11 Ways to Survive the Year You Get Your Master’s Degree

Posted on Aug 29th, 2016 | Career, College

By mid-June, brass rock stars Missy Lacock and Janaye Everitt could finally breathe a massive sigh of relief. They did it. Those ladies received their Master’s degrees. While Lacock spent her year up north at Portland State University to complete a Master of Science in Writing with a focus in book publishing, Everitt camped out at the U of O for her Master of Arts in Journalism.

After the many — and they mean many — ups and downs that took place over the year, they thought they’d share some of the ways they managed to complete an advanced degree — and how you can too — while juggling all of life’s curveballs at the same time.

Here are a few helpful tips from these two graduates:

During the year:

  • You’ll need a planner. Like, yesterday. Write out every second of your day if you have to. You’ll stay on task and remember important assignments. Don’t forget to pencil in some time for yourself, too.
  • Keep your friends close and your phone nearby. Keeping yourself sane is crucial, so text, Tweet and emoji-bomb your friends when stress starts to settle in.
  • Cuddle your cat like crazy. Or dog — we don’t judge. Studies show that adding some animal time into your routine is guaranteed to lower stress. And, they’re so darn cute.
  • Are you wondering if working for tips is worth it in grad school? You’ll definitely be exhausted, but waitressing, bartending and server jobs are often worth the extra moolah if you can still manage to drag your butt to class in the morning.
  • Romantic relationships will be put to the test, be it either distance or the lack of time in your schedule. Say hello to late-night commutes and goodbye to your gas money fund.
  • Network. Now is the time to actually visit your professor during office hours to pick their brain about the "real world." The more relationships you build, the easier it will be to ask for recommendation letters and potential job leads down the road.

Post graduation:

  • You’ll need a solid, post-graduation week to sleep and recuperate. Level of exhaustion? Think catatonic-meets-sunburned-mess.
  • Real life won’t feel like real life right away. It’s summer. You won’t believe you’re actually done with school until fall smacks you in the face.
  • You’ll forget your school’s email password ASAP (good riddance).
  • The alumni association will probably start calling you immediately, asking for donations because they have no idea you’re still broke. We just left the building. Have cash to spare? Ask me in 30 years when my loans are paid off.
  • You might have a job. Or you might not. Panic. Or don’t. We recommend chocolate to help get you through.

For these two women, the decision to get their master’s degrees sprang from the desire to further their education and, let’s be honest, to put off the job search for another year or two. But whatever your reasoning, know that it’s worth it. Getting that graduate degree won’t be easy, and you might want to quit, but it’ll be over in a flash, and you’ll have another awesome accomplishment to be proud of for the rest of your life.

Photo courtesy of Missy and Janaye.