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How I Prepared for Grad School -- Mentally, Emotionally, Physically

A lot of people have heard back from graduate schools within the past few months and are finally making admission decisions and preparing for the big move (if grad school is in a new city). Here's a snippet of how I prepared for my move to a new city for graduate school:

MENTALLY (/intellectually):

- At Columbia, we had a couple of "required" readings to do before orientation, so I was preoccupied with those during the few months I had before classes began

- If your school doesn't require you to touch up on any coursework, DON'T! Honestly, grad school (especially in the health field) is all about repetition. You will re-learn various things over and over again (We probably learned about acetylcholine receptors for the 10th time so far. I also have a feeling that it's not the last time we will see that cartoon NMJ)

- I know some peers who brought some notes they really liked from a physiology or anatomy class


- I experienced living away from home for undergrad, but I was still in California, and was still in the same time zone! Moving across the country was super difficulty for me. I didn't have much family in NYC and it was my first time on the East Coast!

- Spend time with family and friends as much as you can during whatever time you have left before grad school starts

- Travel, relax, do things that make you happy!

- If it helps, talk out what you're feeling with other people

- This isn't something I've told many people... but when I flew back to California after Columbia's admitted students day... the moment I got back into my room... I cried a lot that night. It was like 2am on the West Coast, and I just called my mom who was working an overnight shift and just cried to her on the phone. It just became ALL REAL. Fact. I was going to be moving across the country in just a few months. I was excited to be starting grad school, but I was also TERRIFIED. Crying is OK, y'all. I'm like crying about it right now thinking about that moment. Tearing up now more because I can't believe I've already been living in NYC for almost a year now. So crazy! But for all y'all moving far away from home -- you can do it! Homesickness is real. But, find yourself some great support, and it gets easier.


- I basically packed my life in one checked in bag and two carry-on bags.

- I love my clothes, so it was difficult having to choose what I needed. I was moving in the summertime, so I packed a lot of tank tops, looser clothes, shorts and jeans. The trick is to ROLL your clothes. They may get all wrinkly, but rolling them up nice and tight helps to pack more in your luggage! Youtube can be helpful with packing!

- There's also a ton that you can just buy when you GET to the new city.

- As I mentioned... I had NEVER been to the East Coast before, so it basically felt like I was traveling to a whole other country... I know it seems dumb. But trust -- there are still Targets, Ikeas, grocery stores (Trader Joe's), Walgreens, and other stores that you'll need to grab your necessities.

- There are usually Facebook pages for schools where students sell a lot of their old furniture or room supplies (lamps, fridges, microwaves, mini-fridges, drying racks, AC's, etc)

^^^ So let's talk about these lists!

- I am definitely leaving out other stuff that didn't get typed out on the list, so don't take it as is!

- I already was set to move into campus dorms, so I had my basic furniture (desk, shelves, chair, bed, clothing drawers) all covered

- But stuff from home -- I wanted to bring my own flat sheets and pillow cases so I had a little feel from home as I slept at night. I wanted an all white comforter, so I bought that from a Marshalls in New Jersey. I also packed other stuff from home like photos, a COUPLE of room decorations, etc.

- Stuff I bought in NY -- I bought a cheap microwave and window AC from WalMart and I bought my mini-fridge off a student who lived a couple buildings down my dorm (utilize Facebook free and for sale pages!). GET YOURSELF A BATHROBE if you're living in Bard and having to walk down the hallway to get to the co-ed showers!

I think that's the bulk of what I wanted to get across as some of you make your journeys to starting grad school this Summer/Fall! Good luck! :) Feel free to use my "???//Comments" page to let me know of any other blog posts you'd like to see!



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