As a 20-something student who’s never really been away from home for long periods of time, it sure is tough to move to a whole other country to pursue higher studies. Especially if that other country is around twenty thousand kilometres away, and looking at the air ticket prices makes you want to close your eyes and use your imagination instead. I had decided that I wanted to pursue higher studies way back when I began my undergrad. I wanted to experience how it felt being away from home and having to manage everything by yourself. And so I decided to go to university… on a different continent. A completely different place. Alone (well, alone-ish). Yay! Fun.
Deciding to move away from home was the easiest decision ever, the problem arose when I realized it probably wasn’t a good idea to eat ramen every day. It wasn’t about the nutrition exactly; it was just that eating it every day was pretty boring. But preparing elaborate meals meant double the dishes, which is another huge problem. It’s a circle of never-ending work. This combined with laundry, ironing, cleaning the house, getting groceries, and of course, the worst: getting out of bed every morning. All this takes a lot of time to get used to, especially right after summer vacation.
Despite the amount of complaining my roommate has to endure, I can honestly say that living alone has more perks than cons. You get to experience way more failures when your parents aren’t around to help you. I speak from experience. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you may even get to experience a heart-stopping pyrotechnics display while in the kitchen. And just when you’ve calmed down a little, the fire alarm goes off and you go into cardiac arrest. Yes, way too much experience. Tip #1: Learn how to cook before you decide to live away from home.
Most of the time, I find that I end up spending way too much time doing one thing more than the other. An example? The number of hours I spend asleep is way more than the number I spend awake. In this aspect, I identify with Newton’s first law.
It requires an enormous amount of will-power to get off the bed and tap ‘snooze’. This will-power is nothing compared to the amount required to remain off the bed, especially when it’s cold (it’s always cold) and your quilt keeps you extremely warm. You need something to look forward to, something that will keep you awake. Therefore, tip #2: Keep an unlimited supply of coffee. You also don’t want to have to look into the kitchen sink and groan because you’ve piled up an entire week’s worth of dishes. This will make you either go back to bed or blame the dishes for not being able to wash themselves. Honestly, we grad students have to do everything around here. Hence, tip #3: wash the dishes right after you’ve used them. The same with laundry. You don’t want to wake up one fine day, all blissful and rested, only to find that you have no clothes to wear. This brings us to tip #4: Keep a large hoodie or sweater so that you can wear it over your PJs and go to lab/classes. Also, Tip #5: Never wash your jeans unless there’s a large, extremely noticeable stain on it. You’ll need them in conjunction with tip #4, this will help you look less like a hobo, or at least pull off a half-decent hobo-chic look.
And thus ends my currently short list of tips that you will need to survive Grad School.
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