5 Differences between Undergrad and Grad School

1. Gen eds, who's she?

We all complain about that random art history or yoga class we had to take that has absolutely nothing to do with our major in undergrad, and typically focused our attention on the more interesting core classes (no shame). HOWEVER, all of a sudden, in grad school... Every. Class. Is. About. The. Same. Thing. The whole point of graduate school is to pursue the niche field that you're passionate about, so all of a sudden you are putting 100 percent effort into every single class because they're all so fascinating. Folks, it's a lot, and I wasn't ready.

2. Identity crisis 2.0

Especially if you're entering grad school right out of undergrad, you may still be coming off the high of being the big (wo)man on campus. All of a sudden, you're a "first-year" all over again, but who honestly knows what that means? You're a grad student, but are most likely at a new school and are wandering around as lost as the 18-year-olds – it's a confusing time. 

3. School pride

Real talk: Homecoming, sporting events, spirit/pride weeks or any other activities about repping your school... they're all for undergrads. Undergrads pay a higher student activity fee, so all of the events are typically based on their schedules and are usually free for them to attend. Grad students get the cold slice of pizza that no one wanted from two hours after the event ended.

4. Classes are hard...

Most people got some version of the speech "college is hard, and your professors will not tolerate any shenanigans" from one of your teachers in your last year of high school. Many of us, however, find that college is actually pretty chill and laid back, filled with pajama-clad students in 8 a.m.'s and professors who send one-word emails signed "Sent from my iPhone." But let me tell you – that speech is resonating loud and clear during the first few weeks of a grad program; it's hard, y'all.  

5. ...but so, so rewarding

There's nothing better than working hard on a project that you know will not only get you a good grade, but is also teaching you the valuable skills that you need to excel in your field. If you're in a grad program, there's a 99 percent chance that you know what you want to do with your life and the entire purpose of the program is to gain new skills on that topic. It's still a drag to wake up for class every day, but having such a personal investment in every single thing you're learning is one of the best feelings there is.