General Grad School Advice · Getting to Know Plattsburgh · Graduate Student Experiences · Tips and Hints for Grad School

Getting Ready and Planning Ahead: Coming to Graduate School

The warm season is upon us–finally! After a typically brutal winter here in Plattsburgh, Graduate Admissions is coming out of hibernation to prepare for the fall semester. Planning ahead is probably one of the most valuable habits in the academic world. But it’s summer and summer means Netflix, reading for fun, and picnics by Hawkins Pond (at least for me!). So if you slump into the summer doldrums or if you just really want to be prepared, consider some of these summer-before-your-first-semester-of-grad-school tips:

Gather your supplies and get organized

Shopping list: folders, notebooks, pencils, pens, highlighters, and most importantly…a planner. Notebook sized, pocket sized, or somewhere in between, having a place to write down assignments is essential to staying organized your first semester and each semester after that. I’m a planner enthusiast: at the beginning of the semester, I write down assignments from all of my course syllabi (in pencil because due dates can change!). This practice got me through undergrad. But, just having a planner to write down homework as it comes is better than cramming your head with information.

Get to know the Plattsburgh campus and run some errands while you do!

Don’t want to get lost? We don’t want you to either! Consider walking around campus or taking a tour after the Graduate Orientation for accepted, deposit-paid students, Friday August 25th (more info to come!). If you can’t make the date, sometimes the best way to learn the ins and outs of a college campus is to get lost; our campus isn’t too confusing. While you’re traversing the grounds, stop by Student Accounts on the first floor of the Kehoe Administration building to pay for your parking pass. If you’ve already paid online, pick up your tag at University Police. The first week of classes is crazy, so getting this out of the way will lead to smooth parking.

Get in touch with peers and faculty

If you’re in the area, or within a reasonable distance from the campus, reach out to your peers through the SUNY Plattsburgh Graduate Study Facebook page. Any events organized by our team will be posted, but feel free to propose your own. There are a number of casual eateries downtown where you could get together. Also, if you haven’t already, email your advisor. Their name and info can be found on your MyPlattsburgh account under the “Students” tab. You could introduce yourself, ask questions about your classes, or even inquire about their experience in the field. Plattsburgh Graduate study begets a close-knit community; start building it this summer!

Recuperate: ready your mind and body

I’m entering the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program this fall, so I’m all about self-care. Starting a graduate program is exciting but also nerve-wracking. However you choose to prepare for the fall, be sure to take care of yourself. This may go without saying because it’s summer, but get some zzz’s. A restful sleep will prepare you for all the new stuff coming your way. After a smallish nap or two, do some summer-cleaning: organize your apartment/room, throw away old clothes (buy new ones?!), just comb through your junk so that you can start fresh this fall 🙂 

Happy Preparing!
— Sky


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