The summer before graduate school is an exciting time. How you use the next few months can influence your transition back into life as a student, especially if you took time off after graduating college. These are 3 tips for starting graduate school. Here are six tasks for the summer before graduate school:
1. Arrange your move
If you’re moving to a new city, one of the first things to think about is where you’ll live and how to get yourself (and your belongings) there. You’ll need to find a place to rent or buy, so check out online listings, and, if you’re able, visit potential apartments or houses in person. Then, decide how much you want to bring with you, and schedule transportation and/or shipping for your items. Also arrange for people to help you move – friends or a moving company. Make sure you’ve tied up any loose ends with your old landlord (if applicable), and don’t forget to update your address where necessary.
2. Communicate with current and incoming students
Communicating with students in your program is a great way to ease the transition into the school year. Contact your department for email addresses, or find your classmates through social media. This way, you can ask current students any questions you may have, such as recommendations for housing or what to expect when you move. You might even be able to ask them if there is anything you can do to mentally prepare for your first semester. Getting in touch with your incoming class is also a great idea. You may be able to get to know people you’ll soon be studying with.
3. Buy a planner and other school supplies
Being organized is key to success as a student. These 6 habits will help you become a more oganized student. Take some time to buy supplies that will help you in this regard. Think about what’s worked for you in the past: what kind of folders, binders, and writing utensils do you want to use? Do you need a physical planner, or will you use a calendar on your phone? Once you start your semester, you may need to head back to the store for additional items, but aim to start day one strong.
4. Research campus and local resources
A huge benefit of being a student is the variety of resources at your fingertips. If you live close by, visit campus and see what kind of resources are available to you in terms of technology, the library, and your specific department. You may even find some good study spots while you’re visiting. Check out local community resources, as well. What can your town offer you that’s related to your graduate work, such as organizations or job opportunities? If you’re not able to visit, contact other students or research online.
5. Read for pleasure before schoolwork sets in
Before you’re assigned your first batch of schoolwork, take some time to read for fun. Visit your library or bookstore and savor the free time you have left. Find online magazines or newspapers that interest you. Hopefully you’ll enjoy your assigned readings and be able to budget in reading time during the school year, but doing so in the summer is a great way to enjoy your remaining months. You may even find books that are fun and relate to your chosen path of study. This guide to summer GRE prep may help you get a head start!
6. Enjoy summer events in your city
Before you move, or even if you’re staying in the same location, look for summer events to attend before the school year starts – concerts, street festivals, movies in the park, plays, etc. You can plan activities according to your schedule and interests, like trying new restaurants or being outdoors. Find a way to enjoy the summertime before you hunker down with your studies.
Preparing for the next chapter in your academic life is both exciting and nerve-wracking, but the six tasks listed above are a great place to start in the summer before graduate school.