Grad school survival guide (a.k.a. How to not live in a box)

lazure

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Contact grad students in your dept and ask about students that are moving out. Often there are appartments that are handed down thru generations of students :)
 
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paramour

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Grrr . . . double post.
 

paramour

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WHAT! Some universities give SPSS licenses away for free :wow:

To think I had to download some back alley virus-infected illegal Chinese version to do my dissertation. Wait ... I meant pay over a thousand dollars for the privilidge of one-year's worth of statistical analysis in accordance with the intellectual property laws of this great nation.

:laugh: Yeah, I about threw a fit when I realized other universities (not my own unfortunately) gave away licenses for SPSS & SAS. My stats professor kept telling me not to worry about it and use what was on-campus . . . Good thing I ignored him and upgraded to the SPSS Gradpack anyway because the campus licenses expired back in January, and no one has yet to renew them. :rolleyes: Of course, I previously had a really old student version of SPSS that expired this past year, which is why I needed another, but still . . . it's a university! You'd think they would keep up with things like this. It's, like, important and schtuff.
 

sikestudent

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This is not the first time I have heard this advice. At one of my interviews the grad students were saying that they had to get used to the idea of "good enough" when it comes to grades.

Is this going to be hard for anyone else besides me? I am a typical Type-A person when it comes to grades (e.g., I just got a B+ which lowered my GPA .007 and I'm still not over it). My husband says he's going to buy me a plaque that says "Good is the enemy of great."

How do you stop working for the A's after all these years? :confused:


Besides for the personal acheivement aspect, won't grades be a large factor when it comes to applying for competitive APA internships? :idea:
 

RayneeDeigh

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I'm starting to REALLY worry.

When I was making up my mind about the school everyone told me that an apartment would be so easy to find and affordable. Now that I really do need one, it seems the situation has changed. I want to go there ASAP but I've been told that they likely won't let me sign leases if they lose out on the summer rent.

ARGH *primal scream* I had no idea that finding a place to live would be this stressful.

Sorry I just needed to vent.
 

Shrinkydink

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Besides for the personal acheivement aspect, won't grades be a large factor when it comes to applying for competitive APA internships? :idea:
I applied to internship this year, and although sites certainly require your transcript as part of your application, I can't say that I've ever heard of it playing much of a role in the selection process. I imagine that a particularly bad grade may stand out, and the site may ask you about it at the interview, but I don't think it would be a make-or-break factor in getting an interview. (And if you have a good answer about why/how it happened, it probably won't be make-or-break in terms of getting the spot, either.) There was recent article in GradPsych about the factors that training directors at internship sites value most when evaluating a candidate (http://gradpsych.apags.org/mar07/internship.html)--basically the most important criteria are 1) Interviews, 2) Essays, and 3) Letters of Rec.
 

paramour

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I applied to internship this year, and although sites certainly require your transcript as part of your application, I can't say that I've ever heard of it playing much of a role in the selection process. I imagine that a particularly bad grade may stand out, and the site may ask you about it at the interview, but I don't think it would be a make-or-break factor in getting an interview. (And if you have a good answer about why/how it happened, it probably won't be make-or-break in terms of getting the spot, either.) There was recent article in GradPsych about the factors that training directors at internship sites value most when evaluating a candidate (http://gradpsych.apags.org/mar07/internship.html)--basically the most important criteria are 1) Interviews, 2) Essays, and 3) Letters of Rec.
FYI - your link has a few extra characters on the end that need to be removed in order for it to work properly.
 

54321

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I have a few questions for current students:
1) About how much do you spend on rent for your apartment and how has that worked with your stipend?
2) What are breaks like? ..Christmas, Summer..is it possible to go home right after finals or is there still stuff to do that can't be taken home with you?
 

psy86

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2) What are breaks like? ..Christmas, Summer..is it possible to go home right after finals or is there still stuff to do that can't be taken home with you?
This varies a lot by program. In my program, everyone is expected to be here and working on research and practicum as much as possible, even when classes are out. I work through the summer and through part of winter break. It feels more like a regular job than like school, in that sense. Although there's no official bank of "time off"-- I just ask my advisor if it's okay if I take off when I need to. I typically take off about 3 weeks per year.
 

ilikepsych

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I was wondering whether graduate students would recommend living with other students from the program or not (I don't know anyone yet in my incoming class). I have heard that it can be great because you can help each other with work, as well as the obvious financial benefit. However, some people have also warned me that it is way too much time to spend with one person, since all your classes are also together, and that first-years often end up comparing and competing with each other. Personally, I enjoy having roomates but have heard from several people that it often doesn't work out well for incoming students that don't know each other yet to live together (i.e. the demands of the program interfere with the formation of a healthy friendship).
 

Therapist4Chnge

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I have only had experience living with a non-grad person, and I've loved it. I don't talk much psych around him, and he doesn't talk about his job around me. We see each other a decent amount, but we have plenty of space. He was a former grad student (another discipline) so he has a general idea of the workload, and is really respectful of it.

I think if you can room with someone in a diff program, it may work well. They will 'get it'....without being a reflection of what you are going through.

-t
 

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Exercise-I go up and down stairs whenever possible to exercise. I had a few classes on the ninth floor and always used the stairs to get there. I also do up and down the ones in my house for like 45 minutes a day.

Food-go to sam's wharehouse, don't eat out more than once a week and by eat out i mean subway and not the olive garden. If you are are overweight, cut back on portions and buy less and then not only will you lose weight, but you will have more money. I walk to and from the grocery store with heavy groceries also.

Clothes-marshall's or t.j. maxx always has cheap, but trendy clothes. Buy stuff on sale in the winter for what you need in the summer and vice versa.

Funding-get good grades in undergrad and you can get into a top grad program. these programs are always better funded and can offer full stipends, full tuition, and grad assistanships. State schools can offer partial tuition and assistanships and merit scholarships. Private schools offer few assistanships and scholarships if not at the top. If you are already in grad school and you work your company may offer tuition reimbursement options.

Computers-build one by youself and save half the cost, I do it.

Movies-every public library has tons of dvds and vhs tapes and even music. I know this guy who both him and his wife are doctors and i've seen him at the public library doing this.

Transportation-take the bus, I do. if you need to go to another city by bus, train, or plane, get them as early as possible to get a discount.
 

wdd

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I'm not in school yet, but I've been in grad school before, and I have been poor, too ...

Food:

Say good bye to Whole Foods, and a big, warm hello to Trader Joes! I've been going there for a couple of years now, and I still marvel at how they can sell so much of the same things you can get at WF for half the price. I'm not a foodie, but I won't live off of ramen, either. TJs has a ton of inexpensive frozen fish (real fish, not "sticks"), vegetarian food like burritos, shumai, spanakopita, pizza, etc. They also have good prices on bread, beer (their "store brand" beers are surprisingly good), coffee, and fruit.

If you cook a lot from scratch, you'll still have to go to the regular grocery store for some staples, but we tend to get 85% of our stuff from TJs.

If you must go out to eat on a regular basis, and have someone to go with, consider becoming a member of your local NPR station. At the $10/month level, you'll get a member card, which gives you 2-for-one deals at many restaurants.

Also, learn to love Indian food. Buffets are cheap, the food is relatively healthy (much more so than your average Chinese buffet), and it's very filling. I also recommend Dim Sum, which is also cheap and relatively good for you. Just don't go crazy, and you can get away with a nice-sized meal for two under $15.

Clothes:

J Crew, Gap, and Banana Republic all have items on sale continuously. If you keep your eyes open, J Crew will occasionally knock another 20-25% off their sale prices. If you're a clothes-hound and need to feed the monkey occasionally, sign up for their email lists, and you'll be notified of all the sales. Also, Old Navy is still very cheap, and surprisingly current.

For running gear, look to see if there is a marathon or half marathon coming up. If so, there might be an expo, and companies will sell off old stock cheap!


Exercise:

Yes, of course, for your health and sanity! A lot of schools have a fitness center that's either free or cheap. If you live in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, or Wisconsin, there might be a Cardinal Health nearby. They're $20/month ($32 for couples), which is ridiculously cheap for a gym. They might not have all the fancy classes and perfect equipment, but it's a gym.

More for runners: If you can swing it, run a race every now and then. They're not terribly expensive (though they can add up), and if you find a well-sponsored one, there will be scads of goodies, goodies that the volunteers don't want to have to pack up! We've walked away with bags of single-serve cereal, hand creams, visors, powdered Gatorade, bottled water and Propel, fruit, coffee, and more ... some races even supply bagels, pizza, and beer at the end. Not to mention the race T-shirt (which, if it's a technical shirt, it sometimes worth more than the entry fee) and coupons you'll find in the race packet. Oh, right, and the sense of accomplishment, blah blah ...

Tech:

If you use Macs, or need a new iPod, check out the online Apple store' refurbished section. The prices on there are pretty good, and if you're willing to step down a generation, they're even better. I just bought a new second-gen iPod nano for 50% off the original price, and it has the same warranty as a new one.

Movies:

If there's a Kerasotes theater nearby, join the Five-Buck Club.

Auto:

If your car "requires" 89 or 93 octane gas, use 87 or 89. Unless it's a much-older car, you won't notice any performance or economy difference, and you'll save ten cents a gallon. Obviously, do all the other things you need to do to keep your mileage up, like making sure your tires are properly inflated, your oil is in good shape, etc. Check your manual to see how often you really need to change your oil. Most people thnk it has to be done every 3000 miles, but some cars don't require it till 5000, or 7500. That will save a ton of money, not to mention use less oil. Ideally, you'll learn to do it yourself, too. I know this sounds lame, but I drive 70 miles a day, so it's always on my radar. Every cent counts, right?

Also:

Torrents. That's all I'll say about that.

Okay, this was supposed to be short ... hope this helps a little.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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Great info. I miss Trader Joe. :( I use to live 10 minutes from one and I'd shop there every couple of days. GREAT fish, awesome niche products (no walmart-like products, but a ton of mom and pop products).

-t
 

paramour

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Great info. I miss Trader Joe. :( I use to live 10 minutes from one and I'd shop there every couple of days. GREAT fish, awesome niche products (no walmart-like products, but a ton of mom and pop products).

-t
I still have yet to make my way into one. Everyone keeps raving about it, so I really should get into town one of these days so I can check it out for myself.
 

KatBrainGeek

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hey everyone! I just wanted to say hello I just joined :) and this seemed like a good thread to say hello!
-Kat:D
 

psychwanabe

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:laugh:

I was re-reading through this and your comment made me crack up....again.

-t
So glad I could provide some mirth in your day. :rolleyes:

And while I have tried to embrace the B, "be the B" if you will, I still think it's a bad grade!
 

Peripheral7

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I wish I had read some of these threads when I was in graduate school. Although there is not sure shot method of making the best of it since everyone is so different, here's some of my ideas of what to do and what Not to do so you have a relatively decent life during and after...
Go to grad school in a major city if possible - more things to do when you're not busy studying - ie, restaurants, movies, live music, etc. Also, there are usually more options in big cities for internships, fellowships and jobs afterwards if you choose to stay (which can also be based on the connections you make during school); and, if you're like me and my friends in psych, you will want to see your own therapist, and big cities just have more therapists, which means you'll have a better chance of finding one who's good and who possibly has a sliding scale (even better, cities with psychonalytic institutes often offer very cheap psychoanalytic therapy or analysis if you see a 'candidate,' which is underutilized and a great resource). And I'm always surprised I don't hear this more - if you're going to be a therapist GET IN Therapy - no rationalizations about how it's too expensive - it's the best money you'll ever spend if you find a good shrink, and if your're really serious about becoming a therapist you're being irresponsible and living in denial thinking you don't have any issues or possible blind spots to work on. If you're set on academics or doing testing, etc (non-therapy) work, then I'd say get in therapy too but it's not as key. But, even if you're not in a major city, there are things to do that will make it easier - saving money - well, rent as small a place as you can stand - i got a small studio in great neighborhood in a major city for a great price - and if i wanted to save more i could have had roommates or lived in worse area but then it's more difficult to study alone with roommates (distractions) and worse areas offer less to do when you have down time (again).. plus you don't wanna be worried about crime while you're in school. So, i say get loans if you need them for a decent area but a small, reasonable apt/house not too far from foodshopping, restaurants, etc. One mistake I made though - I got too many loans to help pay for everything - It was great to be Able to get them but now I have a helluva lot to pay off so borrow wisely (preferably just federal and no private too). I agree with a previous thread about meeting/making friends with peopel who are not in psych if possible - definitely makes it nicer when you wanna unwind. I spent most of my free time with classmates but it was definitely nice to meet new friends who weren't in psych and to spend time with friends from before psych grad school. I went out to eat as much as I could afford b/c I enjoy that - I also went to hear music a lot on weekends, movies all the time (I disagree with the no TV thread above) - it's true most TV is garbage but if you're a sports or movie lover like me, then it's a great for downtime. Regarding exercise, I saved money and time by going to an exercise equipment outlet/retailer and buying some pads to put on the carpet of my studio, bought a wt bench and several sets of dumbbells as well as a gym ball - I could cover all muscle groups in my apt at any time of day or night - which was very nice - working out at midnight was not uncommon for me - without wasting time walking or driving to a gym and without the monthly fees (the home kit paid for itself very quickly). I miss that now actually. I wish I had gotten to know my professors better than I did but a lot of that was b/c they were not the most approachable bunch I'd ever met - they didn't encourage it which was lame. But, still, I could have put in extra effort - talk to the ones you like often and USE them for their knowledge, resources and connections - that's what they're there for - plus when it comes time to get references, the better they know you, the more easily they can write you nice long rec's. I used a bike the first few years to get to class to save money and it was good extra exercise, then had to get a (used) car during my clinical externships. I agree that it's not important to get straight A's and passing the most important thing but I have encountered jobs, fellowships, etc that ask for transcripts so be forewarned (I think they DO matter somewhat). I'd say it's more important to just pass your school's comp exams than to just pass in coursework - I say that b/c no potential employed has or will ever have access to my comp exam grade. Regarding comp exams, overprepare if possible. Try not to prascrinate with dissertation stuff of course but that's nothing new to learn. Get the internship applications in EARLY so you don't have to sweat the deadlines and you can drop or add ones without any last minute frantic feelings. Another thing to consider - the faculty at my school evaluated us all the time (our fitness to practice) - they ended up holding some students back to the students' surprise when it came to doing clinical work so watch what you say when you're in the student/faculty lunchroom or outside the chair's office,etc. Be responsible, professional and warm/friendly. If that doesn't help you gain the respect of your professors, then they're the ones in need of additional therapy. We had guy wear flipflops and that might seem hardly anything to scoff at but I could tell our chair and professor did not appreciate it b/c we were in a circle and our chair was not supercasual and this guy looked too casual for the chair's taste. Clothing shouldn't matter but it does in the perceptions of at least some professors. I am very casual and wore very casual clothes to classes but not TOO casual (ie, tanktops, flipflops). And when it comes time to do clinical work, dress decent. I wore oxford type shirts with khakis typically. When you do your internship, start planning for your fellowship asap (if you want one, which I recommend for anyone) - otherwise you'll be stuck with nothing possibly - waiting to get hired for a regular job. Fellowships are lame in that they don't pay much but you can specialty training and it'll help you get the job your really want after just a year or two more. That's all I can think of for now. Hope this helps a few people at least.
 

Markp

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Some workout stuff for those who want to try to keep in shape at a minimal of expense and equipment.

http://www.iwantsixpackabs.com/my_video_journal.html

This guy has workouts that are tough, and they are free... lots of decent eating and exercise advice. He has a commercial site but the above is a free site. (I know that may border on a prohibited link, so if it's edited out search on "iwantsixpackabs abs.html" on myspace or google.)

Another tip is adjustable dumbells. The set I have go from 2.5 lbs to 90 lbs per dumbbell. The great thing is they take up like one square foot of living space.
If you want a recommendation on a great set, PM me.

A pull-up bar takes nearly 0 space and makes another low cost fitness investment.

Now I do live in a box, but I have a fair amount of equipment taking up very little space. My place is 800 square feet. That's it, not a lot of room.

Mark
 

Boston2k

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I've noticed a few posts in this thread about the tyranny of SPSS. Another package that is available is known as "R" - it does everything SPSS does and sometimes more, and it's free! It's often used by statistics departments. Get the "R Commander" package within the program and you can select your analyses by clicking like you do with SPSS. The scripting is more cryptic, more akin to SAS, and R Commander isn't exactly as comfy as SPSS, but combining R Commander with minor adjustments to the syntax has done me well so far. Plus, you'll be breaking the SPSS monopoly. In fact, SPSS is so afraid of them that they've included processing of R syntax as part of the newest release of SPSS.

Link to Wikipedia pages with relevant information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_Project
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_Commander

I also like using Linux, and this program looks even more friendly than R Commander, but I haven't tried it yet, it might be my next thing to look at:
http://rkward.sourceforge.net/
 

SingleGirl

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I was wondering whether graduate students would recommend living with other students from the program or not (I don't know anyone yet in my incoming class). I have heard that it can be great because you can help each other with work, as well as the obvious financial benefit. However, some people have also warned me that it is way too much time to spend with one person, since all your classes are also together, and that first-years often end up comparing and competing with each other. Personally, I enjoy having roomates but have heard from several people that it often doesn't work out well for incoming students that don't know each other yet to live together (i.e. the demands of the program interfere with the formation of a healthy friendship).

My first year, I lived with two geology graduate students. That was a nice break because there was no reason to talk shop with them when I was at home. They had much more free time so they cooked for me and helped out around the house.

Second year, I lived w/one girl from my program and one of the geo grads. I was already slightly annoyed w/program girl before she moved in and living with her sealed the deal. Anytime one of us would miss class, the entire class would pester us to know who was where, etc. Assignments were a nightmare b/c she was a stress case nutjob who would knock on the door @ 3 am just to procrastinate. I love her, but I'd rather eat maggoty cheetos than live with her again.

I hope to live alone during my next go @ grad school. The type of program really had nothing to do w/my roommate. She was easily the most intelligent person in the program and constantly doing nerdycool things but I just found I did not feel like wasting the energy to be anyone's friend during the hard times.

We did compete because we were two who had "stepped down" from our dreams of doctoral psych to settle for the hometown MSW but I wouldn't say that competition was a problem for us. Her being annoying and me being a witch was a problem for us...

Good luck!
 

Beamformer

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Take advantage of your student status to get cheap tickets to the symphony and other concerts or events. I know some symphonies have student programs that allow you to purchase great seats for about 1/3 the cost.
 

blindchaos

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My first year, I lived with two geology graduate students. That was a nice break because there was no reason to talk shop with them when I was at home.
Along these lines....I would strongly encourage having a set of friends well outside the psych/soc area of study/work and outside of school. This is not to say that you shouldn't have psych/school friends, but it's easy to fall into the trap of talking about psych/school all the time when hanging out with psych/school friends. It's so refreshing to go out with friends and not talk about anything related to psych every once in a while :oops: On the downside, sometimes non-psych people will bring up stuff (ie: "so what's your diagnosis for Britney Spears??") or worse yet, bring up their own personal stuff when you're just out trying to relax and have a good time but hey, you're a psychologist in training, you can interpret this dream or at the very least listen to an extensive familial history of mental health issues. :mad:

I guess what I'm trying to say is just have a balance with your psych life and non-psych life - have interests/activities outside the field of psych and do them regularly without constantly talking about psych/clients/classes/etc - HAVE FUN! :)
 

Katpsych

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Another route to saving money is to pay attention to energy bills and see whether and where you can save money.

Electricity
Change the light bulbs in your house to energy savings ones, use fluorescent light. Switch off the lights in rooms you are not using.

Limit the use of an aircon as much as possible, try using an electric fan instead. It can be done! I live in humid tropical Thailand and use the aircon at night. Don't forget to close the door of the room in which are using the aircon.

In case you need a heater, make sure to minimize the area you are heating. Set the temperature at approximately 18 Celsium and wear a sweater.

When you buy appliances, compare how much energy they will be using. There are a lot of "green" appliances on the market these days.

Old-fashioned budgeting
Whenever I have to make to do with little money, like at this moment, I like to allot money. At the beginning of each month I put money (in cash) aside (in separate enveloped) for telephone, public transport, petrol, living expenses. Basically, all the fixed expenses plus a small reserver. And unless there are emergencies, I stick with that budget. Gives you a good idea as well on how much you are spending on different items.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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Old-fashioned budgeting
Whenever I have to make to do with little money, like at this moment, I like to allot money. At the beginning of each month I put money (in cash) aside (in separate enveloped) for telephone, public transport, petrol, living expenses.
This works! This is actually how I handle my gambling trips....I put aside money for food, gambling, etc. Each day has an envelope for gambling/food....so I don't dip into other days. So if/when I win a bunch of money, it goes back in the envelope and I start back at my base amount the next day. Whatever my net is (if positive), the money goes towards incidentals or other expenses the next month.
 

Hawkeye08

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I have a question for those of you in long distance relationships while in graduate school. My boyfriend and I have been dating for five years, and he will be at home in Chicago while I will be in Kansas for probably the next 5 years. I was just wondering if you are able to talk every night/see eachother a couple times a month while there are a million other things going on in graduate school. We have done the long distance thing once before when we started dating, and it obviously worked out fine. Any advice would be wonderful!
 

Therapist4Chnge

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I have a question for those of you in long distance relationships while in graduate school. My boyfriend and I have been dating for five years, and he will be at home in Chicago while I will be in Kansas for probably the next 5 years. I was just wondering if you are able to:
talk every night
Probably....at least usually, though midterms, finals, comps, and research deadlines may bump some of that time.

see each other a couple times a month
No way. Unless he can travel and see you, don't expect to be leaving campus much outside of some time around the winter holidays, and MAYBE some time over the summer.

We have done the long distance thing once before when we started dating, and it obviously worked out fine. Any advice would be wonderful!
Understand that you are going to be under a great deal more stress (typically), and that it will be a challenge.

Why no ring?
 

Psychie1

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I have a question for those of you in long distance relationships while in graduate school. My boyfriend and I have been dating for five years, and he will be at home in Chicago while I will be in Kansas for probably the next 5 years. I was just wondering if you are able to talk every night/see eachother a couple times a month while there are a million other things going on in graduate school. We have done the long distance thing once before when we started dating, and it obviously worked out fine. Any advice would be wonderful!

My boyfriend and I are doing long distance right now (I'm in my first year of grad school) and, aside from the fact that I absolutely hate living in different states, overall it's working out fine on both our ends (he's in Chicago, I'm in Iowa). We definitely talk everday, multiple times a day, but he understands if I can only talk for a few minutes at a time on some days. It's nice to be able to at least hear from each other often, even if only briefly each time. I also try to multi-task (e.g. talk to him on the phone while I cook dinner) which gives me the opportunity to talk to him without taking up my working time.

We actually see each other multiple times a month, but this is because he is able to travel to me the majority of those times. It forces me to be extra-focused during the week to make sure I have a little free time on the weekends, and most times he has to give me some time to work even if he's here, or sometimes he'll just stay for one night so that I can still have one night plus a full weekend day for work. And, of course, during really busy/stressful times, we just can't have the visit.

The way I think about it, grad school is my life now, so I need to be able to fit all of my "life" into it, including him!

Best of luck!
 

Hawkeye08

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Thanks guys! That's really helpful. The reason we aren't engaged yet is because he is also graduating in May, and while he has a job lined up, he wants to be able to afford a ring and not just finance it, so he wants to save up his money once work starts in June. While I probably won't be able to fly home often to see him, he is willing to come out to see me. So even if he just watches me do work, I guess that's better than nothing! Thanks for the advice!
 

Hawkeye08

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The way I think about it, grad school is my life now, so I need to be able to fit all of my "life" into it, including him!
PS That is an awesome way of looking at the situation and it helps me not get so stressed out about everything ;)
 

zgotts

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Nurture a passion outside of school. Devote time to it. Devote financial resources to it.
First of all, great thread, thanks for all the input from everyone!

Anyways, this quote here is interesting to me. Part of what scares me about grad school is that i will, in fact, be living "in a box". I understand the seriousness of the commitment, and I will most certainly treat it as my job, and more so as my life. However, I always here horror stories that "so-and-so has no life now that she's in grad school, i never talk to her!"

Is it really that bad? I am very passionate about music, and would hate to see that part of my life be removed from my life. I know that it certainly won't be a top priority, and I may not be able to sit down and play for days or even weeks, but I just don't want to have to erase all other interests.

Do you current students feel that it is still possible to maintain other interests, so long as they don't get in the way of your studies?
 
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Ollie123

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Sure you can maintain other interests! If you want to play music for 2 hours a day, you're in trouble, but you can always make time for things that are important to you. You won't have tons of free time, but how you spend the free time you do have is up to you.

As for the long distance relationship thing - I'm about 1500 miles from my girlfriend right now.

I have no idea how you could pull off seeing eachother a couple times a month unless he always comes to you. We'll probably see eachother 4-5 times this year. More would be possible, but I didn't want to push it my first year and I'm lucky enough to have a very understanding girlfriend;)

And yes, oftentimes when he comes to visit you will be working. And you'll quickly learn that breaks are not "breaks", breaks are "Time to get caught up on other work". For example, very few people leave for all of winter break. Any who do likely bring a substantial amount of work with them.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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And yes, oftentimes when he comes to visit you will be working. And you'll quickly learn that breaks are not "breaks", breaks are "Time to get caught up on other work". For example, very few people leave for all of winter break. Any who do likely bring a substantial amount of work with them.
After my first semester of grad school I needed to practice some WISC stuff, so I brought a kit home with me to practice on my little cousins. Who can say party time?! :hardy:
 

LMK

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Exercise: Pilates/yoga. Get a couple DVDs at Target or the Library and learn some of the routines you like. Then you can do your own while you watch tv on a break for a half hour. And you can do it before you go to bed if you want, doesn't rev you up like cardio does.

Food: Cook. And get a crockpot. Nothing like coming home to a dinner that's ready and smells yummy! Cheap snacks - high protein keeps you full, go for string cheese. And low carb stuff, sugar takes you up and then drops you, no good for studying.

Work: The best job I had was as an evening receptionist at a nursing home. 5-9pm. I got fed (ok, some of the food was scary, but I got free food). Most of the staff was gone and the phones were usually quiet. Could write my papers on the computer at work. Highly recommend this job!

Sleep: get some. Don't read your textbooks in bed. Sleepytime tea, half hour before bed, gets all that school and stress out of your head and helps you fall asleep. Great stuff.

Shop at Big Lots.
 

moonflwr

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Did anyone read "Surviving Graduate School in psychology"? its on the APA website and I was trying to decide if it is worth buying.

Edit: I just looked on Amazon and apparently it doesn't come out until April 15th (coincidence? I think not). So I think I might pick it up. Here's the description:

"... Kuther, a leading authority in professional and academic development, provides pragmatic, step-by-step advice for new graduate students on such essential topics as managing your money; adapting to unspoken rules; navigating departmental politics; understanding how and where learning takes place; maintaining personal and professional relationships, thriving in practicum and internships; and developing an identity as a psychologist."

Sounds like stuff I want to know!
 

islandgirl1

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I saw that and wondered if it'll be a good read as well.
I just grabbed 'Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an MA or a Ph.D.' by Dr. Robert Peters and am in the process of reading it.
 

FSUJenner

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Did anyone read "Surviving Graduate School in psychology"? its on the APA website and I was trying to decide if it is worth buying.

Edit: I just looked on Amazon and apparently it doesn't come out until April 15th (coincidence? I think not). So I think I might pick it up. Here's the description:

"... Kuther, a leading authority in professional and academic development, provides pragmatic, step-by-step advice for new graduate students on such essential topics as managing your money; adapting to unspoken rules; navigating departmental politics; understanding how and where learning takes place; maintaining personal and professional relationships, thriving in practicum and internships; and developing an identity as a psychologist."

Sounds like stuff I want to know!
I pre-ordered it through Amazon. I'm excited to read it!
 

moonflwr

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I saw that and wondered if it'll be a good read as well.
I just grabbed 'Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an MA or a Ph.D.' by Dr. Robert Peters and am in the process of reading it.

Is it worth picking up?
 

psychdude5469

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I saw that and wondered if it'll be a good read as well.
I just grabbed 'Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an MA or a Ph.D.' by Dr. Robert Peters and am in the process of reading it.

Has anyone read this? Worth it?
 

saribou13

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My first semester syllabii had me reading 500+ pages a week - and that didn't include assignments, paper, presentations, etc. I openly admit this to anyone (including the professors): I got through less than half of it.

My #1 lesson of grad school - do what you need to get through it (no, bare minimum isn't good either)! I saw many friends/fellow students overextend themselves - and really suffered for it in the end (and didn't get ahead).

A major part of school was just time management, self-care, creating for yourself a life that you would model for your clients...

One big thing (for me) was major communication and adjusting with my bf (now husband). He learned very quickly that my needs changed: i.e. - he could not bother me during major work/study time; I needed him to share some major portion of chores (shopping, cooking, cleaning, pet care, etc); and that despite all efforts - I would be chronically stressed (at least for the first 4 years).

Food is good. I always had a stock of portable foods - apples, bananas, muffins, pretzels, crackers, dry cereal, leftovers. Most professors don't mind eating in class as long as it's not a distraction (crunchy, loud, messy). I discovered the George Foreman way too late - easy, fast - my fav's: quesadilla, grilled veggies, perogies, chicken. And, save $$$ on bottled H2O and invest in a Nalgene and Brita.

And remember to sleep. It is worth it.
Thanks for this post. I am already on a tight budget, my boyfriend and I share expenses but neither of us make that much money, and we live in a major city. Even so, I will be halving my paycheck by going to grad school. It's definitely daunting, because I already feel like we do all those things anyway, and it's still hard to make ends meet.

My other main concern would be my relationship with my boyfriend (soon to be fiance). I definitely think it's important to maintain a work-life balance, and I wonder how feasible that is in a PhD program. I am determine to make it work, at all costs, but I'm interested to hear feedback from those who have gone through (or are going through) a doctoral program while in a serious, committed relationship??

*MOD NOTE: New thread HERE, to discuss relationships & grad school.*
 
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PHSDarrell

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I've read some great postings, so will attempt to talk about what not to do, of course everything that I did and really burned out prematurely.

1. Devote as much time as you could to reading, writing or preparing for each and every class. Accepting nothing less than excellence.
2. Not choosing to make outside friends from school.
3. Not attending to my spiritual needs.
4. Attempting with everything in me to get that A.
5. Not exercising regularly and instead drinking coffee and living at the library.
6. Never being satisfied with myself if I got a B or below a 3.5 for the qtr.
7. Choosing to eat out of convienience rather than with discipline, since everyone else is doing it and getting fat.
8. Not looking at the big picture and just enjoying the moment and the people and taking life, myself and the professors too seriously.
9. Not accepting that as bad as it can be at times, that it is only temporary and this too will pass-may not be soon enough though.
10. Choosing the endless papers to do instead of investing in those that want to invest in me, solid friends, family, a neighbor.
11. Choosing people to be in my groups that I knew would be as driven as I would be.
12. Lastly, taking myself and my education so stinkin', serious that i forget to smell the roses, forget to give of myself to others and try everything possible NOT to realize that grad school is a very self interested/self focused time and to make all attempts possible to keep people around me that can balance the stressors and will allow themselves to be fragile people, like myself.
13. Oh, and the best for last. Taking what people, professors said to me and about me to be the gospel. By the way, only I get that privilege and it gets lost so quickly in grad school!
 

psybee

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I've read some great postings, so will attempt to talk about what not to do, of course everything that I did and really burned out prematurely.

1. Devote as much time as you could to reading, writing or preparing for each and every class. Accepting nothing less than excellence.
2. Not choosing to make outside friends from school.
3. Not attending to my spiritual needs.
4. Attempting with everything in me to get that A.
5. Not exercising regularly and instead drinking coffee and living at the library.
6. Never being satisfied with myself if I got a B or below a 3.5 for the qtr.
7. Choosing to eat out of convienience rather than with discipline, since everyone else is doing it and getting fat.
8. Not looking at the big picture and just enjoying the moment and the people and taking life, myself and the professors too seriously.
9. Not accepting that as bad as it can be at times, that it is only temporary and this too will pass-may not be soon enough though.
10. Choosing the endless papers to do instead of investing in those that want to invest in me, solid friends, family, a neighbor.
11. Choosing people to be in my groups that I knew would be as driven as I would be.
12. Lastly, taking myself and my education so stinkin', serious that i forget to smell the roses, forget to give of myself to others and try everything possible NOT to realize that grad school is a very self interested/self focused time and to make all attempts possible to keep people around me that can balance the stressors and will allow themselves to be fragile people, like myself.
13. Oh, and the best for last. Taking what people, professors said to me and about me to be the gospel. By the way, only I get that privilege and it gets lost so quickly in grad school!

this is s great, and since it's finals, perfect timing. i just sent it to everyone in my class! thanks!
 

Malachite

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i love this thread! everyone has a lot of great suggestions! How much do you guys find you have to spend on textbooks on average a semester? I'm in a masters program right now, and i find i easily spend about $300ish on the 2 classes i take every semester, even if i try to look for mostly used books. i feel in a 4 class/semester phd program, that would be a major portion of whatever stipend there is. what has been your experience?