Grad School Reality

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Today was a day that will go down in graduate school history.

I tweeted (@TracitaLinda) earlier this week that I felt like my first day of graduate school was Tuesday, September 25th. Technically, I started school on August 20th but I didn’t feel the brunt of this weight until earlier this week. This past Tuesday was the day us first years were to be prepared for a full day of therapy. Lesson plans were approved and we arrived at the school at 8:30AM. I got a taste of how things run in a school and the extreme amount of stress all around– meetings for students are scheduled and canceled within hours, students are not in school or in the classes they are supposed to be in when you’re looking for them, and it’s an extremely Go with the Flow and Be Ye Always Ready type environments. Our supervisor tells us that in the beginning of the year and towards the end of the year things are always crazy, but Mama ain’t never say there would be days like this. At the end of the day, out of the 8 students on my caseload I had only seen one and managed to complete our training for the website the school uses to input progress notes (aka SOAP notes). Doesn’t sound like much but it was a high-stress day. Not to mention I still had Wednesday and Thursday of classes to look forward to.

Today I experienced Grad School Overload. And I don’t expect it will be the last time I feel this way.

Here’s how my day went:

  1. I woke up at 9:15 am and rushed to my dental appointment scheduled for 10am.
  2. Got to the Dentist at 10:20AM; spent 3 hours doing Intake and X-ray procedures (that’s the downside to school-sponsored services).
  3. Proceeded to go to Computer Lab to finish Group Presentation assigned for later that day and Lesson Plans due by 5pm today.
  4. At 1:34pm received texts from classmate asking “Are you Ok?”
  5. Thought to myself, of course I’m okay, I’m working hard in the computer lab.
  6. Got another text from a group member that said “We just presented, hope you’re okay.”
  7. Heart dropped. Had planned on going to class at 4pm, not realizing said class was moved up to 1pm 2 weeks ago.
  8. SH(*%#(*$#$(*!!!!!

So, it’s bad enough I missed on hour of class. But to make things worst I had missed my group’s presentation on one of the Tests we were assigned to present to our class. I worked hard on my little slide and the Demo we were going to present. And I was literally sitting in the Lab tying up loose ends and making sure I was prepared for any extra questions. But I sat in the Computer Lab through my group’s Presentation.

I missed my first Group Presentation of Grad School. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!

After I cried internally and thought to myself  “Couldn’t no one pick up the phone?!” I dealt with reality. I spoke to my professor during the break and she was totally cool about it. This project required us to meet and put a Powerpoint together and I was present for that, so I shouldn’t worry about it. She made me feel better. But of course, I’m considering this my wake up call.

FUTURE AND CURRENT GRADUATE STUDENTS: LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE

Here was my first sign I was going to crash; all my days started blending together. Late nights and (somewhat) early mornings will do that to you. When this happens, make sure you schedule in some time for SLEEP and just gather yourself and prioritize your tasks. Plan to sleep! I’m serious here.

Some background information about me; I like schedules and I’m rigid sometimes. This first semester we’ve had class time changes and clinic placements given to us and then retracted so many times…I  lost count. I have a physical schedule book that has more things crossed out than I care to look at. This is my first mistake. If you want to stay sane in graduate school (especially in Communication Disorders) and to be where you are expected- KEEP YOUR SCHEDULE/PLANNER/PHONE updated and within arms reach. Don’t depend on having to text someone or seeing someone in your program to let you know where you are to be.

Secondly, don’t depend on anyone to check in with you or remind you . At the end of the day, you are responsible for yourself  and your members. Any appointment or meeting you miss, or any work that is not submitted by deadlines are on you. Simple.
One  impression that stuck with me through orientation is that this school prides itself on EXCELLENCE WITHOUT EXCUSES. Makes sense. That was important to me because if you think about it, there can always be an excuse for some shortcoming on our part. But when do we learn to get out of the victim mentality and accept full responsibility?

We couldn’t Ace the exam because we got our Study Guide late?

We didn’t prepare materials for our client because we didn’t have access to the Department’s lending system?

We put together some last minute lesson plans because we had midterms?

None of these reasons will fly in the real world, and so… Welcome to the Real World.

Because I Want to Do Better,

She

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Grad School Reality

5 thoughts on “Grad School Reality

  1. If it makes you feel any better, I missed my first class of the semester this fall! I had it down in my calendar as being at 7p…well, it had either been changed to 4p or I just misread it! I felt awful (and I’m a 2nd-year, so I have no excuse!), but “iiwii” (it is what it is) has become my motto lately. Such is life. 🙂 If you’re like me, you’ll go through periods of high-stress and periods of eery calm, but eventually you’ll be finished with the first year and the end will be in sight! Good luck with everything!

    1. Thank A., thanks for your empathy. Eery calm, I think I’m just always too calm but now I’ve just been shocked into stress. 🙂 I know next thing we know it will be Christmas, but I want to know when things are just going to ‘flow,’ if that’s even feasible for the next 2 years.

  2. This post is true on so many levels. I am sorry you missed your group presentation; just reading what happened gave me anxiety for you :/ Specifically, the last part about ‘the real world’- I think I have used or seen others use the excuses. My own excuses have been “The clinic printer wasn’t working so I couldn’t print materials for therapy” or “Someone else was using my materials for therapy so that is why I was so jumbled” – In the real world, people are paying us the big bucks to prepare for the unexpected and work with what we are given. Amen to this post! 😀

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