Having almost a full semester of graduate school under my belt, I think it’s time to explore the actual differences between what my undergraduate experience was like to now. To some, it might be a shock and to others, it might align with your perception of graduate school.
- Class Times
In undergrad, all of my classes were in the morning/early afternoon with the exception of music ensembles. Although I have significantly less classes, they’re all in the evening for 3 hours, twice a week.
- Cohort Style
Most graduate programs are ‘cohort style’, which means you and however many others are in your ‘year’ will have the same classes together until you graduate. Occasionally you might have a couple students who transcend cohorts (most likely part-time students), but you’re with the same people for all of your coursework. Depending on who you’re with, this can be a good or bad thing.
- Less Involved
Being a grad student means you’re most likely going to be less involved on campus when it comes to extracurricular activities because of Point #4.
- Working a Job
While getting your graduate degree, there’s a very high chance you’ll be working a graduate assistantship and/or another job, which takes up your time during the day. This is why classes are held at night to accommodate those people.
Because of those different factors above, you might feel a bit isolated from everyone else on campus. Even though I’m still involved with a few clubs and organizations, I still feel distant from everyone else. This makes me miss my undergrad experience. I miss seeing different people everyday and as much as I like the cohort model, I like having different classes with different people because of the variety.
Hopefully this gives you more of an insight into what graduate school is really like!