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neuroslice

Summer before Graduate School

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Now that the dust is starting to settle a bit from the admissions season, I was wondering if anybody has given much thought to what they'll do this summer? Is it at all important to keep doing research? I'm sort of tempted to just because I know I'll go insane after a week without anything to do.

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Hello,

I was thinking about this too. I am going to work part-time as a research assistant, and I'm probably gonna start to do a little little bit of work for my master's thesis in June including choosing my classes, discussing my topic with my supervisor, etc.

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41 minutes ago, Neuro15 said:

Going to backpack in Europe for a couple weeks. Schools going to be stressful, might as well relax a bit before it starts :) 

I'm actually backpacking in SE Asia for a couple of weeks, which should be fun! Just trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my time...

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I'm moving to my city about a month and a half early, so I'm hoping to really settle in/relax. Also going to make a short road trip to see the solar eclipse in August! 

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I was told by one of the faculty that wrote a letter of recommendation that the summer before is a time to first and foremost relax. While I'll probably try to publish one of my research projects over the summer, I plan to enjoy some fishing, swimming, and other outdoor activities I won't have much chance to do in graduate school. I also have a list of books I want to read in the event I have a rainy day.

In July, I'll probably start reaching out to faculty seeing if there is any literature I should read to prepare for a rotation in the lab. As for moving in, I can't move in until two days before orientation starts so I'll have to be efficient furnishing my apartment.

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12 hours ago, Kaede said:

Honestly... playing lots of video games.

This is a good answer. I have too many RPGs/MMOs that I'm looking forward to FINALLY being able to sink a little time into. Hurray for one last summer of complete freedom! :)

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I also did my first rotation during that summer. I was not going to be doing anything particularly amazing otherwise, so I decided to be productive. I feel like you get more out of the lab you rotate in because you don't have to worry about classes and can just focus on work. Besides, I had PLENTY of time for myself after work because, again, no school. In the end, I ended up joining this lab for my thesis work. 

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I'm planning on traveling through East Asia and working on writing up a few of my projects into papers. Like others have said, I think relaxing before grad school is definitely an option to consider, especially if you're coming straight from undergrad. I think most PIs would prefer a well-rested 1st year grad student to a burnt-out 1st year student who marathoned through a rotation in the summer after graduating.

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Travelling! Backpacking around Europe for 2 months. We worked hard to get acceptances, and are going to work even harder once we begin our programs :) 

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1. Working as a TA and tutor at my undergrad institution. 

2. Probably taking one graduate class.

3. Finishing a research project I started last semester. 

4. Looking for an apartment.

5. Reading a lot of books.

6. Playing a lot of video games. 

7. Trying to catch up on sleep. 

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13 hours ago, Nomad1111 said:

Travelling! Backpacking around Europe for 2 months. We worked hard to get acceptances, and are going to work even harder once we begin our programs :) 

I'm doing this too! :)

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On 3/31/2017 at 4:46 PM, neuroslice said:

I'm actually backpacking in SE Asia for a couple of weeks, which should be fun! Just trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my time...

Cool, me too! Backpacking Southeast Asia for a month in June :)

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I'll be spending a month teaching at a language immersion summer camp!! And I'm also planning to do a bit of reading in my intended field, which should be easy considering my hometown is less than an hour away from my alma mater, where I have alumni library privileges.

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I continued working until about a week before I started. It was part time, so it wasn't a big deal, but I wish I took more time to relax before starting.

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If I get off the waitlist I plan to spend the summer preparing for the first semester research paper. I am hoping to have all my background reading done by July, then start crafting the body of the paper by the early August. I also plan to request the syllabi for the classes I will take so I can read the material ahead of time.

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4 minutes ago, SarahBethSortino said:

If I get off the waitlist I plan to spend the summer preparing for the first semester research paper. I am hoping to have all my background reading done by July, then start crafting the body of the paper by the early August. I also plan to request the syllabi for the classes I will take so I can read the material ahead of time.

I would also say that I would strongly advise against wasting the summer traveling, hanging out with friends, or just hanging out. Unless you need to work full time up until the point you start, which is totally valid, you should not waste the opportunity to get as prepared for the semester as you possibly can. When I did my Masters, I tried to know exactly what was going to be expected of me. I spent the entire summer reading through all the materials for the classes I would be taking. It made the first semester much easier than it would have been had I not done so, because when time was tight and I had deadlines in one class that took a priority over another, I could refer to the notes from my readings. This is likely the last time for several years you will have to get ahead, because you will probably feel like you are perpetually behind for the rest of your graduate school career.

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54 minutes ago, SarahBethSortino said:

I would also say that I would strongly advise against wasting the summer traveling, hanging out with friends, or just hanging out. Unless you need to work full time up until the point you start, which is totally valid, you should not waste the opportunity to get as prepared for the semester as you possibly can. When I did my Masters, I tried to know exactly what was going to be expected of me. I spent the entire summer reading through all the materials for the classes I would be taking. It made the first semester much easier than it would have been had I not done so, because when time was tight and I had deadlines in one class that took a priority over another, I could refer to the notes from my readings. This is likely the last time for several years you will have to get ahead, because you will probably feel like you are perpetually behind for the rest of your graduate school career.

I totally disagree that travelling is a waste of the summer! If you have the time and money, do it! It's going to be very difficult to find that chunk of time during your PhD, you've likely worked your butt off to get into programs, and travelling is a wonderful way to grow and mature as a person. Sure, prep too if ya want, can't you do both? ;) Globally calling it a waste seems a bit closed-minded?

Edited by Nomad1111

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2 hours ago, SarahBethSortino said:

I would also say that I would strongly advise against wasting the summer traveling, hanging out with friends, or just hanging out. Unless you need to work full time up until the point you start, which is totally valid, you should not waste the opportunity to get as prepared for the semester as you possibly can. When I did my Masters, I tried to know exactly what was going to be expected of me. I spent the entire summer reading through all the materials for the classes I would be taking. It made the first semester much easier than it would have been had I not done so, because when time was tight and I had deadlines in one class that took a priority over another, I could refer to the notes from my readings. This is likely the last time for several years you will have to get ahead, because you will probably feel like you are perpetually behind for the rest of your graduate school career.

Pfffft. I've been working full-time for four years straight, I'm going to savor every second of my backpacking trip. Also if you equate travelling to "wasting time," you're seriously missing out. 

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1 minute ago, LoveMysterious said:

Pfffft. I've been working full-time for four years straight, I'm going to savor every second of my backpacking trip. Also if you equate travelling to "wasting time," you're seriously missing out. 

I've traveled a lot, lived abroad, gone backpacking in Europe. I'm 36. I've had plenty of time to do that. This is preparation for a job. I've been working for 10 years in various industries, have done a Masters, had a kid, probably need a break, but in the end there is not a lot more important to me than coming into a PhD program completely prepared. It's not a personal insult to your trip, I just think that in the limited time before the start of school, it is best to get into the routine of intense study as soon as possible. That's how I'm approaching it.

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7 minutes ago, SarahBethSortino said:

I've traveled a lot, lived abroad, gone backpacking in Europe. I'm 36. I've had plenty of time to do that. This is preparation for a job. I've been working for 10 years in various industries, have done a Masters, had a kid, probably need a break, but in the end there is not a lot more important to me than coming into a PhD program completely prepared. It's not a personal insult to your trip, I just think that in the limited time before the start of school, it is best to get into the routine of intense study as soon as possible. That's how I'm approaching it.

You've travelled a lot, you've gone backpacking, you've had plenty of time. Others likely haven't, so why sweepingly say that travelling is a waste and you strongly advise against it? You're approaching it from one of many angles but others are in different positions coming at grad school from different angles. 

Edited by Nomad1111

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8 hours ago, SarahBethSortino said:

I would also say that I would strongly advise against wasting the summer traveling, hanging out with friends, or just hanging out. Unless you need to work full time up until the point you start, which is totally valid, you should not waste the opportunity to get as prepared for the semester as you possibly can. When I did my Masters, I tried to know exactly what was going to be expected of me. I spent the entire summer reading through all the materials for the classes I would be taking. It made the first semester much easier than it would have been had I not done so, because when time was tight and I had deadlines in one class that took a priority over another, I could refer to the notes from my readings. This is likely the last time for several years you will have to get ahead, because you will probably feel like you are perpetually behind for the rest of your graduate school career.

Yeahhhhhhhhhhh no. I've been in school for 17 year straight. Taking a few months off before committing to a job for the rest of your life with few breaks is not a waste of time. In fact, having studied student affairs quite a bit, students who take time off are less likely to be burnt out several years into their program than those who did not. You'll probably be fine without it, but equally as valid is taking a break and enjoying life.

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7 hours ago, Kaede said:

Yeahhhhhhhhhhh no. I've been in school for 17 year straight. Taking a few months off before committing to a job for the rest of your life with few breaks is not a waste of time. In fact, having studied student affairs quite a bit, students who take time off are less likely to be burnt out several years into their program than those who did not. You'll probably be fine without it, but equally as valid is taking a break and enjoying life.

To each their own, I'm just saying I knew quite a few people in my Masters program who wished they had taken the summer to prepare. People who took the summer off.

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