From OUR EDITORIAL STAFF we wanted to analyze the life of the graduate student from another angle with respect to those that we have already dealt with in previous articles.
Because we have talked about challenges, obstacles, post Covid-19 and a long etcetera, but today we are going to take one more turn of the screw.
Let’s see: Are you sure it was easy for you to become a graduate student?
Obviously not, since pursuing a higher education while other students of the same condition are entering the workforce makes you think. But it has become much more difficult in 2020 due to the great repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Today, graduate students face great challenges that threaten to make life extremely difficult. We are going to detail in our opinion, based on the analysis that we have done by scanning what is published on the network, which may be the aspects that most affect postgraduate students and at the same time we are going to provide the solution (which is also the one we collect from the network).
1º) Management of financial capacity.
2º) Build professional credentials.
3º) Take care of mental health.
4º) Work and socialize safely with Covid-19.
5º) The importance of making friends during the postgraduate course.
6º) Take into account the postgraduate learning curve.
7º) Outings and entertainment as a graduate student.
8º) Finance the lifestyle we have chosen.
9º) Take the well-deserved rest at the right time.
10º) Stress management.
We are going to analyze each of these aspects and present the solutions that we have found. Obviously, they are all generalists and it is necessary to take into account the particular cases that can be presented to this type of student. But as a rule, these are the problems they face.
1º) Financial capacity management
Students have always had to carefully manage their finances, without the time and experience required to take on lucrative full-time jobs. It’s also hard to put a lot of effort into a job when so much of your energy goes into your studies.
Right now, the global recession that inevitably stemmed from widespread closure efforts and the effective shutdown of some major industries (such as tourism) is adding to the complexity, making it more difficult to depend on family.
The solution? Lean on each and every government support scheme that pops up, cut frivolous spending, and pool resources with other students to buy staples in bulk (it’s cheaper that way) and save money on housing.
It is also very valuable that student entrepreneurs find ways to earn money on the sidelines, something that is more accessible than ever thanks to the rise of e-commerce in general awareness.
Also, you can apply for a Graduate Solutions Study Scholarship for your tuition fees.
2º) Build professional credentials
This is the point where we need to mention e-commerce: Since online retail is largely unaffected by Covid-19, smart students can manage their own online stores using compliance methods such as drop shipping to sell without buying anything.
The consequences of this go beyond making money. A side business can also be a side business, but it is still a business. Therefore, and the most important thing is that it generates an experiential value in the management of an entrepreneurial activity (no matter how small this business is) and it also becomes an asset (experience plus training) that can really demonstrate its value in the future when a graduate student concludes their studies and wants to find a career opportunity (or even fully commit to self-employment, something that is gaining popularity these days).
It’s really hard to stand out in the business world when there is so much competition, especially given the backlog of hires that resulted from the main blackout period. Starting a business is a great way to show initiative, creativity, and commitment.
3º) Take care of mental health
It’s perfectly normal to feel drained at this point, having been living with a global pandemic for about a year and a half, so graduate students were also not exempt from this shock.
Undergraduate students are often protected by their families, while budding professionals must have regular income (and free time) to allay their fears. But graduate students are somewhere in between the two.
They should make sure to focus on their well-being, keep their physical health in check through regular exercise, talk about their problems whenever it is helpful (it will be enough for their friends), and refuse to dwell on the negatives. The future may still be bright and it is vital to remember this.
4º) Work and socialize safely with Covid-19
The truth is that some parts of life have changed in the long run. The principles of social distancing will endure, for example, as will the remote work. This is difficult for graduate students.
After all, they don’t just need to work, they also need to socialize to make their workload bearable, embrace their adulthood, and network for future career opportunities. And all these things are more difficult now.
So how can they go on living without taking undue risks? This comes down in part to following best practices related to Covid-19: washing your hands regularly, wearing masks at the right times, avoiding unnecessary contact, space out social activity, etc.
The rest is about making the most of modern technology, using laptops and smartphones as efficiently as possible, hosting virtual events, working from home when possible, and keeping up with the latest tips.
5º) The importance of making friends during the postgraduate course
Everything can change when you choose to return as a graduate student. Many of your key relationships are already formed and the vast network of mutual friends is no more.
The solution to this new scenario is to remember how you have felt and recognize that most graduates are in the same boat. You should introduce yourself to your classmates and seek to expand your social circle in the same way that you did when you were a graduate student. Unless your course is extremely intense, most schedules will also accommodate joining sports teams and clubs of common interest so that you can still have a social life.
6º) Take into account the postgraduate learning curve
It’s no longer like the freshman year that began with a gentle push into college life: a magical year with a 40% pass rate, a few introductory lectures, and a generous helping of pints at lunchtime. Now, in a few weeks, you will be given daily deadlines and a work schedule, and those waiting for another year of dosing will find themselves in a rude awakening.
That is, the learning landscape has nothing to do with it, hence the solution is to know all the information in advance, being very clear about the deadlines for completion and delivery of work (time flies and deadlines arrive) and End-of-term projects should start as soon as possible so that nothing takes you by surprise. You have to be prepared to organize your life as if it were a precision watch. You cannot miss the agenda.
7º) Outings and entertainment as a graduate student
The problem may be that you are still fun. Are you really? Sure you do, and it’s not your fault you’ve been too busy studying to find out whose song this is or what the weird title of another means. And it’s not your fault that eighteen-year-olds look younger every year.
You must assume that you cannot behave in the same way as when you were a college student. At least not as much as you used to. You should plan ahead with your friends and turn the moment into a great occasion, because it’s always easier to have fun with like-minded people than to hop from bar to bar with newbies.
8º) Financing the lifestyle we have chosen
The strange thing about the postgraduate lifestyle is that it can often feel like a full-time job, except you don’t get paid. With soaring travel prices, the temptation of expensive comfort food while you study, and the small question of rent along with whatever hobbies you want to pursue, it’s a lot to juggle before even glancing at your Amazon bucket list.
Hence, there is never an adjusted solution for each problem, what is possible is to adapt solutions to obstacles that graduate students face. New graduate loans help with things, but common sense, part-time jobs, and effective budgeting are the only real ways to manage money efficiently. We recommend skimping, saving, and setting up a spreadsheet.
9º) Take the deserved rest at the right time
The main reason why many students return to university is to embark on a new career (in the minority of cases), or to do a doctorate or a master’s degree. But there are many who are looking for another institution such as business schools, whether or not they are integrated into a university.
Because what they are looking for is a specialization, be it one or two years, and rest is becoming more and more difficult to find the time to do it.
Sadly, jobs aren’t going to knock on your door because you now have two degrees. The majority solution applied by graduate students is to use their time wisely in the case of wanting something outside of the university, in the case of a job, for which, you will need to establish contacts, which unfortunately means internships or work experience.
It is important to ask your course director if he has any industry-relevant short job recommendations and schedules, unpaid, if necessary, during periods such as the Easter break. These short periods are often crucial for industry-specific references for your ever-growing CV.
10º) Stress management
The problem is always the same, the emotional pressure exerted by the exams, the constant deadlines and the end of the year that is coming, which causes many postgraduates to have stress problems that even disturb their sleep. And without enough rest, the body and mind sooner or later take their toll.
This type of stress can trigger health problems such as poor sleep, weight gain, and even cardiovascular problems.
The solution is not to forget that the university, like life, has a balance that must be achieved.
So make sure to set aside some downtime in your schedule for hobbies and friends, as it’s these short periods that will help you vent. College is first and foremost a formative experience, and your graduate year is no different.