As the semester comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on this past year. I have learned
in so much in what has felt like a short amount of time. Not only did I learn a lot through my classes but I have also learned a lot about Rochester itself. I have made friends, ate great food, and experienced new places and experiences. One of the best parts about being an RIT student is not just the classes that I have taken but the memories that I have created. From my first time trying Turkish food to visiting the beautiful parks in the area to watching my first live hockey game, there has not been a shortage of things to do. I have also learned so much in my classes. Before attending RIT, I had not been in a classroom in two years! There was definitely a bit of learning curve trying to ease myself back into the swing of things. Here is what I felt helped me the most getting through this semester and hopefully it helps you too:
- Time-management. I cannot stress this enough, as a student, father, and husband, I have had to balance my time and responsibilities in order to be successful at all three. My tip for time management: make productive use of your free time. Now, that is not to say that you should spending every free second studying, what I mean is that use your study time as an opportunity to be focused solely on studying. You should also make time to do things that you enjoy and socialize but do neither in excess. It is difficult but I have found that by finding balance that I have been able to do well at a variety of things instead of just one.
- Connect with your classmates. This is very important because you want to have a social life and people who are going through the same things that you are that you can vent to. It is also great to have a friend in class who can share notes with you, study with you, and help you through your struggles.
- Sleep. I know you may feel like that all-nighter will help you but trust me it won’t. You’ll regret it. My first semester, I sacrificed sleep so that I could get more work done. I pulled all nighters and would sleep from 2:00am to 6:00am basically everyday. I got sick repeatedly because of this. It was also not necessary. By learning to manage my time I have been able to get as much work done, if not more and have been getting a lot more sleep. Again, I cannot stress this enough: all-nighters are not worth it.
This may seem difficult at first and possibly even a little broad but I believe these three things are the most important takeaways I have as first year graduate student. I hope this helps you even little bit as you go through grad school or learn techniques that work best for you. Graduate school is not easy but I can say wholeheartedly that it is worth it.