With the finals today, I close my chapter at Penn State University.
When I applied for master’s degree, I had applied to 3 schools: University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Penn State and Georgia Tech University with Georgia Tech being my first choice. I got accepted to University of Minnesota and Penn State pretty early on but I was still waiting for Georgia Tech. As time passed by, I didn’t hear from Georgia Tech but I had to make a decision. So I decided to go with Penn State. Three weeks into Penn State I got a reply from Georgia Tech that I have been accepted! At this point I couldn’t drop my classes. So I decided to complete the semester at Penn State.
I am done with this semester and I think I did a pretty good job. Apart from the obvious coursework, there are few things I have learned from starting school all over again.
- It is hard to go back to school after a significant gap! It is so easy to get distracted. You forget the habit of studying.
- Graduate school is different from undergraduate school. There is much more reading and research. If you are in online school like I am, there is a high chance that your classmates are older than you or have a lot of experience of the industry. Hence in a way you are more professional with your classmates.
- Time management is key to everything. So organize and plan ahead and stick to the plan. Online school can take as much time as regular school.
- Dark circles are inevitable when you are working full-time and going to school at the same time. Hello late nights! I have recently found myself overspending on all sorts of eye creams and concealers.
- You stop enjoying weekends. Sometimes weekdays can get so busy that the only time you find to work on your assignments are weekends. I have spent many weekends in past few months sitting in front of computer while A and our friends enjoy the good weather.
- Hotspots on your phone are heaven! A and I love to go on road trips but that is always not possible because I find myself running out of time to do my homework. So many times in the past when we are on the road, I have used mobile hotspot to work on my assignment while A drove. Yeah…mobile hotspots are heaven!
- E-books are awesome. Since I like to travel, I can’t always carry my 2 lbs book everywhere along with my laptop. Even if I just want to go to a coffee shop to study, carrying a heavy book together with my already heavy laptop is a bit inconvenient. So buy e-books whenever possible. They are easy on your back( or shoulder). The best part about e-books – it is 5 times faster to find what you are looking for with a simple search. Also if you are a person who likes to make notes, just print it by chapter. It makes things much easier.
- Quick easy meal does not have to be unhealthy. When I decided to join school, the first thing that came to my mind was – “It is going to be a lot of take outs and eating out”. But surprisingly it was not the case. It was also not that I always cooked at home. I have done fair amount of eating out, all because of lack of time (and sometimes laziness) but I have found many recipes that are really quick and healthy at the same time. Most of them involve vegetables and fruits. Check on my recipe section for some ideas. I will be posting more recipes soon.
- You are more aware of your finances. School is a money pit! Yup I am talking about you, $6000 per semester (my heart still aches). But that helps you manage your finances much better. You stop spending on random things you don’t need. In my case, it has not stopped completely but it has definitely reduced. I have also adapted to one in one out rule. Basically, if you want to buy a new pair of shoes (that you really don’t need but just want it), you need to get rid of one pair you already own. If you are not ready to part from any of your shoes, don’t buy! I applied this rule to everything.
- You get student discounts AGAIN! I know I know its exciting. When my school sent my student ID I was so excited just thinking of all the savings I can make with the card. I did use my ID at many museums while I was in Chicago. And since you have a .edu domain email ID, you can get student discounts in many online store too like ASOS and TopShop. In addition, I score a huge discount in many software from school library and from other software vendors. I missed you so much student discount!
- Enjoy! Enjoy because this is not going to last forever. No matter how much I get stressed out, I know I am going to miss this like I missed my undergraduate school. So learn to enjoy it. Take breaks in between. Don’t over work. If you screw one assignment know that it is not the end of the world (but yea don’t keep screwing many). Keep yourself motivated. Reward yourself when you achieve your goal. Know that hard work will pay off at the end.
Although I have never met my classmates in person, I have managed to make few friends. We bonded over group projects which sometimes lasted from 7pm till midnight on a Friday night! We have had many dinners together…well virtually over google hangout sessions! We have learned about each other’s lives and jobs. We have shared jokes over text messages, suffered together over the time differences between group members. And it is a little bittersweet to think that I will not be working with these people over the next two years. It is almost weird and funny in a way to say I am going to miss my friends that I have never actually met.
Well it’s time for me to say good-bye to my fellow cohort 12 Lions now and put on that Yellow Jacket!