If you’re starting graduate school this fall or are continuing your graduate education, preparation is key. After a summer where you might have not done any school-related work, sometimes it can be challenging to get back into the academic mindset. Especially now, while the COVID-19 pandemic is still happening throughout the country, you might find yourself distracted or stressed, or find your in-person graduate school plans have changed to a hybrid model or completely remote. You might be stressed about how it’s affected your career or job, or worried about family members and friends. Take a deep breath. It is normal, especially now, to have all of those worries – plus the general graduate school worries.

There are things you can do to prepare for graduate school, even if it’s unexpectedly remote. Here are some tips.

1. Get organized! Here is a post on getting organized for graduate school that we posted previously. This might mean using a planner or bullet journal (check out this post on academic bullet journals), using your phone’s calendar or an electronic planning system, or using a giant wall calendar to keep everything scheduled. It might mean color coding notebooks for subjects, or organizing your shelves a certain way. The key is to find an organizational system that works for you. Being organized really does make things a lot easier and can save you time and stress in the long run.

2. Find your own space. Virginia Woolf was onto something – you do need a room of your own. If you can’t have a room, then try to find a corner to make into your study/work space. Especially if you’re unexpectedly remote for graduate school right now, having a dedicated space solely for school work, research, and reading can help get you into the focused mindset, and keep you organized. Check out our post here on organizing your space.

3. Make connections. Whether you signed up for distance learning graduate school or you’re unexpectedly doing it remotely, making connections with others is crucial. Join the Facebook group for your department or cohort. Attend any Zoom events that might be happening. Reach out to your advisor and maintain consistent contact with them. Stay apprised of all of the online happenings in your department and school. Even though it’s online, there are multiple ways to build connections and develop relationships with people, and these connections can be very helpful if you need assistance, support, encouragement, or guidance.

4. Get school supplies. Find out what you need and what books you’ll be expected to have – and whether these will be available electronically or if you have to buy them. The earlier you have this information, the better your chances at finding cheaper used copies of these. Make sure you have notebooks, pencils, pens, post-it notes, sticky tabs, highlighters – whatever makes your notetaking, reading, and research easier for you. And of course, when you get everything home, make sure it’s all organized in your workspace.

5. Become familiar with your school’s online portal. Online portals can vary depending on the school, and some are less intuitive than others. Some are downright confusing. Take some time to navigate the portal ahead of the start of the semester so you don’t take up valuable time you could be spending on reading or work figuring out how to find your class syllabi. If you have to attend lectures, figure out how to use that video portal system and get your login set up.

Here at Dissertation Editor, we know that the start of a new year or graduate program can be nerve-wracking, especially right now. Our team of coaches, editors, and statisticians are here to provide support and assistance with any concerns or challenges you might have with academic assignments, papers, and research projects. Contact us today to learn more about our services and to see how we can help!

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