Grad School Sucks…Here are Some Tips

Hey Y’all,

First year Ph.D. student checking in. This first semester has been pretty trash. I kind of wish my blog were anonymous so I could go into detail, but it’s not, so I can’t lol.

Basically, if I were to summarize my first semester thus far it feels like I have too many things to do and there’s never enough time to do them between classes, lab rotations, fellowship applications and extracurriculars which have been left by the wayside because I know how to prioritize.

I’m taking a bunch of pharmacology classes which have been pretty challenging because I have *no* background in pharmacology so it’s a steep learning curve. We just started autonomic pharmacology which is basically studying a part of the peripheral nervous system, a term I haven’t heard since… God only knows when. That’s probably the steepest learning curve I’ve ever had in a class because there’s a good splash of neuroscience which I have NEGATIVE background in. On top of that, many of my classmates have research experience in pharmacology or have taken pharmacology or neuroscience courses so I’m really starting from ground zero.

We’ve had 4 lectures in autonomic pharmacology and I feel like I’ve absorbed a whole whopping 1% of the material. We have 10 classes  total and then a final so I’m like a deer caught in the headlights … this ain’t looking to good.

BUT, after unhealthily stressing over my OTHER pharmacology course, I’ve learned some effective stress management strategies.

  1. Don’t stress. Lol. Seriously, it’s a waste of time and energy that could be spent sleeping, pole dancing, eating icecream, living your best life. Just do your best and know that it’s enough.

    The nice thing about graduate school is that people want you to succeed. They want you to do well so they’ll work with you to get there.

  2. Talk to be people and get help!! Seriously, I know when you feel like crap you just want to burrow underground and curse the world. You can do that, but go talk to a mentor, someone in your program, and get HELP. Go to office hours, get a tutor, and be proactive EARLY.
  3. Be mindful of your attitude and keep a positive one! Pay attention to how you think about yourself and your expectations. Speak what you want into existence, focus on what you want (not what you don’t want). Your thoughts and attitude have a snowball effect. You can say “I’m going to fail this exam” or “I’m going to do everything possible to prepare for this exam the best I can.” Sure, maybe you end up failing anyway, but one of those statements is more uplifting than the other lol.But in all seriousness, you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. You don’t know what will be on the exam, you don’t know how you’ll perform, so you might as well assume the best and then cross whatever bridge there is when you get there. Thinking negatively will only give energy for an unwanted experience to manifest in your life. If you don’t think you can do something, no matter how able you are to actually do that thing , you won’t if you don’t believe in yourself first! Believing is seeing my friends, not the other way around.
  4. Remember that at some point, the smartest person in the world knew as little as you do. Stop comparing yourself to others. You have different backgrounds, journeys, and experiences. Your goal is to be the best version of yourself and do the best that you can.
  5. Take a break. Sometimes you just can’t, and that’s O.K. You need to know when it’s time to push through and time to go to sleep. You’re not going to master a letter grade’s worth of material between 12:00 and 3:00 am for your 9:00 am exam, go to bed fam.



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