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What is it like to have a Graduate Assistantship?


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Hello everyone


I've been browsing through the "Bank" section to get more information about Assisantships. I notice that a lot of the topics are geared towards specific fellowships and scholarships etc. But I would really like to know what it is like to have a Graduate Assistantship. I am looking into getting one soon. In fact I have met with my Advisor about different opportunies at my school. For those who are currently working as a GA how have you adjusted financially? What's your biggest challenge? For those slightly older students how did you balance family obligation? Any information would be helpful.



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I currently have a GA at my MS program and I basically work as a TA teaching some lectures, running labs, grading HW, lab reports, etc (15-20 hrs/wk). Overall a GA's specific duties are usually department, or grad school dependent - basically you would perform some service for the department and you are paid just like a job. My biggest challenge is just how much time fulfilling all my duties takes - it's enough to be annoying (i.e. I can't always get as much research time as I'd like or getting hw done early) but not so much that it impedes my academic performance (I've kept a 4.0 in the program). 

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  • 1 month later...

I am a GSA at University of Washington.  I work for the IT department teaching professors and students about software used in the classroom.  My hours are very flexible and the benefits are amazing.  The biggest issue is balancing work and school.  I took less classes then I would have otherwise and not that involved in department activities.  Most of my friends are other GSAs, so great way to meet people.


I am in a program that has intensive internship hours plus classes, that has been very challenging to book all my hours.  I basically work 6 days a week, but other GSAs in different departments have less commitments.  I think it is 100% worth it.

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Well, I had one in my masters, and I will in my Ph.D.  My GAship was the highlight of my masters, to be honest.  I worked with first year students in a freshman year program we had.   I got to advise students and sit in on their class, and create "service learning opportunities" for them, and grade papers.  It was a lot of fun. (Grading-Not so much, but that is what auditors basically do for a living) The professors were pretty laid back and seemed impressed at my work.  All I did was show up when I was supposed to and do what I said I was going to do, but apparently that is not always the case for some GAs.  


The only thing is, if you have clinicals, it can interfere with them.  My office mate had a problem with that.  And my schedule for the second semester left me 15 mins between my own class and the one I helped out with, even though we were on separate campuses.

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