School, university, college. Call it what you will, but it’s all re-starting here in the USA. Heading into my final year of my master’s degree, I like to think that I’ve got it all under control, but let’s get real here. I probably don’t have it all under control. I’m like a swan – I think that’s what an old teacher of mine likened it to.. – I’m all graceful on the exterior, but on the interior, I’m paddling horrendously quickly. As I’ve already managed to work myself up into a frenzy on the first day back, I thought I’d compile a few thoughts on what I need to remember over the coming 8-9 months. Hopefully they’ll help you too!
1) It’s ok to be nervous. This semester is the semester of music theory for me – definitely my weakest subject by far. I’m a musicologist first, then a performer and then I’m a theorist way down the line. So, safe to say, I’m pretty nervous about going into these classes where I feel hideously under-qualified. I’m trying to go in with the mindset that it’s ok to be nervous, but that professors and classmates alike ultimately want to see me succeed.
2) Sometimes your best isn’t a 4.0 GPA. This one hurts me to type (my housemate lovingly labelled me as an over-achieving perfectionist), but I’m doubtful that I’ll maintain my 4.0 GPA this coming year. While I worked hard for it in my first year, I’m not sure that my best best work will grant me the same grade for the theory portion of my masters. But that’s ok. As long as I’ve done the best that I can, I can’t really moan. Also, I hope my professors know that their open hours are literally just going to be filled with me panicking about passing the class (while I’m attempting to joke about this, I don’t think this is actually too far from what the reality will be..).
3) Relax occasionally. This is super important for me, as I tend to overwork myself and get ill and stressed and it just becomes a vicious cycle. My plan, as it stands (it may change), it to go to classes Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, fulfill my TA duties Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and between these TA duties and classes make sure that I’ve done my reading and work as applicable. This should hopefully mean that I’ll have the weekend to fill out PhD applications, study for GRE tests & actually relax and do something that I’d like to do. Whether that’s hanging out with friends, watching Netflix all day or visiting somewhere new, who knows.
So there are my 3 key points that I’m going to try to remember this academic semester/year. What’s important for you to remember while you’re at school? Let me know below!