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Friday, October 1, 2010

To be or not to be: A grad student’s dilemma



Many have been doing a lot of things lately without first thinking of reasons. “In the beginning was the deed, reasons come later”, that’s what I have always read in several of John le Carre’s spy novels. It’s an old German proverb that would probably make sense in our daily lives. There are certain things we end up doing and make us think in the midst of doing it. Why am I doing this? What have I gotten myself into? Sometimes we do a lot of things which we feel something is wrong so we try to create reasons for doing it just to save our face from humiliation or criticism. We human beings are such defensive organisms, aren’t we?

Well, if you have not gotten my point yet after reading through the first paragraph, try enrolling in a graduate course without first going through a process of formulating your own reasons for doing it, then you’ll start asking the same questions in the middle of your first semester.

I’ve heard lots of complains, comments, even frustrations from classmates during my graduate school years especially at the second half of a semester. This are the critical times since these are time for deadlines for requirements, reports, and research work.

During our undergraduate years, we know the reasons why we have to finish a degree. Majority of these reasons are somewhat universal which everyone already knows. So the troubles with deadlines are just part of the whole process. However in graduate school, reasons are subjective in nature. It depends upon the student’s occupation, motivation, dreams, and personality as far as reasons for going to graduate school is concerned. I am telling you, there are no wrong reasons for entering graduate school, only weak reasons.

I cannot personally tell you how to identify weak reasons from strong reasons. But I believe strong reasons are built upon a strong foundation. This strong foundation, I am telling you right now is built upon a thorough knowledge and understanding of the nature of graduate studies.

I have been asking myself after I have earned my master’s degree that if there has been a manual I have read beforehand about graduate school, would it be different? Will I have higher grades than what I have in my transcript of records? Would I be able to at least minimize the stresses and the worries I have experienced while in graduate school?

No one told me what to expect from graduate school, so I told myself if I have the time, I’ll find a way to reveal my experiences or just plainly tell everyone who cares to listen (or read) what everyone should know about graduate school.

This may be (or not) the realization of that idea. To create a space where every grad student (or those planning to be one) can feel at home and realize they are not alone.

This blog may be the answer. For those who are reading this, may this blog provide an inspiration if not an answer to your needs.

Please leave your comments below.

(Photo from: www.savagechickens.com)

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