Getting Back in The Grad School Zone

The view from room 903 in Building 618 S. Michigan Avenue makes attending financial management more enjoyable.

I must say that it is nice to be on campus again and getting back into the groove.  It is great to reunite with old faces and connect with some new ones.  The nerves of starting back up have dissipated, and I am getting back in the grad school zone.  In order for me to get into my grad school zone, I have to create a to do list.  This helps ease my mind and offers me some structure in a chaotic academic and social life.

My back to school to do list:

1. Order books and required class materials through my Amazon Student account

Using your Columbia e-mail allows you to register for a student account.  A student account comes with some pretty nifty benefits like free two-day shipping!  I think we have all been there when a teacher says you need the class book ASAP because you have an assignment due next week and don’t want to pay an arm and leg at the bookstore.

2.  Print out class schedule or send it to my smart phone

I always forget room numbers.  Also, Columbia’s site occasionally crashes, so in the case I need to remind myself where I am going, I have it readily available.

3. Read through your class syllabi

Some professors will get annoyed if ask a question that is clearly stated on the syllabus, so be prepared!

4.  Make time for homework

Summer-fun-time is over.  Make time for your homework and readings.  Stay on top your game.  It is bad news bears to get behind.  You do not want to be playing catch up during mid-terms and finals.  It is the WORST.

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5.  Schedule time to have fun

Seriously.  For those who are over achievers, you can’t just lock yourself in a room and only do school work.  Hang with your friends, watch TV, attend a concert, go to an art gallery, play a sport, make art, go to a restaurant, or grab a drink at the local watering hole.  Chicago has so many cool things to offer.  Taking a break from school is important and FUN.

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6.  Keep an eye out for a good study partners

Picking a good study group is imperative!  It doesn’t have to be your friends and sometimes it shouldn’t be.  Find people that you work well with.  You should seek out people that are dedicated to the study group, not socializing.

7. Get involved

There isn’t a lot of spare time being a grad student, but it is important to find something you can get involved in.  Getting involved builds your resume, strengthens your network and allows you to meet interesting people.  Columbia has a lot of cool things going on.

I suggest looking into the Graduate Manifest Project.  Manifest is an urban arts festival celebrating the creative works of Columbia students.  It takes place every year at the very end of the school year.

Last year, I volunteered at Manifest by dressing up as a bear at a tea party.