Enjoy Graduate School at Rutgers

Feel excited when you know you’ve been accepted to graduate school? Or feel nervous, stressed or anxious? Just don’t let your emotions get in the way of setting yourself up to succeed once your new program starts.  Here are some small tips that might help you survive and enjoy graduate school at Rutgers.  First of all,

–Expect to be busy

You are a grad student now, the assignments you’re given will be more involved, the exams you take will need more preparation, and most importantly you’ll be spending much more of your time on academic work, whether it’s on research, thesis paper, or keeping on top of your studying. You need to take responsibility especially if you’re working in a group on a large project.

–Select the work you’re really passionate about

I can’t imagine you can devote hours on end working on something you can’t stand. The truth is that you’ll grow tired of it and simply won’t put forth the endless effort that it takes to get through days and nights of studying.  The bottom line is pick something you absolutely live and breathe so that you can keep moving towards your goal.

–Don’t forget you have an advisor

I’m not sure what the situation is in other departments, but in our computer science department, each graduate student will be assigned an academic advisor and later a research advisor. Your advisor is there to help with any questions you may have regarding programs, research, faculty issues, etc. It’s advisable to set up a regular meeting with your advisor to check in and see how things are progressing for you.

–Be tolerant of your mistakes

You are a graduate student, you are learning, and it’s normal to make mistakes. Seriously, don’t be so hard on yourself. What you’re doing is admirable and difficult. The world isn’t going to come to an end because you make a mistake, the earth won’t stop rotating because your research experiments haven’t gotten inspiring results yet as you expected.

–Take time to experience life

Through your courses and busy research work, remember to take time to experience life as well. You’re a grad student and you’re also young, life is versatile, it’s not only study and work, you deserve more.  Rutgers has a fantastic location, I won’t talk more about it here, there are many great posts in this blog, I’m sure you’ll find them and know where to go to have fun in the area. And last but not least,

–Love your school

Yes, love Rutgers, love where you’re living and the school where you’re studying. You know, not everyone is as lucky as you to be accepted in. Maybe it’s not ranked number one in your field, but somehow I believe in destiny, what you get is actually what is most suitable for you. The miracle is, when you realize that, you feel happy every day, you feel proud of Rutgers, you feel lucky to be a grad student at Rutgers, and you’ll be full of confidence to overcome any difficulties that may happen during the journey.

Love your school, and enjoy your graduate life at Rutgers.

Be yourself and don’t take things too seriously

It’s almost a year since I came Rutgers as a graduate student, and I have to say: “Oh, I love it here!” To new graduate students, I’d like to share my experience here with you: don’t take things too seriously, and I bet you’ll love Rutgers too!

Enjoy your time at Rutgers!

There are smiles and tears in this first year.  I enjoy the knowledge I get from my courses – I want to learn. I’m happy to be a good TA, and I make the effort to improve each recitation I give. It’s always great to meet cute and kind people, and at Rutgers you’ll meet many.

Sometimes I distance myself from the crowd, not because I am too shy to show my friendship, on the contrary, it’s exactly because I want to develop friendships. It’s important to maintain friendship with people in your work circle, which is a key element in guaranteeing efficiency and cooperation in a research project, and a happy environment for study and working. Always keep in mind that studying and doing research is why you have come to Rutgers.

Be yourself and don’t take things too seriously.

Maybe you have a general goal for yourself when entering graduate school — you know what you are interested in and ready to dedicate yourself to research in your area of interest, however, life is not always as you expect it to be. It’s not always how hard you’re willing to work — there are many things that you cannot control — but what you can do is to find a balance between your goals and the environment you are in.

Maybe you like a research group very much but decide that it would not further your research goals; maybe you have found a suitable group but realize that you have not sufficient passion for the particular project and need to dig out a topic that you like.  Be yourself, and don’t hesitate discussing the project with your professor, letting him/her know what you want to do and getting suggestions. Everything is changing very fast — just remember to keep your goal in mind and be ready to adjust it as necessary to stay in balance with your environment.

Think a second time before making decisions, try your best to accomplish everything you decide to do, keep in mind your life goals, and find balance with the changing world — that’s it —  nothing to regret, and enjoy every day. Like an old song said “whatever will be, will be”.