Mike’s headed off to grad school — that lovely purgatory between the dream-world of college and the hellish incinerator that is the working world.
Is grad school the bread line that it’s mythologized to be?
Hey, thank you for taking the time to answer my question and give advice on others.
You’re welcome. Thanks for reading!
I have a situation that may be a little unique. What happened was during my first years at university, I liked to party and my grades suffered (1.95 GPA).
They must’ve been good parties. 🙂
I passed all my courses just fine but it wasn’t until the final years of my degree that my courses started to get very interesting. In fact, I loved my program and my grades and work improved making the Deans list twice and the presidents list once in the final 3 semesters of my course.
Congrats! Yeah, general-ed courses, a few thousand newly liberated students and unfettered access to booze can spell a bad GPA for a while. Good job for turning it around.
Actually my thesis work was good enough to get published in two conferences.
Wow, very nice. Congrats again.
I have been accepted into a graduate degree program but I am now running into a lot of problems trying to find money.
The school itself is usually going to be the best source of grad-school money. And, of course, Uncle Sam. More on that in a second.
I have decided that this is what I love to do and want to do it, but I would like to live above the poverty line while doing it. What do I do?
Well, I’m shooting a little in the dark here since I’m not sure exactly what you’re studying, and therefore I’m not sure what sort of job prospects you may have in front of you *while* you’re getting the degree.
I do know that lots of us who have graduate degrees paid for them by doing teaching and research assistantships while we were going to school, and that’s where I’d suggest you look first. Some schools try to place every grad student in an assistantship (mine did), and it usually wipes out your tuition and also gives you a monthly stipend.
You can be a TA and help some professor do grunt work, labs, actual teaching, whatever. Or you can be an RA (research assistant) and do — surprise! — research, or other stuff. Depending on your field, RA can be a catch-all job for basically anything that any department needs a warm body for.
I was in grad school for two years and did one of each. My first year, I was a warm-body RA for the Missouri Department of Education, designing specialized publications and newsletters. Second year, I was a teaching fellow.
In neither year did I feel like I was starving, although my situation was a little odd. I was living with an exotic dancer at the time (we were actually married for about 5 seconds) and she made halfway decent money doing that, so that helped. Plus, I took out student loans for extra living money (because I was helping care for her daughter, so every little bit helped).
Point is, I never felt broke as a grad student. I felt more broke as an undergrad, actually. Hell, when I was an undergrad, no one was offering me tuition-free schooling for in exchange for an easy 20-hours-per-week job.
Now, there are some elements of my personal experience I’d advise none of you replicate, and I’m sure you can figure out which parts (back up two paragraphs and read carefully!). However, the assistantships are pretty sweet if you can get them. Be flexible — a crappy job that pays your tuition is worse than no job that’s not paying your tuition.
— What about you guys — grad students out there, are you starving? If not, why not? Let us know in the comments below.