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10 Things They Don’t Tell You About Grad School

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Jun. 16 2014, Published 8:01 p.m. ET

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1. It’s basically a full-time, twelve-hour volunteer position.

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(I also like to think of it as college on steroids.) You’ll be reminiscing about the good old days when you could blow off classes without spending the next three weeks trying to catch up with the lessons.

2. You’ll feel like an idiot.

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Especially in the first couple of weeks, when you’re surrounded by students of various ages from all walks of life. You’ll be going to school with people who have multiple degrees or 10x more life experience than you have ever had.

3. Your diet/exercise regiment will probably go to hell at some point.

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When workshops/panels give out free pizza, and you’re sitting on your butt all day staring at a textbook and/or your computer screen, salads and water just don’t seem appealing.

4. You’ll feel constantly tired.

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No matter how much you try, it’s almost impossible to get enough to sleep to feel like you can make it through the day.

5. Going out to drink will be a means of escape.

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Whereas it used to be a fun way to go out with your friends in college, now it’s a necessity to blast your brain cells with beer as you try to forget about your somewhat sad existence.

6.Extracurricular activities will probably dwindle.

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Although I highly recommend joining an extracurricular activity as opposed to #5, it’s just really difficult to commit to something when you have to spend hours in class and the rest of the time studying/going to meetings.

7. Happy hours with your working friends will become a little tougher.

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When they’re complaining about their 8-hour days slaving away in a cubicle, you have to suck down your drink so you don’t impolitely remind them they’re making money while you’re “working” longer hours, yet drowning in debt.

8. Netflix will become a necessity.

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Especially when you get sick of the aforementioned happy hours and drinking.

9. You’ll start using what you’re learning in real life.

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Unlike Trigonometry or Quantitative Research, you’re taking courses for a degree that you’ll hopefully use for your future career. You’ll be able to apply what you’re learning in real life, and honestly, that’s pretty cool.

10. You’re becoming a stronger, more competent human being.

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Despite the long days, loneliness, and feelings of inadequacy, you really are learning how to become a more capable, functioning adult in society. You’re learning how to multitask, handle professional issues, and think critically about certain subjects. In ten years, when you’re a professional in your field, you can look fondly back on these years and be proud that you got through them.

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