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Hey Loves! I’m Caitlyn the girl behind ChemGradBoom. A blog about taking life with a little salt, a slice of lime and shot of tequila or life of a graduate student, whichever version you prefer!

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Friday, December 12, 2014

15 Facts About Life In Grad School

Let's talk about some truths about life in Grad School. So here my 15 Truths About Grad School that you may not know!

I will say that as a wanna-be forever student, I enjoy college life for the most part, but let's not forget all of the BS that comes along with my self-proclaimed title!

So with the real impending doom of my college career fast approaching, I wanted to share the dirty truths behind grad school. Of course, some things make grad school a fantastic experience, but I prefer the blunt and brutal honesty about it all.

  1. Grad School sucks the life out of you, day after day, but still, it ends up being an amazing 2-5 years. 
  2. First finding the 'RIGHT' grad school seems to be a never-ending task, so when find the right school take the offer as being happy can be better than taking the school offering the most money.
  3. Having to find your first off-campus house in fun and exciting (hello Pinterest worthy living spaces) until you have to pay a deposit, rent, and all the utility bills and get stuck with a shitty landlord. 
  4. Finding your advisor 'can' be fun, that is until the advisor you really want to work with tries to talk you out of it 3 times at an hour each and all of the grad students warn you against him. But my advice: go with your gut, chose someone whose research interests you. 
  5. Accept the fact that after your done with your degree, you will be a semi mini-version of your advisor. I now listen to Reggae music when doing research, have a constant supply of snarky comments to share, and respond with the word 'check'. I am now a mini version of Coach, and while I pretend to hate it all, he has really helped/taught/mentored me!
  6. Classes are not all that bad, although there will be moments where you swear off another semester of grad school. Push through, it gets better!!!
  7. You will get very close to the other grad students in your program and ones that are in your lab. They will understand the bullshit request of Dr E and the crazy revisions requested by Dr H. They will be there for support, nights out, the good times, the bad times, and there to celebrate with you when it is all over. 
  8. Grad school is like a full-time job, except with a more extended winter break. Yes, only a winter break because during the summer you will be at school working away! Trust me though you will probably be way more productive during the summer, no other students to deal with. 
  10. Speaking of beverages to survive through grad school, add some beer. De-stressing is necessary, and alcohol helps with this. So find a local bar and enjoy! Trust me the hard times require some liquid encouragement to go back the next day and get shit done!
  11. You will need to stop being a procrastinator. Shit does not work in grad school. Sure you will have to pull all-nighters, but generally, it is because your research has failed for the 10th time and you have a presentation to get ready for. 
  12. Grad School will teach you that it's ok to fail and that you should be damn happy about the few successes. 
  13. Speaking of failures, you will think of dropping out. It's ok, I did it on a bi-weekly basis until I was working on my thesis and it was the daily basis. School is hard, especially grad school, but stick with it, and you will make it through, eventually.
  14. You will have to take steps back every now and then and press refresh, burnout is a real thing. Learning to push through exhaustion, however, is part of the learning experience. 
  15. Lastly, while I joke about how grad school is terrible, that my advisor sucked and that I wanted to drop out. In the end, you will look back (most likely at your completed thesis) and say suck it grad school, I kicked your ass! 

So if your thinking about life in grad school,  I hope that this gave you some insight and if you ever want to ask questions just let me know! I would love to help/give advice/ an honest opinion! 

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

10 Things that terrify me about moving abroad

Visa application sent in - CheckVisa application approved-  Check
Freaking out about actually moving- More than I imagined. 

Now with everything done, as to what I needed to do for actually moving to Scotland, I can focus on the actual moving part. Which happens to now be absolutely terrifying. It wasn't until everything was sent in and accepted, but I no longer have that problem which is why I am absolutely freaking out about moving abroad. 

  1. Trying to book the perfect plane ticket. I don't want to leave to early ( I have to make sure to say all of my goodbyes) and I want to start early enough so that I can kinda settle before orientation on Jan. 12th. Oh, yea and I also depend on my leave date based on ticket prices #cheapcollegestudent
  2. PACKING..... What can I say, I am moving for 3 years meaning that I will need to pack things for all 4 seasons, books/research stuff, holy technology (3 laptops, 1 camera, phone, etc.) and all of the other stuff aka clothing/shoes. Plus I have to pack it all in 2-3 suitcases...
  3. MONEY like any other poor college student, the money conversion and being broke terrifies me. Yes, I have quite a lot of saving, but I know how quite a lot (for me anyway) may not go that far. As for figuring it out, I think for at least 6 months I should be good to go and then after that will be interesting! 
  4. Finding a place to live. This is actually number one, but I was trying to go in some type of chronological order. And yes you read that correctly, I have no place to live yet! I have been looking at a couple of websites for flatshares, but until I am there, it is just hard. 
  5. Starting a PhD program. Yikes, another degree, school and advisor. All of these things are terrifying. Questions like- What if I am not what they expected? What if I am not smart enough? What if I just suck in general? Are only a few of the ones in my head. 
  6. Navigating Scotland. Being from America and where I grew up, public transit was not something that I ever used! Personally, I am excited about the idea of not having to drive, but the idea of making it everywhere via walking/public
  7. Meeting people. I love to have a social life, a tiny one, but none the less a social life. I am hoping to find a place that will have roommates open to social nights out and helping to show me the city. 
  8. Being alone. I guess this should have higher as well. I am moving away from family and away from JC. For the last 6 years I have had fantastic support with JC always being there to push me, and of course, my family has always been there. 
  9. Travelling. I personally want to see everything and anything that I can. I want to utilise my time in Scotland making sure that I not only explore Scotland but other places. While this is something that excites me, it is also something that scares me. My love for adventure is both expensive, exhausting and exhilarating. 
  10. Seeing how I will change. I am not sure that this scares me, but I do know that my life outlook will change. I am moving to a foreign country, I am starting a PhD, and I honestly have no idea what is in store for me! 

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