Multiple factors played a role in my first year of graduate school and overall transition. The main factor I think was the fact I dealt with multiple issues throughout my years of undergraduate school. Having exposure to those situations prepared me to be expect the worst and know how to deal with them, if they were to arise. I learned a lot of lessons the hard way in college, which I kept with me during my first year. (And still keep with me). When I was going to college, I had these high expectations of what it was going to be based on televisions, movies, and books. When I got to college, it was nothing like how it was depicted in media. These unrealistic expectations were a reason why I came across certain situations. If I had known about them beforehand I could have avoided them in college or at least handle them differently. Since I knew about them in graduate school, I was able to avoid them and/or navigate my way through them better. This brings me to my next point, I had realistic expectations when I was going to graduate school. I did a lot of research of the graduate school experience in general then focused on the experience of clinical psychology graduate students.
Another element that played a huge role was the location of my graduate school. My undergraduate college was in a rural area and you needed a car to get around. I am from New York City and I do not own a car. Being a city girl, I am used to having a multiple buses and trains to take me where I need to go. Due to living the city/urban lifestyle for most of my life I found living in a rural setting boring and a hassle. Uber rides get expensive where as a MetroCard literally can take me anywhere for $2.75. (Unless the MTA rise their prices again for like the third time). For graduate school, I made sure I picked another city/urban area. That is why I picked a university in Chicago and I like being there. I went events and volunteer with no problem because they had a transit system, or the places were in walking distance. It felt so good to hear the trains all day every day, even at night. Rural areas are too quiet for me, so city noises make me feel comfortable.
I was also very fortunate to be able to have a dorm room to myself. I was supposed to have a roommate because my room type was a double, but residential life did not assign anyone else to my room. It felt so good to go an empty and quiet room after classes and work to relax without worrying about loud noises, extra people there, unnecessary drama, or things not being how I left them. As you can read in my Alone Time post, being in my own space is necessary for me to be able to recharge my energy. Since I am an introvert, it is very easy for me to lock myself in my room and not socialize. I made sure I made a conscious effort to make friends in my program and be social. I also join school organizations that reflected my interest and went to events in the Chicago area that caught my attention. In college, I would find any excuse to avoid being around people, so I forced myself to interact and engage with people during my first year. And surprisingly it was not that hard even though I really shy. My experiences, lessons, and mistakes in undergraduate school really prepared me for graduate school and my overall transition.
Time to Focus on You:
What are some tools that help you with major life transitions?
Photo by Aman Bhargava on Unspalsh