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

cara susanna

10+ Year Member
Feb 10, 2008
5,576
1,847
Midwest
Status
Psychologist
I was thinking that, krisrox, but I'll have an office so I won't have to lug around everything like back in undergrad.

Still, I dunno.
 

Psych317

Doctoral Student
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2009
29
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
Hey Everyone! Thanks for all those that posted on this site, it's been really helpful!

I'm going to be starting my first year in a Psy.D. program this fall and will only be receiving a partial scholarship from my school and also will make a small amount through a graduate assistantship. For those who have done this in the past already, how or where do you go about applying for fellowships/scholarships? I need any help with my tuition and living expenses as I can!!
 

psychmama

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 14, 2008
1,179
2
NYC Area
Status
Psychologist
Hi. I think burnout is common around 2nd yr. The excitement of being in grad school after so much preparation carries you through 1st yr. By 2nd yr the work is often even more intense but it's starting to get old. I found it gets better later on when you're doing more of what you want and less of the required coursework. For now, I'd be sure you're not neglecting yourself in favor of school:

Plan at least a couple of fun things every weekend, preferably with some friends or family who aren't in your program or aspiring psychologists.

Make sure you take a vacation, even a short one, during the school year. Even long weekend getaways do wonders for restoring perspective.

Remember that doctoral programs take a long time, so don't put the rest of your life totally on hold while getting your degree. Strive for some balance -- do things that you enjoy and even goof off now and again. It will all be fine...

Hope you have a great year -- one year closer to achieving your goals!:)
 

PsyDWannabe

WombStewWithCrustyBread
10+ Year Member
Mar 20, 2009
172
111
Status
Psychology Student
After searching long and hard for this, I thought it'd be a good idea to bump it since 'tis the season.

Have at it, SDNers!!:D
 
Feb 9, 2010
33
0
Status
Psychology Student
This is an awesome thread!

I have a question. I know some people talked about the long distance relationship, but what about living together? My fiance and I currently live together and I'm in my last year of UG and since we did the whole long distance thing for 3 years, I find it hard to actually do work when I have the time because I'd rather spend time with him (not to mention we have a TINY apt now so I can't really go anywhere in my place to study until we move into our house in May).

Now going into a PhD program, I feel like it's going to be an even worse problem since I will never be home anyway. SO what I'm getting at is how have people juggled the whole cohabiting thing with devoting enough time to studies?

And how do you combat procrastination?! Instead of studying, I'm scouring these message boards...
 
Feb 23, 2010
76
0
Status
Psychology Student
I am so happy about this thread!!

Two questions:
1) How do you prioritize research when course homework has pressing deadlines? (I am already finding this a problem as an UG)

2) Did any of you buy or consider buying a house or a condo when you moved? The place I'll probably go has fairly low COL and I was wondering whether it would be a good idea to buy rather than rent, even if just for 5ish years.
 

psychwanabe

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 4, 2007
674
0
Status
Psychology Student
This is an awesome thread!

I have a question. I know some people talked about the long distance relationship, but what about living together? My fiance and I currently live together and I'm in my last year of UG and since we did the whole long distance thing for 3 years, I find it hard to actually do work when I have the time because I'd rather spend time with him (not to mention we have a TINY apt now so I can't really go anywhere in my place to study until we move into our house in May).

Now going into a PhD program, I feel like it's going to be an even worse problem since I will never be home anyway. SO what I'm getting at is how have people juggled the whole cohabiting thing with devoting enough time to studies?

And how do you combat procrastination?! Instead of studying, I'm scouring these message boards...
I am married and in my 3rd year. I have two thoughts for you on this: 1) it's vital to have someone around who is outside the program in order to "turn it off" for a while. 2) it's really helpful if you can have a room to yourself at home where you can shut the door and work. Hopefully your significant other respects this and can give you the space you need. Grad school is all about learning balance though so you have a learning curve to get through. Even if you can't have a "room" at least have an area for study/work, and maybe plug in to your iPod so distractions are at a minimum. Or, just work at a coffee shop!

On the procrastination question: I use behavior therapy on myself. I have certain tasks that have to get done, and I'm addicted to solitaire and Facebook. So those things are my reward for getting tasks done (e.g., if I finish my paper, I get to play one solitaire game until I win, etc.).

I am so happy about this thread!!

Two questions:
1) How do you prioritize research when course homework has pressing deadlines? (I am already finding this a problem as an UG)
For me at this point (and since second year), research gets priority. If I work on it first, and make being able to do homework contingent on getting to a certain place in my research, I will get it all done.
 
Jan 15, 2010
55
0
Charleston, SC
Status
Psychology Student
Chances are you will not need the FULL version of SPSS (>$900 last time I looked), but you will NEED the Grad Student version (about $150). Has most of the features you need -- well, it would be nice to have the MVA & a few other analyses. But, if your uni has a copy of the FULL SPSS version, chances are you can get the license number at no cost (either through the IT department or book store). If you decide to purchase your personal version (i.e., not licensed thru the uni) do not confuse the Grad Student version and the Student version (only allows for 100 subjects and a limited # of variables).
you didn't hear this from me, but don't forget to live off the perks of your current situation if you're working at a university/teaching hospital before entering grad school. Licenses are sometimes made available to faculty and staff but not students...
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,574
2,571
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
1) it's vital to have someone around who is outside the program in order to "turn it off" for a while.

2) it's really helpful if you can have a room to yourself at home where you can shut the door and work.
This is great advice.

I had an agreement with my roommate that we wouldn't "talk shop" because we both needed a break from work stuff. Neither of us understood the nitty-gritty of what the other one did, so that was surprisingly easy to "turn it off" for awhile.

It is also absolutely essential to have quiet work areas. I found that I would need a change of scenery sometimes, so I had to have multiple places where I could work. A (windowless) study room in the library was great because I got poor cell phone reception, it was quiet, and I couldn't look out a window and get distracted. I'd use my bedroom for writing papers, reviewing research, etc. Though my favorite place to study was either the beach or my hammock, since I could relax but also feel like I wasn't completely "wasting" time. I realized that if I paired the "reward" with my studying, I'd be able to avoid associating studying with florescent lights and feeling like a shut-in.

I'd also recommend checking out local coffee houses on slow nights. I had one where a knitting group met at the same time I'd be there, so I not only got some studying done, but I learned some really random things about knitting through being in earshot of them. :laugh: You can also get to know the staff on slow nights and score some cheap caffeine to help with the studying.
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,574
2,571
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
you didn't hear this from me, but don't forget to live off the perks of your current situation if you're working at a university/teaching hospital before entering grad school. Licenses are sometimes made available to faculty and staff but not students...
A polite e-mail or drop-by to the IT department can help facilitate said license. If you can make it easy for them by being flexible, handling the install yourself, and/or offering to help them out with something...it goes a long way. I put them in touch with some dept. people they had a hard time tracking down, and they secured me licenses for SPSS, Visio, and a couple of other programs I needed for school. Submitting a ticket through the dept, which then would get passed through the university IT, and then passed down to them would have taken forever. Win/Win.
 
Jan 14, 2010
149
0
USA
Status
Psychology Student
A polite e-mail or drop-by to the IT department can help facilitate said license. If you can make it easy for them by being flexible, handling the install yourself, and/or offering to help them out with something...it goes a long way. I put them in touch with some dept. people they had a hard time tracking down, and they secured me licenses for SPSS, Visio, and a couple of other programs I needed for school. Submitting a ticket through the dept, which then would get passed through the university IT, and then passed down to them would have taken forever. Win/Win.
I think someone mentioned this book earlier in the thread (but it wasn't out at the time):
Surviving Graduate School in Psychology: A Pocket Mentor

Did anyone ever buy it? Thoughts? (It seems to be available on Amazon too ... with no reviews).
 

childpsych479

5+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2009
116
0
Status
I think someone mentioned this book earlier in the thread (but it wasn't out at the time):
Surviving Graduate School in Psychology: A Pocket Mentor

Did anyone ever buy it? Thoughts? (It seems to be available on Amazon too ... with no reviews).
I just ordered it actually (my roommate works for Barnes and Noble = discount!). I'll be sure to post on here after I get through it. However, I'm going to be a first year in the fall so I wont be able to comment on how helpful or accurate the information etc is.
 

PhDToBe

7+ Year Member
Nov 15, 2009
406
98
Status
Psychologist
Although it was briefly mentioned in this thread, be sure to find out what your student i.d. can do for you. Besides the obvious movie theatre discounts, some grocery stores offer a small % off of your groceries, etc.

Some places also have 'student nights,' too.
 
Mar 17, 2010
30
0
Status
Psychology Student
Okay, I'll try it:

"B still equals PhD, B still equals PhD, B still.... is a bad grade!!!

:eek:
lol I hear you!! I freak out over B's as well..To me my grading scale goes as follows

A = GREAT
A- = B
B = B-
B - = D
C = FAIL!

But as my exbf said to me "When you apply for jobs do they look at your individual grades?" I was like "No" and he said "Oh so it's just a pride thing" and he is right it IS my pride getting in the way. I need to be my best by doing the best but the two don't always equate. Sometimes your best isn't the best but it is still your best. So yea..I am done rambling now!
 
Mar 17, 2010
21
0
Status
Psychology Student
This is a great thread! Thanks for the advice everyone!

Like a few others, I'm going to have a hard time shedding my "must get A's!!!" mentality, but luckily I have a few months to prepare :)

It's going to be extremely difficult though, being the perfectionist that I am :annoyed:
 

AcronymAllergy

Neuropsychologist
Moderator
Gold Donor
7+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2010
7,337
1,645
Status
Psychologist
lol I hear you!! I freak out over B's as well..To me my grading scale goes as follows

A = GREAT
A- = B
B = B-
B - = D
C = FAIL!

But as my exbf said to me "When you apply for jobs do they look at your individual grades?" I was like "No" and he said "Oh so it's just a pride thing" and he is right it IS my pride getting in the way. I need to be my best by doing the best but the two don't always equate. Sometimes your best isn't the best but it is still your best. So yea..I am done rambling now!
Trust me, you'll come to embrace the idea. The classes generally aren't quite as tough as they might initially seem (they definitely fell in the lower tier of my hierarchy of necessities, and I was able to finish up my required coursework with one B), and the material is usually interesting and relevant.

Many professors will also drill the "B = Ph.D." mantra into your head. Repeatedly. Some will expect that you keep up with a good bit of reading, others will hand you all sorts of articles and citations with the understanding that you'll get to them all "eventually," and still others will blatantly tell you that if you're spending more than 30 minutes/day on anything related to their class, you're not using your time effectively.

Edit: One caveat--if/when you do have trouble in your classes, do NOT take that to mean that you "just aren't cut out for grad school." Talk with the instructor and/or your mentor, ask other students in the class how they prepare, etc.
 
Last edited:

psychwanabe

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 4, 2007
674
0
Status
Psychology Student
Trust me, you'll come to embrace the idea.
T4C tried to convince me of this 'lo so many years ago, and I didn't believe him...see my own response above. Well. He was right!

You can only work so hard, and as he wisely said, the amount of work to move from a B to an A is sometimes just not pragmatic in a world of research, practicum, and unfortunate needs for sleep. B's happen, and we live in spite of them! :eek:
 

Markp

Clinical Psychologist
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 19, 2007
2,262
20
Status
Psychologist
T4C tried to convince me of this 'lo so many years ago, and I didn't believe him...see my own response above. Well. He was right!

You can only work so hard, and as he wisely said, the amount of work to move from a B to an A is sometimes just not pragmatic in a world of research, practicum, and unfortunate needs for sleep. B's happen, and we live in spite of them! :eek:
Absolutely, I've grown comfortable with my 3.5 Graduate GPA. No one is going to care whether it's a 3.5 or 3.75 or even a 4.0, it just doesn't matter in my case specifically. I will be a military psychologist regardless, doesn't mean I can slack off, I just don't have to freak about B's. I get A's, I get B's, I'm still getting my Ph.D. and going to my military internship. More importantly, I am getting great practicum experiences and I'm on track to get my dissertation done BEFORE I leave for internship.... <- more important than having a 4.0!

Mark
 

kapinkkidowski

10+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2009
144
2
Cambridge, MA
Status
Psychology Student
I find that food costs add up. If you like to buy drinks during the day (ie soda), buy a 12 pack from the grocery store, and bring one with you every day. anything that you notice yourself always picking up from the vending machine or the deli can follow the same rule (gum, snacks, etc) just buy it while you're buying your groceries. it can be 1/4 the price.

- make your own coffee. invest in a thermos. grad students love to buy coffee all day. a cup of coffee you make costs pennies. regular coffee from a deli or cafe costs a dollar. starbucks costs 4 or 5.

-cook, and PLAN your meals. when you go to the grocery store, make a list, and try to figure out how to use perishables in several dishes. don't just go with a vague idea of what you want, and make sure your pantry is stocked. certain dishes taste even better as leftovers - chili, lasagna, soups are good examples. if you make it for dinner on monday, have it for lunch on tuesday or wednesday.

-rice and pasta are your friends. they are cheap, filling staples that you can always have at home, especially if you buy in bulk. also, beans are a cheap source of protein as well, especially if you used the dried kind (read the instructions on the back - they are easier to prepare than you think, cost 1/3 the price of canned beans, and taste MUCH better).

i've found that just by following these rules, my entire food budget is less than half of what it used to be...it can easily add up to a couple hundred dollars a month. :)
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,574
2,571
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
i've found that just by following these rules, my entire food budget is less than half of what it used to be...it can easily add up to a couple hundred dollars a month. :)
Definitely.

I skimp in other areas of my life because I don't on food, though the above suggestions are highly advisable. I prefer to eat mostly fresh food and organic food, so it adds up, but with some meal planning it can still be managable. Thankfully I only have a few more months until I make a halfway decent salary, but I'm still trying to stick to my budget and start that...what do they call it again...when there is money in the bank that you don't touch...oh yeah, a Savings Account. :laugh:
 

Grif

Crazy About Psychology
10+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2009
119
0
Status
Psychology Student
- make your own coffee. invest in a thermos. grad students love to buy coffee all day. a cup of coffee you make costs pennies. regular coffee from a deli or cafe costs a dollar. starbucks costs 4 or 5.
I'll add that places like Costco and BJ's are a steal if you use a lot of the same stuff over and over. The one near me has a box of 52 hundred-calorie microwave popcorn bags for $9. :thumbup: Canned and frozen food is where they really shine - I used to buy a few 5lb bag of veggies for $20 total and they'd last me a couple of months with 4 adults eating them. Anything that is pre-packaged, like granola bars, candy, soup, etc is a great buy and typically 50% or less of retail.

Some of their deals are pretty meh, but the savings on meat, snacks and staples make it worth it.

One thing Starbucks is good for is thermos-style cups that keep your coffee hot. ;)
 

kapinkkidowski

10+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2009
144
2
Cambridge, MA
Status
Psychology Student
Funny enough, I found that following these rules allows me NOT to skimp on food - fresh vegetables (provided you cook those in season) are actually much cheaper than anything else. So is always cooking from scratch (which I do). A pumpkin can cost you 50 cents in october, and you can make 6 servings of soup from it. Two cans of pumpkin will make the same and cost more like 3 or 4 dollars. Also, planning your meals for the week allows you to 'splurge' on more expensive ingredients one night if you have something that costs less to make another. As you said, it just takes a bit more planning. Another general rule that I have when it comes to meat - i'd rather pay twice the price and eat half as much for a better quality cut. Btw, I'm a foodie, I'll admit it :)

the savings account business is soo true!! I was wondering just the other day when I'd be able to realistically swing one of those again...


Definitely.

I skimp in other areas of my life because I don't on food, though the above suggestions are highly advisable. I prefer to eat mostly fresh food and organic food, so it adds up, but with some meal planning it can still be managable. Thankfully I only have a few more months until I make a halfway decent salary, but I'm still trying to stick to my budget and start that...what do they call it again...when there is money in the bank that you don't touch...oh yeah, a Savings Account. :laugh:
 

cara susanna

10+ Year Member
Feb 10, 2008
5,576
1,847
Midwest
Status
Psychologist
Since I live by myself, I tend to make one meal and it lasts for the entire week. Of course, this only works if you don't get sick of food easily. ;)
 

InUrHead

5+ Year Member
Dec 14, 2009
54
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
lol I hear you!! I freak out over B's as well..To me my grading scale goes as follows

A = GREAT
A- = B
B = B-
B - = D
C = FAIL!

But as my exbf said to me "When you apply for jobs do they look at your individual grades?" I was like "No" and he said "Oh so it's just a pride thing" and he is right it IS my pride getting in the way. I need to be my best by doing the best but the two don't always equate. Sometimes your best isn't the best but it is still your best. So yea..I am done rambling now!

Okay, so I'm going on internship this fall (YAY) and I COMPLETELY agree that B = Ph.D. but I feel as though I should said that C is not a passing grade in a doctoral program, or at least it is not in my current program or my terminal masters program. A B, even a B-, is just fine and most of your profs want to see you get through but you will 'learn' the balance - whether you want to or not. I know, because I didn't want to 'learn' this but eventually those couple of 'Bs' weren't so bad. And again, I just matched to a GREAT internship so work hard, but allow yourself room to wiggle. Shoot for As but be okay with Bs. We are human and although by just going to grad school we have perfectionist complexes, we must learn to accept our human limitations - which will likely be tested like never before.
 

InUrHead

5+ Year Member
Dec 14, 2009
54
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
A few tricks I have used in grad school:
  1. When my family/non-grad friends/boyfriend (now husband) asked me what I wanted for Christmas (or insert other religious holiday) or birthdays, I had a list read of necessities or other big wants like Sam's Club memberships (at $40 a year - so a great gift), gift certificates to clothing stores, text books for classes that I was planning to enroll for (or like last Christmas the new APA manual), etc.
  2. I'm a girl, and yes, I care about my appearance so I found a good beauty school (Aveda is always a good choice), which are often in all major cities and I would get my hair done there. They have significantly reduced rates on hair cuts, colors, styles, waxing, etc. and you are helping out another student of sorts! I'm not going to say I have always adored the outcome, but it was usually better than nothing and they are closely supervised by licesnced professionals and so it was never a disaster.
  3. Target has suprisingly great, casual clothes and their clearance racks are usually excellent.
  4. I agree with previous, above statements, NEVER buy your textbooks through your school bookstore. Always go online and do a little digging or even ask the students in the program who have already taken the class if they still have their texts and would be interested in selling or just loaning to you.
  5. I am shocked that no one has said carpooling! I've always had a car but I've also always carpooled and this can save you in both gas and parking.
Okay, I've got a meeting, but I've got more - be back in a bit!!
 

twilson

10+ Year Member
Oct 3, 2008
290
0
31
wv
Status
Psychology Student
A few tricks I have used in grad school:
  1. When my family/non-grad friends/boyfriend (now husband) asked me what I wanted for Christmas (or insert other religious holiday) or birthdays, I had a list read of necessities or other big wants like Sam's Club memberships (at $40 a year - so a great gift), gift certificates to clothing stores, text books for classes that I was planning to enroll for (or like last Christmas the new APA manual), etc.
  2. I'm a girl, and yes, I care about my appearance so I found a good beauty school (Aveda is always a good choice), which are often in all major cities and I would get my hair done there. They have significantly reduced rates on hair cuts, colors, styles, waxing, etc. and you are helping out another student of sorts! I'm not going to say I have always adored the outcome, but it was usually better than nothing and they are closely supervised by licesnced professionals and so it was never a disaster.
  3. Target has suprisingly great, casual clothes and their clearance racks are usually excellent.
  4. I agree with previous, above statements, NEVER buy your textbooks through your school bookstore. Always go online and do a little digging or even ask the students in the program who have already taken the class if they still have their texts and would be interested in selling or just loaning to you.
  5. I am shocked that no one has said carpooling! I've always had a car but I've also always carpooled and this can save you in both gas and parking.
Okay, I've got a meeting, but I've got more - be back in a bit!!

The Sam's Club membership is a good idea! I'll be asking for that for my bday or maybe a graduation present ;)
 

InUrHead

5+ Year Member
Dec 14, 2009
54
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
A few tricks I have used in grad school:
  1. When my family/non-grad friends/boyfriend (now husband) asked me what I wanted for Christmas (or insert other religious holiday) or birthdays, I had a list read of necessities or other big wants like Sam's Club memberships (at $40 a year - so a great gift), gift certificates to clothing stores, text books for classes that I was planning to enroll for (or like last Christmas the new APA manual), etc.
  2. I'm a girl, and yes, I care about my appearance so I found a good beauty school (Aveda is always a good choice), which are often in all major cities and I would get my hair done there. They have significantly reduced rates on hair cuts, colors, styles, waxing, etc. and you are helping out another student of sorts! I'm not going to say I have always adored the outcome, but it was usually better than nothing and they are closely supervised by licesnced professionals and so it was never a disaster.
  3. Target has suprisingly great, casual clothes and their clearance racks are usually excellent.
  4. I agree with previous, above statements, NEVER buy your textbooks through your school bookstore. Always go online and do a little digging or even ask the students in the program who have already taken the class if they still have their texts and would be interested in selling or just loaning to you.
  5. I am shocked that no one has said carpooling! I've always had a car but I've also always carpooled and this can save you in both gas and parking.
Okay, I've got a meeting, but I've got more - be back in a bit!!

A few more....
6. If you live in the north, or anywhere really cold, gas companies will often have different payment plans. I lived in MN for my terminal masters and they had am adjusted payment plan where you paid an average of your yearly usage rather than less in the summer and more in the winter. It made life much simpler and I paid less overall. Related to that, if you live in the far north and are going to rent an apartment - try to get an apartment on the 3rd floor or higher. Heat rises and we found that those folks below us would turn on their heat and we would have to actually turn ours down to compensate. Plus, this provides a 'work-out' opportunity every day by having to go up/down stairs!
7. Experiment a bit with brands. You pay a lot more for a brand than a generic, but sometimes there just isn't a big difference. Of course, this isn't true for everything (e.g., I have to have my Estee Lauder face wash) but I have found a generic laundry detergent that I think is great.
8. I love the above comment about Ross, TJMaxx, and related places. They are some of my FAVORITE stores - I have gotten some of my favorite articles of clothing from there. I even got a pair of Anne Klein shoes that I wore for years for practically nothing! The only drawback is that you have to dig through their racks and the selection varies, and you want to make sure it is good quality but they often have GREAT finds!

I also have a couple of comments about things NOT to skimp on (from personal experience)
  1. If you have a dog, do NOT skimp on his/her heartworm or flea/tick medicine. I babysat a friend's dog once and they had not been great about keeping up on it's flea/tick treatment and we soon discovered that the poor thing was infested. The amount of time, money, and effort it took to de-flea the pooch and my house was not pleasant.
  2. Good health. Yes, we have discussed food and it doesn't have to be expensive, but do feed yourself well and take care of yourself. If you are not well or due for your annual visit to one of your doctors - go! That includes the dentist. I have a friend who recently broke his molar, and I mean it literally disintegrated in his mouth, when he was eating lunch one day. This guy is not a gross guy who doesn't brush his teeth, he was just trying to be careful with his money and did not realize his teeth were in as bad shape as they were. So take care of yourself, you are the only you you have!
 

PsychPhDStudent

7+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2009
1,041
238
Status
Post Doc
With a student ID, you can get a Sam's club membership at a reduced rate, and you can add a "household member" to split the cost. Total cost for each member of the duo: $12.50.
 

PsyDWannabe

WombStewWithCrustyBread
10+ Year Member
Mar 20, 2009
172
111
Status
Psychology Student
8. I love the above comment about Ross, TJMaxx, and related places. They are some of my FAVORITE stores - I have gotten some of my favorite articles of clothing from there.
I literally shed some tears when I found out that there is no Ross in the city I'm going to school in. How on earth am I to survive? Thank God for Macy's and their almost-constant sales, LOL!
 
Jan 14, 2010
149
0
USA
Status
Psychology Student
I literally shed some tears when I found out that there is no Ross in the city I'm going to school in. How on earth am I to survive? Thank God for Macy's and their almost-constant sales, LOL!
Lol, I completely understand. For me though it is H&M I'll be losing.
 

InUrHead

5+ Year Member
Dec 14, 2009
54
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
I know, when they aren't around it sucks - but ask the folks around you when you get there. Not all advice is 'good', but you can usually find something that is fairly comparable!!
 

Wildcat06

10+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2009
384
1
Status
Psychology Student
A few tricks I have used in grad school:

Target has suprisingly great, casual clothes and their clearance racks are usually excellent.
+1. I swear their clearance racks are better than the rest of the store! I've gotten a couple really cute suits off their clearance racks as well as the $5 comfy and cute kitten heels that got me through interview hell.
 

Wildcat06

10+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2009
384
1
Status
Psychology Student
Related to that, if you live in the far north and are going to rent an apartment - try to get an apartment on the 3rd floor or higher. Heat rises and we found that those folks below us would turn on their heat and we would have to actually turn ours down to compensate. Plus, this provides a 'work-out' opportunity every day by having to go up/down stairs!
Haha, on the flip side if you move to the South, like me, shoot for the first floor. I can literally feel the change in temperature climbing the stairs in my townhome. AC costs add up as quickly as heat so try to minimize your intake (or just stay in your office all day and let the department foot the bill :laugh:) sad...
 
Nov 19, 2010
17
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
I want to bump this thread up to ask again if it is a good idea to consider buying a 1 bedroom condo (if i can find one) with a low payment, rather than paying rent? I will have 3 years working since I graduated undergrad, so I will have enough for a down payment when I start school, but i think i would be nervous about any repairs coming up during school. However, I would appreciate not throwing my money away on rent for 4 or more years.

Any suggestions from grad students?
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,574
2,571
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
Rent v. Buy really depends on the current market, interest rates, and tax implications. YYou'll want to look at it from a 5 year plan (average grad training before internship). They have some online calculators that will give you same basic information, though they won't account for local market factors. In general a 1BR condo is less desirable everywhere but very expensive cities. Resale ability and rental potential is very location dependant. To further confuse things....it is a great time to buy if you can secure favorable financing, as property values are low and most markets are stagnent.
 

edified1

Member
Sep 4, 2009
65
0
Status
Post Doc
They don't advertise it, but most cell phone companies will give a student discount (usually 10-15%). I have one through T-Mobile.
 

Doctor Eliza

7+ Year Member
Jul 30, 2010
899
145
Status
Psychologist
I didn't read this whole thread because (praise the Lord) I am done with school myself. But, I would like to throw out my advice (in case it hasn't been said yet): Get your own therapist. Now, a lot of you are probably saying, "I don't need that. I'm fine. I'm going to BE the therapist. I don't NEED a therapist."

Grad school is an intense experience unlike any other you have had in your life. You will be under more stress than you can even imagine at this point. In addition, to work effectively with clients, you really need a handle on your own stuff. I waited until my 2nd yr to get a therapist (b/c of my "I can do it myself" attitude) qnd I wish I would have seen someone in my 1st year.

It is an investment that is well worth it!

:luck:
Dr. Eliza
 

roubs

10+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2006
1,084
4
Status
Psychologist
Sorry if this is a repeat but I didn't see this in the 2010 posts so I thought I'd chime in:

I dropped the cell phone plan and switched to pay-as-you-go minutes augmented by Google Voice. I was already on a cheap plan and my yearly phone expense went from $700 to $200. Google Voice is going to be free through 2011 and with a $7 microphone it is great for the mom or family calls that I don't usually do on the run anyway.

Yeah, I know this idea probably wouldn't help if you are an insane texter.
 
Last edited:
Jan 31, 2011
10
0
Status
Learn to say NO. The sooner the better. Otherwise, you will get bombarded with a million of request that will get you nowhere. The fact that you'll run your advisor's errands delivering paperwork from one department to another and picking up the mail will not do anything for you at the end of the day.

Learning to say NO is the solution to not living in a box. If you don't learn to say NO, you'll be living in a box doing your advisor's work while neglecting yours.

Talking from experience.

Kinder
 
Jan 19, 2011
13
3
Status
Psychology Student
Learn to say NO. The sooner the better. Otherwise, you will get bombarded with a million of request that will get you nowhere. The fact that you'll run your advisor's errands delivering paperwork from one department to another and picking up the mail will not do anything for you at the end of the day.

Learning to say NO is the solution to not living in a box. If you don't learn to say NO, you'll be living in a box doing your advisor's work while neglecting yours.

Talking from experience.

Kinder
On a related note, learn to delegate. RAs are there for a reason. They can make copies, enter data, etc. Identify the most reliable RA in your lab and build a great working relationship so they'll be willing to help you out as needed.
 

psybee

Psychology Grad Student!
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 5, 2008
545
0
in the sheltering embrace of steel and concrete
www.hobo.com
Status
Psychology Student
I literally shed some tears when I found out that there is no Ross in the city I'm going to school in. How on earth am I to survive? Thank God for Macy's and their almost-constant sales, LOL!
I am all about identifying the style and size of clothing that fits me perfectly at the "fancy" stores like Banana and J Crew and then buying the same thing on ebay. Used I can ususally get excellent confition dress pants for 12 bucks, suit jackets for 25. new on ebay it's still usually half off!
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,574
2,571
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
I am all about identifying the style and size of clothing that fits me perfectly at the "fancy" stores like Banana and J Crew and then buying the same thing on ebay. Used I can ususally get excellent confition dress pants for 12 bucks, suit jackets for 25. new on ebay it's still usually half off!
E-bay can also be great for harder to find brands/styles too! I love TailorByrd, though it can be hard to find their smaller run collections. The mainstream stuff is 40-50%+ off (new).

Great tips everyone!
 

TheOverachiever

5+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2010
65
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
I have a random but related question for you guys already in grad school.

Do you have any pets? I'm thinking of getting a dog when I go off in the fall for a couple reasons including the fact that I am going to be by myself so far from home in a new place. I think a faithful companion would be nice.

Are you able to take proper care of a pet like a dog considering the time & possibly financial restraints? I wouldn't want to get one if it'll be neglected & home by itself 20 hours a week. I would prefer doing my work from home when not in class or lab anyway.

Just curious how this has worked for you guys.
 

nononora

Dis Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2007
290
4
Philadelphia
psychologymaps.blogspot.com
Status
Psychologist
I have a random but related question for you guys already in grad school.

Do you have any pets? I'm thinking of getting a dog when I go off in the fall for a couple reasons including the fact that I am going to be by myself so far from home in a new place. I think a faithful companion would be nice.

Are you able to take proper care of a pet like a dog considering the time & possibly financial restraints? I wouldn't want to get one if it'll be neglected & home by itself 20 hours a week. I would prefer doing my work from home when not in class or lab anyway.

Just curious how this has worked for you guys.
Some apartments have a no-pet policy or make tenants pay a monthly pet fee which would make your monthly costs higher. If you get a puppy, it's best that you get it before you start school so you guys have some time to bond! I like to travel and I find that having a cat makes it more cumbersome as you can't leave it alone for more than a few days at a time.

I do feel TAs have more opportunities to take work home when compared to RAs, so the amount of time you spend at home would depend on what your program expects of you.
 

edified1

Member
Sep 4, 2009
65
0
Status
Post Doc
I have a random but related question for you guys already in grad school.

Do you have any pets? I'm thinking of getting a dog when I go off in the fall for a couple reasons including the fact that I am going to be by myself so far from home in a new place. I think a faithful companion would be nice.

Are you able to take proper care of a pet like a dog considering the time & possibly financial restraints? I wouldn't want to get one if it'll be neglected & home by itself 20 hours a week. I would prefer doing my work from home when not in class or lab anyway.

Just curious how this has worked for you guys.
I have cats. I'm holding off on a dog because of time and space constraints (cats don't require walking or a yard). My cats have made a huge difference in my quality of life. They are wonderful companions (I have gone from considering myself a "dog person" to considering myself a "both person").
 

TheOverachiever

5+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2010
65
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
Some apartments have a no-pet policy or make tenants pay a monthly pet fee which would make your monthly costs higher. If you get a puppy, it's best that you get it before you start school so you guys have some time to bond! I like to travel and I find that having a cat makes it more cumbersome as you can't leave it alone for more than a few days at a time.

I do feel TAs have more opportunities to take work home when compared to RAs, so the amount of time you spend at home would depend on what your program expects of you.
Yea I realize some apartments have a no-pet policy so all the apartments/condos/houses I'm considering have to allow pets. Most of the ones I'm seeing require a pet deposit which is fine.

As for traveling, accoridng to what I hear on this site, I won't have time for that anyway :p the most I would probably travel is back up north to go home and I can bring my small dog in a carrier for the 3 hour flight.

Great point about the TA/RA difference. That's something I would have to consider.
 

TheOverachiever

5+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2010
65
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
I have cats. I'm holding off on a dog because of time and space constraints (cats don't require walking or a yard). My cats have made a huge difference in my quality of life. They are wonderful companions (I have gone from considering myself a "dog person" to considering myself a "both person").
No offense but I absolutely despise cats :nono: haha so that is a no go :D.

The one thing I do like about them is what you mentioned, they are a lot more independent than dogs are.
 

roubs

10+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2006
1,084
4
Status
Psychologist
No offense but I absolutely despise cats :nono: haha so that is a no go :D.

The one thing I do like about them is what you mentioned, they are a lot more independent than dogs are.
I have a dog in grad school and it's great. The cost is about $20/mo for food, (he's only 40 lbs) + ~$200/yr for the vet. I live in a big city so maybe vet costs would be lower other places. As for time I have managed to have a "work from home" day every week since starting grad school, but some days he will be crated for 8-9 hours a day. If you crate train as a puppy they should be able to handle that fine.