As I mentioned back in January, I took couple classes to decided whether I could attempt the history graduate program at my university. I am proud to say I passed both classes and will be beginning my first semester as a full time graduate student today!
I am a little nervous about taking two graduate classes this semester instead of just one with an undergrad, but I’m pretty excited to see how’ll do!
With that in mind I thought I would share some of what I learned last semester that I hope will help make me a better student this semester!
Papers Require Time and Organization
This seems like a given but I never really had to study really hard in high school (with the exception of biology). For the few papers I had to write last semester I had to organize myself exactly like I did for my final senior paper (a four-thousand word essay on a very specific and boring topic, that I won’t share so you won’t fall asleep reading this post). It took a lot more time and motivation to complete my papers last semester and ensure I would do well on them. I even wrote some of them twice!
Keep a Detailed Planner
This one has always been pretty easy for me because I love keeping a planner. I always color code my classes and write down the important dates from the syllabus as soon as I get it. What was more difficult for me was writing out my day by hour and setting aside time to do the required reading (it was also incredibly difficult not to fall asleep while doing the reading).
Read the Prompt Carefully
My high school history teacher drilled into our heads that the verbiage of the prompt determines what you write. For my first grad paper, I emailed her and she lovingly read the paper and called me with comments on it. The first thing she told me was that I didn’t answer the prompt, I had just rambled on to reach my page count. One piece of advice she gave that stuck with me is after each paragraph reread the prompt and ask myself if I answered the question. If i had, move on to the next paragraph; if not, rewrite it!
I’m so excited for this next chapter in my life and the opportunity to continue my education!