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Peer Advice: Tips to Prepare for Graduate School

Image of graduate climbing to the top of books

Welcome all – first and foremost congratulations!

Embarking on the journey of a graduate student is an exhilarating yet challenging experience. While school can be demanding, remember to enjoy this amazing time in your life and make the most of it. Here are some tips and experiences that have helped me navigate school, and I hope it helps you too. 

1. Set Realistic Expectations

Graduate school will be challenging, but don’t let that dishearten you – you were meant to be here and don’t forget that! As you start this journey, set realistic expectations for yourself. Recognize that there will be ups and downs, successes and setbacks, and not everything will go exactly as planned. Embrace the learning process and understand that growth often comes from overcoming obstacles. Stay motivated and be sure to celebrate all of your amazing accomplishments along the way! 

2. Build Strong Relationships with Peers

I remember starting school the first day with peers that felt like strangers, who are now great friends and my biggest supporters. No one understands graduate school life more than your cohort who is going through it right alongside you, so lean on each other for support when you need it. Go outside of your comfort zone to build new relationships, find study groups, and participate in events both in and outside of school. 

3. Time Management Skills 

Simply put, graduate school can be overwhelming. It may feel impossible at times to balance life between coursework, relationships, hobbies, exercise, you name it. Develop a routine that works for you and allocate dedicated time for each of these important aspects in your life. School is your priority, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep doing the things you love to do. Be sure to still make time for your friends, relationships, and most importantly yourself.  It will be an adjustment at first, but I promise it can be done!

4. Seek Mentorship and Advice 

As you all know, getting accepted into a program is about as competitive as it gets, but once you start it is all about collaboration. Engage in conversations, attend office hours, and seek guidance from your peers, mentors, and faculty. Their perspectives can provide invaluable insight and guidance. You are not alone in this process and everyone around you wants you to succeed! Ask for help when you need it and utilize the amazing built in support system.

Congratulations again – you should be so proud of your accomplishments this far! Enjoy your time before school starts and continue to make the most of your experiences throughout your time at MBKU. You will all be exceptional clinicians.