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Posted Sept. 1, 2015

5 Ways to Adjust to Life as a Postgrad Student

If you thought postgrad student life was less exciting than undergrad – because you would have less time to cope with study, have fun and would have to look for a job at the same time – then you should think again! It is not uncommon for many to feel that postgrad life would involve more studying, lengthier assessments or higher word limits to dissertations, etc. While these are all valid concerns, they should not deter you from applying for a course that you feel you are meant to pursue. The key element is that you settle quickly into your new postgrad student life so that it can bring more perks in the limited duration of the year. Some of you may have already been accepted into a college and are preparing to settle into your residential accommodation. So that you don’t waste too much time figuring things out, we have some tips for you to settle in quickly and make the best of the months ahead of you.

Here are top 5 ways to easily adjust to life as a postgrad student: 1. Get to know your area and essential facilities Getting to know the surrounding area – whether close to where your seminars are held or from where you stay – is essential. It is key that you do this just after you have settled into your accommodation and before classes begin. This could mean finding the nearest convenient stores, farmers markets, GP clinics, cafes, local cinemas and restaurants. You can also save a lot of time (and money) by identifying well in advance affordable gyms, salons, second-hand book shops, etc. Most importantly, if you are not a citizen/permanent resident to the country where you pursue the degree, it will be good to find out about the local transport options and the nearest train stations and bus stops, etc.

2. Sign-up and Register You may want to find out about local student bodies or interest groups/societies that you are eligible to be part of. This can give you a good grip of current affairs that can help in your career prospects. You can also quickly make new friends, network with students from other countries and plan regular meet ups. Registering for college library memberships is an essential part of your course but in addition you could also register with affiliated libraries using your student IDs or look for online databases that you could use. Keeping an eye out for student discounts or signing up for alerts on plays, exhibitions or music concerts can give you the much needed recreation between study time.

3. Gather career information You have chosen to do a postgraduate degree to boost your career prospects, get an edge over your peers and colleagues at work or do advanced level research in your area of specialization. This means that you would need to gather maximum information and resources while you have the time during your course. This may involve researching on prospective PhD topics, application to professional bodies, regular events hosted by your department or making a list of potential internships that you could apply to. Since all of these activities can be time consuming it is preferable to start early so that you aren’t bothered at the time of course deadlines.

4. Make friends Probably the most amount of time that you would spend outside of study would be with your course colleagues. Using this opportunity to meet new people and sharing common interests can help you manage time better! Plan your study schedules and recreational activities with friends who understand the level of commitment given to your postgraduate study. Therefore don’t wait until assessments or mid way through your course to identify people that you share common interests with, either in study topics or personal interests or both!

5. Explore It’s natural to feel that postgrad study may involve a hectic schedule leaving very less time for travel and exploration. But if you plan ahead you can slot in time over weekends, early days after submitting assessments or between semester breaks. So that you can plan your excursions better, try to get guidance on local tours from your college student information office or from websites. It would be best to plan something along with your course mates so that you can keep a check on managing your time around deadlines.

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