Countdown to graduation

by  Jenna Rae Tucker

…or as I have been lovingly referring to it, countdown to nothing. Here I am, a 27-year-old grad student getting ready to finish a thesis and get thrown back out into the real world. I will have more credentials and experience under my belt, but that doesn’t really make me feel any more prepared. I am getting flashbacks of being in the same position at 18 and 22. After high school I had this grand illusion that college would somehow know what I was interested in and guide me to the perfect career immediately after releasing me. This was sort of the case, but I had to work the front desk part time at a radio station, then work in promotions, before finally making it on the air, which I assumed is what I wanted to do since that is what I spent all my time doing in school.

Then I got bored and figured my grad school would help me decide what I wanted to do. And here I am, three months to go and still no dice. Maybe I will stay in media. Maybe in radio. Maybe I can get that farm with 100 dogs that I have always dreamed about. I have had five internships, been active in radio for seven years, and will shortly be acquiring a master’s degree.

Yet I am still clueless.

The countdown to nothing continues.

Are you graduating soon? Under grad, grad school, I don’t care. Give me advice!

Who would want to take summer classes?

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By: Mario Quintana

The majority of people wait all year for summer to arrive and perhaps even more so students.After months of class, hours of studying, and weeks of cloudy days, summer is ever so calming.For those who work and go to school, it is a relief to have less stress and responsibilities to deal with. So it may come as a surprise to many students to see other students taking summer classes. Yet, there are lots of reasons for taking summer classes.

I’m considering taking summer classes this year to graduate sooner rather than later. Fortunately I have the finances to take the classes if things work out. In doing so, I can save time and money by graduating earlier. Yet, there are uncertainties that come about by rushing things. What are my options after graduating? Am I considering grad school or will I join the workforce? Do I have a plan for both options?

In the end, I suppose I’m ready to finish my undergraduate degree and to move on. This is my  fifth year at PSU and taking another year is not appealing to me. It almost seems that my path to adulthood has been stagnated for numerous and personal reasons. While summer is a great time for the majority of people, it does not exempt them from their work and responsibilities. So would you take summer classes if you could?

Finals are coming. Have you pet a dog yet?

by Jenna Rae Tucker

 

I consider my dog, Tim, to be my best friend, I would almost always rather snuggle up with him and stare into his adorable little face than go out and party. Sometimes he is annoying, especially when it is time for a walk (or what I like to call a “pull”) but he is always stoked to see me when I come home and he is such a goober it always makes me laugh. Maybe it is because I have never had a dog of my own, or because I am Tim’s lifeline, but I just love the little sucker so much. He makes me feel less stressed, less sad, and less lonely.

Timbers

Timbers

But it is not just me! Hanging out with a pup can do this for you too! According to a report from CNN “canine interaction increases a human’s level of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces anxiety and blood pressure.” Studies also show that lots of stress/anxiety impairs memory, which you need for those tests. Some workplaces and universities actually have therapy dogs on site during stressful periods to calm people down.

DOGTHERAPY

So, find a dog and get to pettin’ (but make sure you ask its owner for permission first, apparently people frown upon random petting sometimes). Tim is available, but he will charge you one baby carrot per petting session.

Flu Got Ya Down? Stay Down!

Jenna Rae Tucker

This is my last term of classes and I am so excited. However, I seem to have this terrible curse of getting really sick the first week of classes. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

My mom would never let me do anything during the day if I didn’t go to school and that philosophy is still engrained in me. So, I usually suffer through school and work and cry on the inside (and sometimes outside).

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Whyyyyy!

In my old age (27 whole years) I have learned that if you are sick, get rest. It’ll help you get better. People don’t want to be around your sneezy, dripping, sweating, puking, coughing self. Get in touch with your professors and let them know you won’t make it to class, but turn in your assignment if one is due and make arrangements to get notes. Call your boss and tell her your 102 degree temperature is going to make it impossible to come in. Now here is the key component of this advice: STAY IN AND GET REST! I just stayed in my bed for 48 hours and it worked wonders.

I know, sometimes you have to work. You have to go to class. It’s the way of the world. But if you can avoid it, do it. Don’t feel bad. If you rarely call in sick, if you never abuse the power, people will understand. Don’t feel guilty.

To do list: Be happy

I expected the second year of grad school to be easier. Half the program is under my belt, I have the pattern down, I know what the expectations are…cake walk, right? WRONG. In fact, I feel more overwhelmed than I did this time last year. Perhaps it is because I also have this GIANT 60-100 page paper looming over my head that I have to continually work on. Whenever I have free time (which is either after a long work or school day) I feel guilty if I don’t have some form of homework or thesis work in front of me.

But you know what I always forget? To do stuff that makes me happy. I think it is impossible to stay sane and do quality work if you feel guilty or completely overwhelmed. It is important to take time to do something for yourself. It is kind of surprising how cathartic and refreshing it can be to the scholastic process. I went to see the band Atlas Genius earlier this month (they are freaking great live by the way) and it put some pep in my step. While I constantly worry about being able to get all of my work done, I need to remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There will be a time (hopefully in the near future) where academic papers are behind me and I can do fun stuff all the time.

So, in short, always find a way to take time for yourself. Whether it be a happy hour, ice cream, concerts, etc. You deserve it.

Grad school: one step forward, ten steps back

I’m still not sure I am equipped to handle the stress that comes with graduate school. When people said it would be hard, I laughed at them. I never had to read assignments in undergrad, and writing papers was easy.

If you are thinking about grad school you should just know that the reading is ridiculous; hundreds of pages per week. The papers are long. I scoff at anything in the single digits now. Stress will eat you for dinner, and it will eat your other grad school friends for dessert. Time management is a must, and the funny thing is that it used to be a skill of mine UNTIL I started grad school. Not to mention I work two jobs so I can stay alive, AND I have a dog. You might think you are immune to grad school, but trust me, you aren’t; at times it is just plain rough.

I know that in the end it will all be worth it and I am already half way through, but some days it just feels like for every bit of progress I make, every time I get to the top of that hill, someone is standing at the stop waiting to shove me back down.

Sometimes you just have to allow yourself to feel like an idiot, to be stressed and bummed, to cry your eyes out over the injustices YOU signed up for, and then give yourself a pep talk and get back to it.

Speaking of pep talks, this always makes me feel better: 

Graduate school worries

About three months ago I noticed a perpetual voice in the back in my head, always asking the same question: “What are you going to do after graduation?”

I have always considered myself an academic, and grad school seems to be the natural next step. But should I go right after completing my undergrad? That means that the next few months will be spent shopping around for schools, seeking out financial aid opportunities and scholarships, and studying for the GRE.
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