Beyond the Professional Schools: Finding the Graduate Program for You

Often, when students discuss graduate school options, they tend to focus on medicine, law or business schools. While these options can be great for many students, there are numerous other graduate school programs that can lead to very enriching career opportunities. Last week, we hosted three phenomenal speakers for Beyond the Professional Schools: Finding the Graduate Program for you!

Mijiza Maláne Sanchez, MPA, Ed.D – Assistant Dean, Office of Medical Student Affairs at Stanford Medicine

Isela Garcia White, LCSW – Therapist at Counseling and Psychological Services

Kathy Rushmore, MS – Business Operations Program Manager at Facebook

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Our speakers shared a lot of great advice for anyone considering further education!

There are lots of possibilities out there. Ask questions to learn more.

Talking to professors, classmates, friends, mentors, and professionals can help you learn more about the options available and broaden your perspectives. Talk to people to learn more about what your future job or school experience could look like. It’s okay, and very rewarding, to ask questions.

Seek out resources to help you make informed decisions.

Before you spend money and time on graduate school, you want to be mindful about your choices. Do your research. Reach out to administrators, financial advisors, and current students to get an idea of what graduate school life looks like at the schools you’re interested in. Consider the program content, cost, loans, location, and structure. This can help you find something that works with your schedule, lifestyle, and financial needs.

Self care is key.

Prioritize your health and wellbeing. Take time to relax, enjoy life, and participate in the other aspects of life that matter to you. You’ll always have more time to work on your thesis or take classes, even if it means altering your plan. Setting goals is good, but it’s also important to adapt to life as it goes. Reach out for help when you need it and get a good therapist. Don’t take academic criticism personally and find ways to support yourself.

Have faith in your process.

There’s no way to know now what your life will look like in the future. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself about every decision. Trust that you will walk your path and create your way.

Define success on your own terms.

Engage in self-reflection and think about what will make you happy. Try to separate that from others’ opinions about your potential path. Additionally, you’ll grow and learn a lot about yourself in graduate school. Learning and growing along the way is incredibly valuable.

Graduate school is different from undergrad.

Grad programs are generally much smaller and more focused. At this point, you’re really specializing and finding your niche. It’s rewarding to be in an environment where everyone is passionate about similar topics. You’re also treated as much more of a professional rather than a student.

A few other takeaways:

Learning is a lifelong process. You will learn many of your skills on the job, and you’ll learn from your job, school, and life experiences all along the way.

Many paths are not linear. Life experiences along the way are valuable.

You can use graduate school as a way to travel. Going to new places can help you develop new perspectives and grow as a person.

-Posted by Annie

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