As I sit here preparing for my last round of finals of my first year of this incredible program, I can’t help but realize how much has happened in a year. Time is funny that way.  There were moments that I didn’t think that Costco could stock enough coffee to keep me awake to get through my to-do lists.  However, that countdown kept ticking down the days, minutes, and seconds to spring break, AAPA, summer break, and soon-Thanksgiving. Before we know it, it will be time to walk across that stage for that white coat. So, as I reflect back on this year, I thought that I would pass along some tips that might be useful to anyone thinking of taking on the adventure of graduate school.

  • First, don’t be afraid of finding a roommate. Not only is a great way to save some money, you are living with someone that is on the exact same schedule as you. I will be the first person to say that I got really lucky with mine.  My roommate, Phia, said she sent me an email because of my cat, Sunnie, and we have gotten extremely close this year-I mean, we sing musicals at the top of our lungs on the way to school together with zero shame.  We have our differences don’t get me wrong, but we balance each other out. For example, I tend to get a little anxious before exams and end up cleaning the whole apartment; meanwhile, she sits on the couch with Sunnie quizzing me…sometimes.   However, I worry there is a plot to steal my cat cooking in that brain of hers.
  • Second, store up on the caffeine. If you don’t drink it at the beginning of the year, you will by February.  It doesn’t matter the form-coffee, tea, caffeine-infused-chocolate… Crystal Light even makes caffeinated versions of the to-go packets!  Sleep is a rare commodity this year, so caffeine is basically key to survival this year
  • Third, if you have a pet, bring them! Having my cat, Sunnie, with me this year has been such a comfort to me.  He loves to cuddle, so coming home after a long day and having him to snuggle with is great. However…he has become a traitor and has begun to prefer my roommate over me.  I think there is a mutiny in my household…
  • The fourth, and last thing, is find things to laugh about every day. You cannot get through school without some laughter. My absolute favorite thing about this year was finding some of the most amazing people that I am honored to call my family. This family that I have found has held me up when I didn’t think I would be able to, and they have never failed to make me laugh and bring joy to my life every day since I have known them. I cannot wait to see what the next year has in store for us.

Thank you for reading my graduate school tips and stories, and Happy Holidays!!

-Ashley K

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