Recently, I finished my first year of graduate school and it went smoother than I thought it was going to go. My freshmen year of college was really rough for a number of reasons so I kind of expected or was prepare for some of those same issues to arise again. To my pleasant surprise most of them did not arise. There were a few minor obstacles that happened but nothing major. Even my mom noticed the difference based on our conversations and the look on my face when I came home for breaks.
During my first year and well every year of college, I missed being in New York a lot. Something just felt off and I can’t explain it. I also had hard time adjusting to the college workload and expectations. A lot of the academic skills that I have now I did not have when I first started college, so I felt really lost and overwhelmed. I have always been a good student academically, but I felt that I was not prepared for the college transition. It felt like a lot of things were coming at me at once, not only academic related, and I did not know what to do with any of them. It was hard to navigate through situations I have never been exposed to before or even knew existed. I remember crying a lot and calling my mom and friends back home to vent. I also did not have a job my first year, so I was stressed about money. Going to the on-campus counseling center multiple times helped me to adjust. I had no idea that my freshmen year of college would have been that rough for me.
For my first year of graduate school I expected the worst, so I created some precautions and plans, such as making self-care a priority and having healthy coping mechanisms ready. I made sure that I was more intentional and careful of the situations and people I was around. Also, I was fortunate able to secure an on campus job to avoid stressing about money as much. Something about being in Chicago for just felt right, which I can’t explain either. Maybe it has something to do with the energy. I remember feeling content most days and if I did get upset, it did not last for long. I adapted to graduate school and living in Chicago faster than I expected to. My overall transition went smooth. When situations appeared, I felt prepared and confident to handle them. Some of the situations were similar to some that I experienced in undergrad, so I already had some familiarity. For my first year of graduate school, I felt I had certain knowledge that I did not have my first year of college that was very beneficial. Instead of feeling lost and overwhelmed, I was in good place mentally for the most part. There were a few times I was lost and overwhelmed but I figured my way through pretty effectively. My first year of graduate school was not a walk in the park, but it was more manageable for me than my first year of college. I think since I already did the transition to college I had a foundation to transition to graduate school. Transitioning to graduate school also had some similarities that I had already encounter, such as being away from my hometown. In my next blog post, I will talk about some of the factors that I think helped with my transition.
Time to Focus on You:
Reflect on your past major life transitions and see if you notice any patterns and/or progress.
Photo by Davide Cantelli