So you think you want to go to grad school…

Greetings to Cohort 8! 

We are so excited you have decided to pursue your Master’s degree in Environmental Education with us at Southern Oregon University. I remember about a year ago when I was in your shoes… Excitedly sharing the news with family and friends, beginning to make preparations for my move to Ashland, planning out the courses I wanted to take, contacting businesses in Ashland to see about internships, dreaming about all the possibilities…

It’s an exciting time!

In an attempt to help you think about your new life path, I’ve put together a “survival guide” of my own. (Your real Survival Guide, should be arriving in your inbox so​on.)  I hope you, my fellow cohort members, and anyone else who has ever pursued an advanced degree will get a kick out of this (or at least a groan.)

Okay, here we go:

You are about to be busier than you can imagine, so in an attempt to help you manage everything that needs to be done in life I have put together this survival guide. Hopefully you have been saving up plenty of money for your graduate education. Sure, you will need it to pay for classes, books, college fees and all those typical kinds of things, but here’s really what you will need your money for:

  • A maid, to do all your cleaning.
  • A cook, to do all your food shopping and preparation.
  • A personal assistant, to attend to whatever else you might need to have attended to.
  • If you like fresh food from the garden, hire a gardener.

That is… unless you enjoy those tasks, like I do, at which point I would say it is probably cheaper and easier to hire a Reader. Your reader will follow you around and read all your homework assignments to you. It’s better than books on tape, because you can easily ask them to read exactly what needs to be read!

Make sure you have purchased everything you will need for the next 18 months: clothes, toiletries, office supplies, a backup hard drive, etc. You will not have time to shop.

If you have a significant other, spend some good quality time with them before the program begins. Then give them a big hug and a passionate kiss and let them know that you are really looking forward to all the time you get to spend together over the next 18 months… while you slee​p!​

If you don’t have a significant other, be comfortable with being single. Sure, you might find time to squeeze in a date or two, but you certainly won’t have time to actually form a relationship. That is, unless it is with another graduate student or insanely busy person, who understands that school dominates your life.

If you have family that lives more than a few hours away, let them know you love them, and you look forward to seeing them… at your graduation.

When looking at your class schedule, you might be tempted to make weekend getaway plans with your sweetheart, or just to have a break… don’t be fooled. Those free spots in your schedule actually belong to the program. Meetings, class field trips, group projects, all have been know to materialize out of thin air occupying the space you thought you had free.

Learn how to run, bike, do yoga, swim… all with a book in your hand. Take multitasking to a whole new level!

But seriously… you will be busier in this program than you anticipate.

Here are some of my real recommendations:

  • Read “The Art of Getting Things Done” by David Allen.
  • Find a place to live as early as possible and get your study space set up exactly how you like it.
  • Explore Ashland: Learn places that you can retreat to for relaxation and refreshment. As well as learning where you can find the things you might need.
  • Spend time with your family and friends.
  • Attend to your health now. Make sure you feel strong and full of vitality before the program begins.
  • And perhaps most importantly: remember even in the midst of all the business of the program, take breaks and have fun with others. You will need it to maintain your sanity

​We look forward to meeting you!


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