The Graduate School Dating Game

Wolves vs Rabbits

I can’t stress this enough: If you’re working on a master’s degree or a doctorate, don’t start a relationship with someone who has never attempted graduate school.

Elitist? Maybe. Honest? Yes. There’s a big difference between school and graduate school and, if you don’t know this first-hand, chances are good you won’t quite understand what the big deal is, but here it is. As a timeline of a single day from my week.

Monday (no work):
Wake up @ 7:00 AM
Log into school’s portal and check email @ 8:00 AM
Review my assignment @ 8:15 AM
Read provided sources @ 9:00 AM
Lunch @ Noon
Continue reading @ 1:00 PM
Re-review the assignment @ 3:00 PM
Highlight important sections in the readings @ 3:30 PM
Formulate an opinion based on @ 4:30 PM
Dinner @ 5:00 PM
Find sources that support, challenge, and modify my opinion @ 6:00 PM
Begin reading first source paper @ 7:30 PM
Revisit my idea and revise @ 9:00 PM
Done with school @ 10:00 PM
Go to the gym @ 11:00 PM
Go to bed @ 1:00 AM

That’s one day. That’s the start of a single assignment. Tuesday I’ll work for three hours doing online tutoring and I’ll do that on Thursday, too. Wednesday and Friday resemble Monday but with slightly altered tasks.

Now, here’s the tricky part. Between Monday and Friday, I’ll revisit and revise the idea for my weekly research paper somewhere around three times. On Saturday, I begin free writing which takes all day. On Sunday, I compile all of my ideas and work from there. Despite hours of preparation, hours of free writing, and a general love of the discipline of psychology, I still work at least six hours every Sunday.

Can I go swimming? No.

Can I go to a cookout? No.

Can I meet someone for coffee during the week? If we time it right.

And in the end, the paper I write will be an A with an A- being the norm. Why? Because I put in the minimal amount of work required of a PhD student. Seriously.

The workload is unreal but you’ve got to reach the very edge of human knowledge before you can push into the unknown and make a contribution. And while psychology is a new science and reaching the edge is, in some sense, easy, there’s a broad edge to it all and you’ve got to be diligent; they don’t give you a doctorate for reinventing the wheel.

If you’re with someone who doesn’t appreciate your workload and your passion, and who think you’re ignoring them because you’ve got to get the work done, then you should reevaluate your relationship.

Shriek into the Void...

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