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Dispelling graduate school myths

November 4, 2007

Myth #1: The academic year for graduate students is the same as the academic year for undergraduate students.

This is false.

Graduate students are expected to be working every hour of every day year long. Weekends are just days with no pesky classes of meetings to get in the way of your work. Those holidays you once thought were for enjoying family and festive activities – now they are valuable time for you to get work done. Winter and summer breaks are times that graduate students are expected to get more work done.

Myth #2: Graduate school leads to a higher degree which means you’ll make more money.

This is false and also especially dependent upon the area of your research.

Let’s just say that there is a chance that next year at this time I will be gainfully employed in an academic position with my Ph.D. and the manager at our grocery store will still be making more money than I am.

Myth #3: Graduate students gets used and abused by their departments.

This is both true and false.

I imagine that this can go either way depending on the department and adviser. I think it also depends on your pain threshold. Keep in mind that this is graduate school, not daycare, you are expected to live, breath and eat your subject 24 hours a day (notice that I do not mention sleep here, sleep is for the weak).

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