0 In University & Grad School

Grad School: 6 Things You Can Still Do

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When I arrived in St Andrews as a masters student, I was very focused on my work. I was excited at the idea to be intellectually challenge. What can I say, I’m a nerd! Obviously, upon arrival I made some friends and participated in as many activities during fresher’s week as possible. Quickly thereafter, I started focusing all my energy on my seminars. As you would expect, a masters in english lit requires a lot of reading. One of the first thoughts that came to mind was that I was afraid I would miss out on all the wonderful things that St Andrews has to offer. I realised then that I wanted it to be a wonderful year full of amazing things and experiences, not just a year with my nose in the books. Obviously that had some repercussions on my grades, but I do not regret it at all because I graduated with a very good degree from St Andrews and I also have a thousand memories that made my year there one of the best years of my life.

While focusing on your studies should be the main goal of your time in graduate school, there are a lot of things that postgraduate studies doesn’t stop you from doing. Here they are:

6. Sleep.

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

5. Staying healthy

Soooo okay, let’s be honest, when I got to St Andrews, I would study, see friends and eat, then repeat. A few months later, I realised I gained lots of weight. What had I been doing with my gym membership? Nothing. I kept having the excuse that ‘oh gosh the gym is like a 20 minutes walk away from the town centre’ so if in the morning I decide to head there for an hour, that’s already over an hour and a half I’ve wasted of reading time, plus the stretching and the shower afterwards. After a while of having this pathetic excuse, I realised that it’s not like I was doing so much more with my mornings. Instead of staying in bed and lounging in the morning, why not get up and head to the gym to at least feel a bit better about myself.  I found a gym buddy and started going a few times a week. While it helped me shave off a few pounds, it also helped me feel both mentally and physically better on a daily basis (as sport does).

really couldn't resist this gif!

really couldn’t resist this gif!

My eating habits started with good intentions but the more I went out later on in the year and the more I was stressed out with assignments, the more my cooking turned from healthy meals to pizza. We had a pretty unhealthy relationship with pizza in St Andrews. Pizza is so delicious! Mm pizza! …anyhow I digress. Halfway through the year, I started to cut some things out of my diet and started solely eating salad as a lunch and lighter dinners. It goes without saying that in the last month of my dissertation it took a hard left and pizza came back into my life.

4. School traditions.

Of course not all universities have such traditions as St Andrews, but there will always be some activities or events that are done every year and make your experience at that school stand out. Don’t miss out on those! I was very afraid I wouldn’t get to partake in student traditions in St Andrews because they are aimed mainly at undergrads and because I would probably be too busy, right? But I didn’t have any of that. I took it into my own hands to get my share of unforgettable memories! I forced my decrepit old self into an undergrad academic family, I ran into the north sea by myself, I attended a ball when I had an unfinished essay waiting for me on my desk and I regret nothing.

3. Clubs and societies.

Clubs and societies are a huge part of academic life. Not only do they bring fun to your life and make you meet like-minded people (or totally different people you would otherwise not get the chance to meet), but they also can add a nice touch to your CV. For these three reasons, I think participating in the social life at university is very important. Whether it’s running for a student council, being a member of a sports team or taking part in the knitting club. While a masters degree is a very intense and short degree, you unfortunately can’t wait to be ready or wait to have time because it might never happen! I know many people who regretted not taking the chance to join a club or two while in St Andrews. Especially when you live in a college town as social life tends to revolve around the university.  Last week I said we all need breaks not to go cuckoo and this is one way to do it!

2. Going out.

I didn’t go out much in the first semester because I didn’t really know people very well yet. It took a little bit of time for me to get used to people and feel comfortable with them. I now see some people I met in St Andrews as some of my very best friends. Going out with them early on in the year helped, that goes without saying. Going out can just mean going for a movies, or hanging out at a friend’s place, or going out to the pub. If you’re in Great Britain, odds are you’ll be invited at the pub about every night. That’s just part of the lifestyle. St Andrews was one of the towns with the most pubs per head in the UK, so you knew you were going to be out at one of them at least once a week. Having wild nights out is also still very possible in grad school!  In St Andrews, it was easy to just meet up at the pub for dinner and then finish off the night in a dancing party. It was a good way to release the pressure of grad school, forget about everything and just have fun. That’s necessary sometimes. And to be honest, I think alcohol helped me get through my dissertation..what? no? oh yeah me neither, that was just a joke….

1. Procrastinate

Ha! You thought it was going to be something super awesome, eh? Nope. I’m here to remind you not to believe you’ll suddenly be cured of your procrastination talents! And let’s be honest, everything I have mentioned before on this list is a form of procrastination. Even sleeping. Postgrad students don’t need sleep, obviously…

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{a cappella concert // polo match on the beach // post foam fight fun with the cousins // pg st andrews day ball}

That’s it for me today! What did you think postgraduate studies would stop you from doing and that you ended up doing? Would you have anything to add to my list? xx

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