In a previous blog post, I discussed the differences between grad and undergrad. To give you a more in-depth look, I want to give you a firsthand look into my life as graduate student at Florida Tech. What better way to do this than to use pictures to show what my average day looks like?
My mornings tend to start a bit early because I have the unique opportunity to not only be a grad student, but also a Florida Tech women’s lacrosse player. It is unusual to see a grad student play a NCAA Division II sport, but I still had a couple of years worth of eligibility left and decided, “Why not?!”
5:00 a.m. wake up.
I head to practice with my team before the sun rises. We have lifting and lacrosse practice, and although it is a workout, it is a wonderful way to start the day. I can sometimes grab a quick nap after lifting (cross my fingers).
Time to head to class after grabbing some breakfast and attempting to find a parking spot at this time of day (right before lunch).
Here I am in my Human Performance 1 class. Today we had one of the students present their assigned chapter from the book. All of my classes tend to be quite small—in this particular class, there are only about 8 people. I take notes on my iPad during class and also record the lecture, so that I have something to refer back to later. It’s fun being in these smaller classes. It gives me a chance to speak up and ask questions. Discussions are an integral part of grad school.
Off to the library I go! This is one of the few places where I can be productive. There are too many distractions at my apartment for me to get any real work done, and the library is a nice convenient place to work in between classes and my job. Today in Evans Library, I am working on some research for the team project I am a part of. My group consists of faculty and other grad students working towards a published work. It is a great opportunity for me to get real research experience, which also helps me prepare for the daunting task that is my thesis. I spend many hours in the computer lab at the library typing up literature reviews, abstracts and discussions for research. When I am not doing research, I work on other homework (yes, in addition to the free labor I provide for my research team, there is still homework to be done, but it is not as bad as it seems).
Sometimes if I get lucky and there’s beautiful weather outside, I sneak away for an hour and take my break on the beach. The great thing about Florida Tech is that you are only 10 minutes away from the beach. I love taking advantage of this opportunity as much as I can—especially before heading to work.
I work on campus at the Scott Center for Autism Treatment as a behavior analyst. I get to help children with autism develop their social skills. You might be thinking how odd it is that an Aviation Human Factors major from the College of Aeronautics is working in a predominantly psychology-based job. But I really love working with kids while earning some extra money on the side.
I head back to my car after work around 6:30 pm. It’s time to wind my day down. It’s a great feeling to get into my blue VW bug and head home after a long day of class and work. I usually wrap up my night with dinner and catch up on one of my many TV shows on Hulu.
When it comes down to it, my day is not too different from other grad students on campus. Time management is something you master in grad school because you are only accountable for yourself. Homework and research is not given a structured time until you decide to put time aside to get it done. But I promise that if you manage your time wisely, there will be time for beach breaks and adventures.