How to “Adult” When You’re in Grad School
By: Kaanan Shah
Senior year is a myriad of emotions - from the excitement of what comes next to sorrow of leaving the life you created in the last 4 years behind, to anxiety on “how to adult.” After an entire semester of the roller coaster of emotions, the proud moment where you move your tassel to the other side of your cap, and the two weeks spent crying about missing your friends, you finally feel ready to “adult,” and tackle “post-grad-life.” But what if you aren’t shining your shoes and putting on a new business outfit for your first job and are getting new school supplies and a backpack instead? Are you still considered an adult when your “post-grad-life” comprises classes, professors, and late-night study sessions? Here are a few tips to still feel like an adult when you’re in graduate school.
Try new restaurants. Even though your day is spent with your head in the books, putting on jeans and a cute top, and going out to eat with your friends makes you feel like an adult. Also, this is exactly what your undergrad friends are doing after a day at work. They are going to happy hour or dinner with their new work buddies, so why can’t you do the same with your grad school buddies! This allows you to disconnect from school too instead of eating at home where you spend time studying. Also, getting out of your athleisure and dressing up is a small yet powerful move to make you feel adult-ish.
Change up your study spot. The library feels suffocating after a while and it’s hard to stay motivated and feel like an adult with you’re stuck inside that box. Try a local coffee shop or a public library. This allows you to find new places in the area you live in, but also be surrounded by new people with different stories. The person next to you may be a writer, having a business meeting, or taking the day off and enjoying the city. You never know! This makes your day less mundane and surrounds you with a unique atmosphere.
Enjoy the city you live in. This may sound repetitive after going to restaurants and changing your study spot, but it’s more than just that. Check out if your city has different festivals, food fairs, art shows, classes offered, or pop-up museums for a change in pace. There is always something new to do whether you have lived there your whole life or are new to the area. Unique activities like those can even change your perspective of the city and give you more to look forward to.
Don’t get caught up with social media. This one is probably the most important. Social media shows whatever facet of your life you choose for it to display. So if you constantly see your friends partying or taking trips when you are stuck in the library, try not to get down about it. Although it seems easier said than done, remember that they may not be posting the trials and tribulations of their job, but rather the fun experience they’re having in their free time. Similarly, you might do the same and not posting pictures of your 14-hour days in the library. They feel what you’re feeling when they’re sitting at work too.
Visit your friends/ plan trips. Your friends miss you as much as you miss them. Keeping up with them by texting and FaceTime fills only so much of the void. Planning to see them keeps both you and them motivated to get your work done. Spending your time off together and showing each other around your respective cities, discovering new ones, or going back to your undergrad stomping grounds makes you forget where you’re at in life and just enjoy the time you have together. Adulting or not it doesn’t matter because you’re back together and that’s what counts.
So even if going back to school has you feeling some type of way, remember it will be over soon and there are ways you can feel you’re adulting even if grad school makes it feel you’re not. Adulting is not about your location or what you’re doing, it’s about having the right mindset.