13 Things I Learned In Grad School (Originally Published 5/15/12)

Now that grad school is over, I can offer some pithy assessment. I'll be stentorian and stoic when I give my speech, but here's some fun.

Why 13? Because I like that number, fuck you. :)

1. Absolutely do not apply for, pay for, and attend graduate classes unless you can see a career ahead of you that the additional degree will help you achieve. You do not want to feel like you're spinning your wheels in the mud.

2. Your professors are smart. They're not all excellent professors. But you can learn something from all of them. Not everything, but something.

3. There will never be a level of schooling in which you are not, to at least some extent, doing work to fit some conception of what your evaluators want. This is both good and bad, but the point is you don't work in a vacuum. Remember this.

4. It really makes life more interesting when your whole life isn't consumed by one environment. I went part-time, but even if you go full-time, keep up hobbies, volunteer, anything so you're not in a school bubble for years.

5. Bibliographies have sucked since I was eleven. They will always suck. There is no escaping this suck. Use the internet to help you. And speaking of the internet, Blackboard sucks too.

6. Organization is your friend. You've long since left behind the time when hand-holding is feasible or even productive. You fall behind and it's on you.

7. "I work so much better at the very last minute" is not a thing you should keep saying. It happens sometimes, but try to avoid it being your MO. Because no one's going to accept sloppiness.

8. Sleep. Eat well. Exercise. Be healthy. Unlike college, we're adults now, and we need to act like it. 'Oh this paper is preventing me from eating.' No, you're preventing you from eating. You'll feel better if you treat yourself well.

9. Stop blacking out. Hangovers are no joke now. Heh.

10. I still have no idea what 'The Courtyard' is.

11. Cultivate productive relationships. With friends, lovers, peers, colleagues, family. Cut out the cancers and cherish the ones who matter. You don't need 2000 facebook friends either.

12. You always have more to learn...

13. But I'm pretty damn smart. :)

Hopefully some of you who have been through grad school - or are going through it - will find this resonant.

No post Thursday - graduating, and speaking! - so enjoy your week, folks.

Peace and love,
Justin PBG


Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality