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10 Postgraduate school survival tips

10 postgraduate school survival tips
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The primary goal of a postgraduate school is to make their students expert in their chosen professional fields. Your graduate school is not only a unique experience, but it is also filled with stress due to deadlines, workload, grades along with other worldly matters. Due to this stress, your mental and physical health also suffers a great deal. Furthermore, if you want a resume that stands out from the others, you have to make sure that you participate in extracurricular activities and do a considerable amount of volunteer work. Balancing your grades, extracurricular activities and your social life can be tough but, still, it is not impossible. Here are ten tips to help you survive the rigorous process:

1. Attend your lectures

First thing first, attending lectures is the essential thing every student should do because you need to be a part of the process to fully understand it. Without attending your lectures, you will never get the hang of what you are actually studying. Furthermore, if you attend your classes, pay undivided attention to what is being taught, this will keep you in pace with the others and will provide you with great help and ease while preparing for your tests and exams.

Another fundamental reason behind paying attention to what your professor is teaching is that the professors always tend to give hints about topics that might be important for your exams. Make sure to catch all those hints by focusing on what topic the teacher is stressing on and on what topic less attention is being paid.

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2. Read and read

Make it a habit to read and read again. Revise your notes after the lectures and before the next lecture and note down any queries to ask the professor. This habit will give you a hang of what is being taught in the class and your participation in class will set up a right image of you in front of your teachers. Apart from these readings, take out some time to read a book that will help you in your research paper. Here are tips to assist you in reading and analysing research articles in the fastest possible ways.

3. Remember that the interactions are not non-professional

Every friendship that you maintain during your postgraduate school turns into your professional network in the future. So, start making contacts for your future and make sure to leave good impressions on everyone and especially on your professors and guest lecturers. They may help you in referencing for your first job after graduation or for boosting your employability chances.

4. Learn to research

Over 70% of your training as a postgraduate student is to be a problem solver, a researcher. Therefore, if you focus your energy on improving your research skills, you have made your life as a postgraduate student 70% easier. Make sure to learn all the process involved in research. Explore many different research paradigms but narrow to your choice based on the context of your study. Research is all that you are there to do.

5. Know about your learning techniques

The process of learning is different for everyone, and the learning techniques also vary from person to person. Some people learn with the help of verbal explanations, some learn by understanding the concept through daily life examples and some learn visually with the help of diagrams and charts. So, find whatever works best for you and implement that method when preparing for your next test.

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6. At what time do you feel most productive?

Learn about your productivity timetable. Make sure you know when you are feeling the most productive and at what times you feel unable to perform any task. When you discover your productivity timetable, set your study session according to that.

7. Smart friendships

Make friends with people who have a goal in mind; this will help you stay focused on your goal too. It’s even better to spend your time with people who have the same purpose as you, and this will motivate you towards your goal even more. The people you spend time with directly or indirectly influence your actions as well. For instance, if you hang out with people who barely attend the lectures, you will also find yourself bunking classes without putting much thought into how it will affect your grades. On the other hand, if you spend your time with people who do not casually leave lectures, you will also consider it essential to attend lectures.

8. Learn to manage your time

Time management is the most critical skill that every postgraduate student needs to master. No one has the same routine so there is no one way people could manage time. So, find out whatever works best for you by sorting out your priorities. Study about the “Time Management Matrix” by Sean Covey, which teaches you to priorities your chores by the use of four quadrants. Take advantage of your Google Calendar, or you might as well buy a planner for this purpose, but make sure to know what you are supposed to be doing at a specific time. This will save you from all the hassle and forgotten deadlines.

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9. Speak up when you need to

Learn to say “no” at times with an assertive, yet polite attitude. This will save you from unwanted obligations. At the same time, also learn to say “yes” to help that is being offered. Apart from this, do not be afraid to share your views on various topics, this will increase your confidence and your knowledge in ways you cannot fathom.

10. Learn to rest

Even a machine needs to rest so that it could work properly. If you will work all the time and pull all-nighters, it will not only affect your physical health but will also deteriorate your mental health and capacity. So, learn to rest. Take some time off your studies and work. Sleep in once in a while, give yourself a spa treatment or sit quietly in a corner with a coffee and a great book. This will put your stress at bay and increase your performance.

Though different people had different experiences, no one ever went through postgraduate school and said it was easy. So, to survive, prepare to work hard, be smart and take out time to rest and play.

Lawan Dalha

Lawan Dalha

An applied linguist with research interests in academic writing and computer-assisted language learningView Author posts

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