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Through the course of completing my Masters and working on my dissertation, I have learned a very important lesson about higher education: the more you learn, the less you actually know.

Ultimately grad school is one part self-doubt, one part criticism and one part stress. Just when you think you have figured something out and know what you’re actually talking about, there is someone there to remind you that you’re not as clever as you think. Be it the person sitting next to you or even your supervisor telling you to re-write, there is always someone waiting to tell you what you’re doing wrong. Of course this isn’t in a malicious way but just one of the many ways grad school pushes you, to think harder and question those already in your field. The only problem, being constantly pushed and worked to be your very best can be exhausting. And I mean truly exhausting.

So if you are thinking about grad school let me give you a little piece of advice, the key isn’t necessary being the best or brightest in your class, but having a thick enough skin to make it through and learn from the criticisms. You just need to continue and push forward and slowly but surely you will get to the finish line.

Every grad student knows the struggle and self-doubt that comes with being told to re-write a paper or think a little more outside the box, etc. If anything, it is just a continual emotional roller coaster designed to make your stronger. So that’s what I’ve learned, grow a thick skin and don’t worry about being the smartest person in the room, learn how to take professional criticism and use these skills outside of academia. The skills you learn during grad school will help turn you into the best version of yourself moving forward. And god bless those who get their PhD and go through this for years and years.

Any other graduate or PhD students who can relate?

Read this post and other stories on Staci’s personal blog

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