Tips for Dealing With Grad School Stress

While an exciting time after earning a bachelor’s degree, the decision to go to graduate school to earn a master’s degree, PhD, or other advanced degree is a big undertaking. Regardless of if your plan is to earn an MFA, or a master of science in information systems, cybersecurity, or another information technology degree, you can increase your odds of being successful in graduate school and earn a higher GPA if you come up with a plan to manage stress before starting your information technology, computer science, nursing, or another advanced degree. For ways you can manage the stress that comes with earning a master of science or arts, read on.

Research your program ahead of time.

Knowing what you’re getting into before enrolling in a graduate school program is important. If you’ve just filled out your business applications for an MBA program or are hoping to get into a specific track with a therapy degree program, odds are that you just took the GRE and already know what it’s like to stress about a GRE score. The truth is that applying to any graduate program is a stressful process. However, if you use the application process time to prepare for becoming a full- or part-time graduate student, you’ll increase your odds of success. An important step many prospective students overlook, doing your research ahead of entering any graduate program will make a big difference in your overall stress.

Maybe you’re hoping for a masters in information technology but don’t know much about how information technology graduate programs work. Start by talking to information technology professionals. When asking for a letter of recommendation from someone in the field, ask if they have time to talk to you about their IT degree experience. Understanding elective courses, capstone project requirements, and the practical experience they get every day could help you make decisions about your own graduate school journey.

Find a therapist you can trust.

As you enter your graduate degree program, it’s a good idea to get a therapist you’ll be able to count on as you navigate core courses, electives, and even that capstone project. While your friends and family may be supportive, having a professional you can talk to as you juggle business courses against internships and daily responsibilities is a great way to get the tools you’ll need to finish your graduate degree. For example, being able to ask a licensed mental health professional about things like “What does depression feel like?” will be invaluable whether you go to school on a part-time basis or plan to be a full-time student.

When looking for mental health support during your graduate degree program, it’s also important to use your cohort of peers as people to bounce things off of. The truth is, they’ll understand the stressors of a graduate school program more than other people in your life. Other support systems could be faculty members you admire, industry professionals you work with, college admissions officers, and anyone who was supportive during your undergraduate degree program.

Take the admissions process slowly.

Asking questions during the graduate school admissions process is another way to prevent unnecessary stress, irritability, and even symptoms of depression during school. When completing the application process, talk to college staff about each part of the program, your plan of study, and how other students have managed to fit school into their daily life. You may find you get some great tips if you aren’t afraid to ask questions as you go.

Engage in self-care during school.

Self-care is important to making it through an advanced degree. To reach the degree at the end of the tunnel, it’s important to take breaks for your mental health. In being patient with yourself, getting professional help, doing research ahead, taking the application process slowly, and making connections, you’ll likely find your grad school experience is entirely manageable.