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What I learned in my first month of graduate school

Many of you know that I am currently working on getting an MSc in Digital Marketing at Roehampton University in London. Let me tell you, so far it's been crazy. Even though I am only halfway through my first semester, I have already learned so much about myself, marketing, and of course London!

While this may seem like an obvious statement, your graduate degree will be completely different from your undergraduate degree. It is up to YOU, and only you, to create a meaningful and educational experience while you get your degree. I want to bring you along with me on this journey so you can learn (or laugh) at my attempt to get through graduate school. Use each of these tips to make a memorable journey for yourself.

First, you don't need as many school supplies as you think.

Unlike high school or college, you don't need a lot of school supplies. This might be a bummer for some, like me, who love to buy school supplies when they go on sale every year. You only need a good laptop, a good filing structure, and a good bag to get through your entire degree.

However, I recommend buying whatever will make your master's journey more comfortable. If buying a whole pack of pastel-colored highlighters and matching pastel pens brings you joy, then go for it! Many of your classes will be very dry and, let's be honest, a little boring; so, any school supplies that help you focus and bring more enjoyment to your learning experience are worth the cost.

Fun fact: In the United Kingdom, you don't need to buy textbooks for yourself unless you want a personal copy. Many universities make copies available in the library or digitally.

The second most important tip is to organize your time.

Graduate school is often like a second job. You can easily spend 40 hours a week on lectures, preparing for seminars, or working on assignments. I cannot stress enough how important it is to organize your time into a schedule that works for you.

Currently, my weekly schedule is divided into three categories: school, work, and play. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are reserved for lectures and catch-up assignments. Tuesday and Thursdays are for seminar preparation and work. On Saturdays, I work and have some fun.

Having a weekly schedule for yourself helps you plan for the week, build a routine, and even increase productivity. But, organizing your time also lets you plan for fun. As much as it's important to prioritize your schoolwork, you also need to prioritize yourself and your mental wellbeing. Make sure to include some "you" time when you're creating a weekly schedule. For me, every Sunday is my chance to rest, relax, and recover.

Next, network, network!

Arguably the most important thing you need to do in graduate school is network. When you complete your degree, you should have two things: deeper knowledge in your field and a bigger network of connections. Having a network, not only gives you long-lasting friendships, but also helps you find future opportunities for new work, projects, or more network connections. Unless I am busy with work or school, I hardly ever say no to new events or outings. Each event is a new adventure in London or a new opportunity to foster meaningful connections.

So yes go to that school event and introduce yourself to new people. Yes, go to that extra guest lecture and ask the guest speaker questions. Yes, invite your professors to coffee or lunch on-campus to get to know them better. Yes, head to the pub with your classmates! Do it all because this will set you up for future success.

Utilize your all resources.

Juggling school, work, and social life will easily get overwhelming. Try to familiarize yourself with resources on campus. Many campuses offer mental health, academic, and even career services to help students. You should utilize each of them throughout your graduate journey. However, you should also utilize your professor's office hours, your classmates when you have difficult assignments or just need a study partner, and any online resources as well.