

I am probably in an even more difficult situation since I live an hour from campus so I only go to school on the days I have classes or research meetings. Over the summer thats only 3 days a week. I study at home otherwise since I dont want to waste 2 hours of what could be study time in the car. That also means that I don't live near other students. Otherwise, doing study groups might be a great way to combine socializing with studying. I have considered going to study at coffee shops since it might be a good opportunity to meet students at the community college in my small town or writers or something. My ideal situation would be to find other people to sit around and study with so I can get my stuff done but also not be lonely. I do want to add that I'm not depressed or anything (since this could be taken that way)... I just don't get as much human interaction as I would like.

 

Do other grad students deal with similar feelings? Is this just normal stuff to get through or do most people hangout with friends in the evenings, even if it means coming to research meetings without everything done... I don't really want to do that. Any advice?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually struggle with that as an undergrad. You mean it actually gets worse?

Right now, I'm in an unfamiliar place. Basically the only friends I have are other undergrad researchers. If I'm not helping with research I pretty much sleep the whole day (As I've found today) and get depressed. I love to research and help others with research, but I feel that it's taken over my life. Now I get Monday and Tuesday off each week and I don't like it, cause that makes the miserable weekend get prolonged.

I want to explore the city during the weekends, but what the heck am I going to do on a weekday?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Do other grad students deal with similar feelings? Is this just normal stuff to get through or do most people hangout with friends in the evenings, even if it means coming to research meetings without everything done... I don't really want to do that. Any advice?

 

i find the way you phrase some things peculiar. i mean if, in your case, hanging out with people = no time to prep for meetings maybe you're just not organizing your time properly?

 

but if you're in a program that's very demanding maybe that is just the way it is and you need to choose between a social life and your academic goals.

 

overall, something i've found out over the years is that if something *really* bothers you (like, in your case, not having people to hang around with) you'll find a way to change it (moving closer to campus, maybe?). but if you don't do anything to change it maybe it doesn't bother you enough to do anything about it (yet).

 

and for the record, i'm known for spending weeks (sometimes even a month or two) where the highlight of my social interactions are exchanges with the cashier lady at the supermarket when paying for groceries. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Gnome Chomsky

I'm starting my MS this fall and I've already decided I'll be joining at least one intramural sports team. They have stuff like flag football, basketball, bowling. I'm doing it because it'll be fun but the social part is also a bonus.

Edited by Gnome Chomsky
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're lonely and you have your fiance with you, that makes me worried for how lonely I'm going to be when my boyfriend is 8 hours away  :(

 

I played intramural sports in my MA program and it was a nice way to exercise while socializing during the week. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I realize that you're very busy, but getting through grad school on a schedule of all work and no play is a recipe for disaster IMO. If you're not taking time for yourself then you will easily get burned out. I'm wondering, why are you doing 30 hours a week of research on top of your classes? Are your classes not a space for you to accomplish your own research agenda?

Its obvious you have goals, and that is a good thing. But, you need to include a social life amongst those goals. A social life is something you have to work for, not something that just appears or is there when you have time for it. So in order to deal with your loneliness, I would suggest that you make some time for those people you love. In particular, make some time for your fiancé.

It may seem like you have to sacrifice everything in order to get the degree, but you really don't have to do that. Take it from a third year PhD. Things that will help you find more time for your social life include:

Not working so often.

Carving out a concrete research agenda so as to focus your work and make it more efficient and manageable.

Spending less time worrying about maintaining top grades. Its very hard to fail out of graduate school. After studying something for 5 or 6 years, you should not have to stretch yourself too much for respectable grades.

Developing more self-confidence. I find that those who work all the time are doing so because they constantly feel the need to prove that they belong in a graduate program. Working constantly will only make you less confident because everything else around you will fall to pieces.

Forcing yourself to stop working at a certain time each night so you can spend quality time with your fiance.

Making an effort to host parties for your fellow grad students. Offer booze and you'll have new friends pretty quickly.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, my friend and I always try to find reasons to get out the city on weekends, or go to museums or movies...just so that we can pretend we have a "normal" life style and aren't workaholics :)  

 

I always recommend museums for socializing. ;) I suppose I'm technically cheating -- going to a museum can essentially be homework for me (and often is), but I try to recruit other people outside of my field to go with me. Though I won't start my program until fall, I did have a moment where i was doing 21 credits and working two jobs at once. I was lucky that I had work friends to chat with. 

 

Our biggest hurdle in having free time is usually that we don't schedule it, and don't plan it. People expect things to be easy and spontaneous like in childhood, but it just doesn't work out that way. I scheduled a specific time that myself and another friend didn't have classes or work that semester so we could meet, have coffee/breakfast, and catch up. Literally it was only a firm hour once a week, but it was really nice to have. 

 

I find combining a food break with a friend break can ensure you get a real amount of time to eat and to socialize. Cook dinner, even! Schedule everything you *must* do in a block schedule format first (ie lab hours, work hours, sleep, classes). Then schedule your meals in 30 min - 1 hr long blocks, and then schedule basic prep time (showers, dressing, etc). When the necessities are covered, add flexible research/writing blocks, study blocks, and so on. When you have blocks (think in terms of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 50 minutes, or an hour) of work filled out find the remaining time and make it free time

 

See fellow classmates after class. See them for lunch. Find a study group at the coffee shop or make your own and offer to bring snacks. Find an extracurricular class (sports, yoga, painting, dance, whatever) at school, at a local facility or community rec center. 

 

There's no such thing as zero time to do something - if you make a schedule and and understand what is immovable and what isn't. Is 30 hours a week of research a requirement or is that just the number you feel you need to do? Is it 30 hours of efficient work, or 30 hours of some efficient work, and then some feeling restless and bored because you're slogging through things? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO, if you are having trouble getting good grades (3.5+) and do 30 hours of research per week you are probably doing something wrong, and should wait to apply for PhD. Unless your graduate school is different from the rest, graduate classes are meant to be less time consuming than normal classes. Even if you spent 5 hours a week on each class, assuming you are taking 3, 45 hours a week is not a lot of time to invest in school, and less than I do, and I still find time to go out to bars and have friends.

 

If you are studying all the time, your work will suffer. Have some fun. Being an adult is about working and having fun. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO, if you are having trouble getting good grades (3.5+) and do 30 hours of research per week you are probably doing something wrong, and should wait to apply for PhD. Unless your graduate school is different from the rest, graduate classes are meant to be less time consuming than normal classes. Even if you spent 5 hours a week on each class, assuming you are taking 3, 45 hours a week is not a lot of time to invest in school, and less than I do, and I still find time to go out to bars and have friends.

 

If you are studying all the time, your work will suffer. Have some fun. Being an adult is about working and having fun. 

 

:blink:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with GeoDUDE! and my experience is similar. I spend less time on my course in graduate school than I did in undergrad. During undergrad, I usually took 5 courses at once and probably spent 10-15 hours total (including attending class) per class, for a total of probably 50-60 hours per week on my courses. But this was only viable because in undergrad, the only thing I did was courses. Except for my honours thesis (taken in my last year where I took only 3-4 classes), all of my research was full time (summers and co-op program where I did a year of just work). 

 

In grad school, I still spend around 10 hours per course, but I only have 3 courses at once. I then spend another 20-30 hours on research during the year when I have coursework, so a total of 50-60 hours work altogether--same as before. 

 

Since last fall, I have no more courses so I can just spend 40 ish hours per week just doing work, leaving me with time to pursue my other interests. 

 

Although the material in graduate courses are indeed harder, you are more prepared at this point than you were when you started college. I am pretty sure that I can now do 2 hours of undergrad-me work in about an hour now, armed with experience on how to efficiently tackle problems and analyze readings.

 

In addition, the expectations are different since (in my field at least), the focus is completing research, not taking classes. In most grad classes, grades close to 100% are awarded for meeting expectations, and going beyond usually will not give you any more points. This is not to say that grad students should slack off on all of their classes. Instead, this means that grad students are not expected to put extra effort just to get an A--the grading is such that anyone who tries will get an A and the only reason to go beyond expectations is for your own good. As adults and professionals we are trusted to decide for ourselves when we want to put the extra effort in. 

 

So, in general, my grades in grad school are about the same as undergrad (or even better) and I would say I put in about 60-70% of the effort in my classes now than I did in undergrad. 

 

I also agree with GeoDUDE! that I think a person might not be ready for graduate school if they are not able to prioritize and manage their time so that they can balance both work and personal life and sleep. The ratio that is "balanced" would depend on each person (I'm not judging anyone who chooses to work 12+ hours per day as long as they are happy with it!). Personally, my ideal balance is something close to 1:1:1 for work:personal:sleep, where personal includes fun things like socialization and keeping active as well as other important things like cooking, cleaning my home, keeping in touch with friends/family, doing taxes and other random errands etc.

 

My philosophy is that grad school is my job/career and being a healthy person means I have a good work/life balance. After all, the reason I have/want a career is so that I can earn money to follow my non-work related passions in life. It sure is nice, right now, that my career happens to be one of my passions too, but I don't want to make that my only passion! If it ever comes to the point where one passion is preventing me from enjoying my other passions, I'll have to give up the one that is being too needy.

Edited by TakeruK
Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with GeoDUDE! and my experience is similar. I spend less time on my course in graduate school than I did in undergrad. During undergrad, I usually took 5 courses at once and probably spent 10-15 hours total (including attending class) per class, for a total of probably 50-60 hours per week on my courses. But this was only viable because in undergrad, the only thing I did was courses. Except for my honours thesis (taken in my last year where I took only 3-4 classes), all of my research was full time (summers and co-op program where I did a year of just work). 

 

In grad school, I still spend around 10 hours per course, but I only have 3 courses at once. I then spend another 20-30 hours on research during the year when I have coursework, so a total of 50-60 hours work altogether--same as before. 

 

Since last fall, I have no more courses so I can just spend 40 ish hours per week just doing work, leaving me with time to pursue my other interests. 

 

Although the material in graduate courses are indeed harder, you are more prepared at this point than you were when you started college. I am pretty sure that I can now do 2 hours of undergrad-me work in about an hour now, armed with experience on how to efficiently tackle problems and analyze readings.

 

In addition, the expectations are different since (in my field at least), the focus is completing research, not taking classes. In most grad classes, grades close to 100% are awarded for meeting expectations, and going beyond usually will not give you any more points. This is not to say that grad students should slack off on all of their classes. Instead, this means that grad students are not expected to put extra effort just to get an A--the grading is such that anyone who tries will get an A and the only reason to go beyond expectations is for your own good. As adults and professionals we are trusted to decide for ourselves when we want to put the extra effort in. 

 

So, in general, my grades in grad school are about the same as undergrad (or even better) and I would say I put in about 60-70% of the effort in my classes now than I did in undergrad. 

 

I also agree with GeoDUDE! that I think a person might not be ready for graduate school if they are not able to prioritize and manage their time so that they can balance both work and personal life and sleep. The ratio that is "balanced" would depend on each person (I'm not judging anyone who chooses to work 12+ hours per day as long as they are happy with it!). Personally, my ideal balance is something close to 1:1:1 for work:personal:sleep, where personal includes fun things like socialization and keeping active as well as other important things like cooking, cleaning my home, keeping in touch with friends/family, doing taxes and other random errands etc.

 

My philosophy is that grad school is my job/career and being a healthy person means I have a good work/life balance. After all, the reason I have/want a career is so that I can earn money to follow my non-work related passions in life. It sure is nice, right now, that my career happens to be one of my passions too, but I don't want to make that my only passion! If it ever comes to the point where one passion is preventing me from enjoying my other passions, I'll have to give up the one that is being too needy.

This actually makes me feel a bit better. My problem is that I like structure, and when my structured schedule gets toppled over I feel a bit lost. I realize that I need to be more flexible.

 

When you talk about cooking, keeping touch with friends/family from back home, doing errands, and sleep, I realize now that research hasn't taken over my life. Rather, it has become integrated with school and I'm still free to have some "me time." Right now, I just have too much "me time" simply because I'm not taking any courses right now.

 

You're probably right; undergrad might be more time consuming than graduate school. Last semester I took 5 courses and had 4 different research projects going on. I didn't come out too shabby (With a 3.57 GPA that semester) and I didn't feel too burned out. That was my busiest semester and yet I still stuck by the schedule of going to bed by 10-11 pm.

 

TL;DR: I'm probably not overwhelmed by research but rather the opposite. I'll continue to find things to do and maybe discover a hobby or two.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a time management issue.  I was in a very demanding program myself - in my first two years, I had to take 4 graduate courses a semester and did 20 hours a week of research (which could easily turn into 30).  In my third year, my courses were reduced but I was also teaching.  The work didn't really slow down until halfway through my fourth year.  But I still found time to make friends and socialize - not as much as I would like to, but definitely more than zero.  I did, however, live a 10-minute walk from campus, so that changes things.

You can't spend all of your time studying.  I understand that you want to get top grades; that's important.  But you might need to start scheduling or blocking off time for studying as well as for socializing.  Sure, commuting to campus may take away 2 hours a day that you can study - but if those 2 hours for one or two extra days really makes a difference, then it could be that your courseload is too heavy or that you haven't yet learned to effectively and efficiently study your program's material (which is no judgment - it took me a while myself!)

You have to take the initiative to plan things.  If you know someone you might like to be friends with, invite them to go grab lunch or dinner when you are on campus for an hour or so.  Sure, that takes an hour away from studying - but that's important for your mental health.  You may get back home a bit later than anticipated.  If your cohort-mates are big on social media, make sure you're on their Facebook pages or whatever so you can find out about impromptu or informal events that you might want to go to.

Honestly, the way I see most of my friends these days is just chilling in their apartments or them chilling in mine.  We're all busy, and you don't have to go paint the town red in order to have a good time.  A few bottles of wine and people who like to talk can satisfy your needs.

My ideal situation would be to find other people to sit around and study with so I can get my stuff done but also not be lonely.

That's not ideal, honestly.  You do need to study, but you ALSO need non-academic normal human social interaction.  Besides, the people who I sat around and studied with were people I was already friends with, and had done friendly social stuff like after-work/class drinks.  We then jointly decided that we needed to study and that peer pressure during study time was productive.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate everyone's comments. I agree that I should make some cut off times for myself in the evening and try to spend more time not doing work.

 

I definitely dont think this is an issue of me not being ready for graduate school. Well, my research advisor would disagree at least. I think my work has been pretty great. I think that there are a couple things that make my schedule feel difficult.

 

1. I probably spend about the same amount of time on classes on people on here say I should... maybe 8-10 hours per class a week. I have been taking 3-4 a semester so that is 30ish hours a week. I have a 4.0 gpa so I am understanding the material well.

2. I then spend 30ish hours a week on research. This is important since being in a MS program means that I really only have a year to work on research and publish before applying to PhD programs.

3. My field is VERY interdisciplinary so in order to excell in research, a very strong background in physics, chemistry, math, and bio is needed. Since no one comes in with all 4 undergrad majors, from my observations, the PhD students take 6 months to a year "catching up" on knowedge before they can fully understand the work. I feel pressure since I will only be in the lab a year before applying to grad school so I actually have 1 year to learn everything, do lots of research, and publish before PhD admission. Because of all this, quite a bit of additional times goes into teaching myself this info.

4. Since I will only have a year in the lab before applications, I also have been spending alot of time reading publications in the field to try to catch up on that.

 

I guess what it comes down to is that the PhD students have a few years in the lab to learn everything and teach themselves quantum physics, statistical mechanics, organic chem, physical chem, linear algebra, or whatever they didnt take during undergrad and learn about the biophysical models used in the lab (which are super complicated... to the PhD students too) before they have to do their dissertation proposals and all. I on the other hand have a year to learn everything and get results published.

 

Again, I don't think that I am not ready for PhD programs. My understanding of the research and models is pretty comparable to the 3rd-4th year PhD students but in a way, this is really necesary since I am trying to publish before applying to PhD programs, just like they are. After typing this out it sounds like I am probably just putting too much pressure on myself to understand everything now. It also doesn't help though there are are 2 other students in the lab. One who joined the lab when I did actually did 4 years of a PhD program somewhere else, doing similar research and then dropped out. The other has a triple major for undergrad and had already been in the lab for a few years when I joined. Understanding the research like they do and producing results like they do is time consuming.

 

I really DO appreciate the advice. I was really wondering whether those feelings were normal or not (I guess I just assumed what I was doing was normal and expected). It sounds like the answer is that it isnt normal or expected and that I should make some changes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

bsharpe, I think part of it is that you're trying to cram too much into one year. It's honestly rather unrealistic to assume/presume that you can do enough original research in an area in one year as a master's student to get a publication out of it, especially one that would be accepted before your PhD applications are reviewed. It might be more realistic if you were planning to apply to PhD programs after finishing your M.S. but that's not what it sounds like from reading your posts in this thread. FWIW, most applicants out of a master's program do not have any publications when they apply for the PhD (and this has been discussed countless times here and for an array of disciplines), so you should not feel like you need to have something published in order to get accepted. A year of solid research experience under your belt plus another ahead and a good M.S. thesis/project should be more than enough for most Ph.D. programs unless you have some serious deficiencies elsewhere.

 

Second thing that strikes me is that you are equating what you need to do as a master's student to what Ph.D. students do or are doing. If PhD students take 6 months to a year to "catch up", as you describe, then why are you pressuring yourself to learn all of this material independently as a master's student? Based on what you say, it sounds like any program would know that you still need to strengthen your background in certain areas after being admitted, which should take off some of the need/pressure to learn those areas now. I think you're actually trying to cram a few years of a doctoral program into one year of a master's program, which is causing some of your stress. You should not be comparing yourself and what you need to do to what current PhD students are doing because you are not in their program. What you should be doing is finding out what they did as master's students to prepare themselves for the PhD. Surely if they're taking a few years to get things going, it's kinda unreasonable to assume that you can do what took them 2-3 years in one year, right? Advisors and admissions committees know this.

 

I guess what I'm saying is that your expectations and pressure on yourself are not the norm for most master's students and may be causing your feelings of loneliness and not enough time for socialization. It might be helpful for you to meet with your advisor, mentor, or trusted senior grad students to find out what you absolutely must do to maximize your chance for successful PhD applications, what would be nice to have, and what is entirely optional. Maybe they can help you understand where and how you can reprioritize. Hope this helps!

Link to post
Share on other sites

bsharpe, we are in very similar situations.

 

I did my undergraduate in physics, then moved to geology for my masters (and now PhD).  I am a computational geodynamist. My first year i\I spent writing a 3-D navier stokes solver, so I had no real tangible results for my thesis up until a few months ago (and will be defending in 3 weeks !!!). That did not stop me from going from a completely unknown/unranked masters program to a top 20 PhD program in earth sciences overall, and perhaps one of the best in my field. I had no publications, and a few conference presentations. 

 

Having a publication is probably going to be impossible at this point, since at least in my field, it could take 3 months just to get through the reviewing process. That means you need to have a publication submitted by next month! Writing a manuscript is no short deal.

 

 

The three things that will matter most in your PhD application are: 1) How well your master advisor recommends you for PhD ,2) How eloquent your statement of purpose is with respect to future research propositions and fit within their program and  3) How eloquently you can talk about your research in your interviews with POIs.

 

Social skills are also important to getting into a good research program/lab, so practice up. When you go on visiting days, they are more likely to want to keep the people who get along with everyone than those who awkwardly sit in the corner. Even if you are good at social situations, its good to keep in practice. Scientists are more or less normal people. 

 

Another thing that strikes me is that you actually think you have the knowledge of 3rd and 4th year PhD students. Perhaps you do, but I highly doubt that: a 3rd or 4th year PhD student is writing his/her dissertation proposal at least and has probably read 150-200 papers on his/her topic. Are you really telling me you have read that many papers, in depth, on your subject? Furthermore how many 3rd and 4th year PhD students in your field do you know? Is your sample statistically  normalized ? Lets stop making claims that raises expectations. Just do good work. A scientists career is one meant to look over a long arc, not a 1 year period. 

 

Another note about PhD admissions. My new advisor cared about my masters grades only because of my low undergraduate grades. If you had a good GPA in undergrad, no one will care if you got a 4.0 in masters program vs a 3.5. 

 

 

 

so TLDR: Your doing great, dont stress out, finish your program normally and go on to a great PhD program. You really arent going to be able to objectively decide what a POI thinks about you vs another student, so just focus on doing objectively good work and everything else will follow.

Edited by GeoDUDE!
Link to post
Share on other sites

To add to what GeoDude, Takeruk, and rising_star said, I agree with the "don't worry so much" part. I came into the PhD program I am in now with a masters degree, and I haven't had any problems where I needed to "catch up." My masters coursework was enough to help me not struggle through my coursework, and this was in a PhD program which puts all of the classes into the first year. As far as joining my new lab, there was no catchup for me because I've done the majority of the protocols we do in a research setting (including troubleshooting). If you really have as much experience as you seem to be trying to say, I think you're not going to have anything to worry about.

 

Publications seem to be something that all MS students are trying to strive for before PhD.... which is silly. As GeoDude said, it can take at least 3 months for reviews to happen, and that doesn't include revisions, which can take up to a year if you have additional experiments to do. The work I did as an undergrad is just being published now (1 year into my PhD program, 3 years after I did the work), and only a portion of my MS work has been submitted in a manuscript, which is currently being reviewed. These people understand that publications take time, and they're not going to expect you to have a CV with 5 publications as a 1st year graduate student.

 

Also keep in mind that you're going to be coming into the program with a variety of people with different proficiencies. I interviewed with a girl who had her JD, but hadn't had molecular biology since undergrad, with a 6-month internship in a lab as her experience. She got in, and last I talked to her, she had successfully completed her first two semesters. Classes are designed to challenge you, yes, but they're also to make sure that everyone is up to a certain threshold of knowledge by the end. The students I was in classes with had less research experience than I did (6 years in my case) with the lowest being a summer internship. They also had not taken as many classes as I had. Sometimes they scored better than me, but I never worried about not passing. Having the research experience of a 3rd or 4th year graduate student means you've put in at least that much time in the lab and have generated manuscripts, grant/fellowship applications, etc. Be careful about saying that if it is not really true; you're a MS student, and though I don't think telling you to do this will get you to do it, you shouldn't be comparing yourself to other PhD students until you are one. Don't compare yourself to a student who has been in the lab for 4-5 years when you've only been there for 1... they've got more experience than you do. 

 

GeoDude is right when he talks about admissions. I had professors who knew how I was in the lab and who wrote me awesome letters of rec, and my research experience spoke for itself, even though I did not have any publications at the time of application. I talked about these experiences in my research statements, and my professors talked about my lab work in the letters. When I interviewed, they wanted to know all about my MS thesis project, and I willingly took them through it. When you join a lab at your new institution, you're going to throw a lot of that research out the window; I joined a lab that does metabolism, and I came from 6 years of transcriptional regulation and cancer biology.

As far as loneliness goes, once you take a step back and stop trying to cram an entire graduate career into a single year, you need to take time to do something that isn't school or research-related. I play on an intramural soccer team for the university across the street, and some fellow grad students and I have a move night every Monday night to give us a relaxing start to the week. After my qual, I will teach a intro to lab class for little kids and play my trumpet in one of the local ensembles. If I find myself getting stressed, I call my boyfriend (13 hours away) or find someone to hang out and study (or shop on a weekend).

 

Do yourself a favor when you go for PhD: even if it costs a little more, so long as you can afford it, live closer than 30 minutes from school. I'm a 15 minute drive, 30 minute bus ride, and if I were any farther, I'd be ripping my hair out. Some people deal well with being so far away, but for me, it would stress me out a ton.

 

Hopefully hearing similar things from all of us will help. :) Please find a day to take a break and go do something fun, soon.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the input everyone. I think you guys are right that I am trying to pack to much into my MS (specifically before PhD applications) and that it is taking a negative toll on me. I should probably stop putting so much pressure on myself. Tons of people go straight from undergrad to phd and do really well so I am sure that I can too. I just always feel like I can do a little more and be a little bit better prepared... but I realize thats a never ending cycle.

 

I didn't mean to come off as pretentious with that comment that I think my knowedge on the level of the PhD students. Youre right that it isnt possible since they have been in the lab way longer than me. Since joining the lab, whenever I come across concepts that am not familiar with (from the other students mentioning them or lab meetings or whatever) I have gone home and pretty much spent the entire evening learning about the topic. This has really helped close in the gap at least between their knowedge and mine. I do the same level of work as they do and my Mendeley shows that I've read over 100 journal articles since Jan when I got it. Even after this, I do realize that even though I have come to be familiar with many topics, they still probably know them in much greater depth than I do. I agree that comparing myself to them and trying to be at their level is a bit ridiculous. As far as I know, I am the only MS student in my program who plans to go on to a PhD program so no one else is really into research so there aren't MS students around to compare myself to... not that I need to be constantly comparing myself to everyone but I just mean that everyone in my lab is a PhD student so I try to keep up.

 

As far as grades go, I am trying to make up for a mixed undergrad record. My undergrad GPA was a 3.3 (not super horrible but definitely not good) so I have been focusing on getting that 4.0. Also, I have ben considering moving closer to campus... by living an hour from campus, my fiance and I are being paid to keep up a houes for my family so basically I am making money and we get to live in a very large house with a huge yard for our dogs for free (like electricity and everything). It is REALLY hard to turn down that offer to move closer to campus. I am leaning towards toughing it out for another year but it is wearing on me so who knows...

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is something I will have to look into. I have been lonely for 4 or so years with few friends, and little to no social interaction, also no girlfriend ever and I'm nearly 30. Advice given to me from those who have gone through graduate school is to make friends in your cohort, and friends outside of your field be they from other departments or outside of academia. Another tidbit of advice given to me was to find outlets to help unwind, and to lessen burnout. I'm considering taking swimming classes to get a workout and be around people. It's better than the alternative, which is bunkering down and studying all the time and hating myself, the material, and the program. Out of curiosity, does anyone have experience dating in graduate school? I'm really lonely in that regard, and I'm not looking for a one night stand and I don't drink alcohol so bars are out of the question.

 

I also know I need great grades since my undergraduate gpa is quite low (3.1). Furthermore, I'll be moving to a different city a few hours away. So, new environment and new people.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.