Stressed About Grad School?  Learn This Important Lesson.


Recently, I was having a conversation with someone about the stresses and anxieties involved with grad school.  It can be easy to ask yourself, “Am I good enough?”  Especially when you compare yourself to other students, gauging whether or not you will be as good or as smart as them.  I’m paraphrasing, but here is what my friend had to say:

It is important to remind yourself that graduate school is not about being the best, or about getting the best grades.  Often people in a Master’s program work full or part-time jobs.  It’s understandable, then, that sometimes you might not get an assignment done or a reading completed.  No, it’s not about being the best; rather, grad school is about passing.  (This might sound like a lazy approach to school, but that’s not what he’s trying to say.  It boils down to this:  Students shouldn’t so much be concerned with being the best as much as they should strive to do their best under the circumstances.  That is enough.)

Most importantly, he said it is not about getting a “Master of [Insert field of study here]”, but it’s about gaining the tools to become a Master in said field.  The end goal, for example, is not about getting a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, rather it is really about learning the craft and gaining the tools to become a Master of Creative Writing.  In other words, by the end of a graduate program, students are not necessarily going to be the best at their particular fields of study.  However, the program will or should impart to students the necessary tools needed to continue learning and practicing their craft.  Then, over time, they will become “Masters” of their field–in this case, creative writing/storytelling.

Don’t worry if you’re not the best.  Just do your best, and gain through learning the tools needed to get better.  Life involves constant learning.  This is a good thing.  It takes time to become a Master.  Now, young grasshopper, let’s get to work…


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