1. You have to get to know an entirely new school. And city. And life. That sh*t is hard. You get lost consistently for the first month before you realize the city is built on a grid and all your classes are on the third floor of the building.
2. You have first-day-of-school jitters for the first time since high school. You don’t know anyone in your grad class and it’s truly terrifying. How do people even make friends? You text your mom and ask this question. She tells you you’ll be fine. You actually will.
3. It’s hard to talk to people who aren’t in your program. Because you’re in the trenches with these people every day, struggling and learning and failing and, sometimes, actually succeeding. You have friends who aren’t in your program but they just don’t understand. You make a best friend at school and gossip with him about everything. It feels so good to be understood.
4. You worry everyone in your program is smarter than you. You’re convinced you were admitted by mistake. Everyone else is so accomplished and poised and has such shiny hair. You feel like a fraud. You feel a little better when you find out everyone else does too.
5. Your idea of socializing is studying with other people in your cohort. There isn’t time for anything else. Okay, fine, when you finish this project, you’ll all go out for beers and stay out way too late. You’ll bond. Someone will cry. The next day, you’ll just remember that it was fun. You’ll buy an extra-large coffee and head back to the library.
6. Your professors are intimidating as hell. Your professors are the most accomplished people in your field and it’s horrifying. How are you supposed to talk to them without becoming a stammering mess? How are you supposed to listen to their critique without crying? Hint: you’ll stammer and you’ll cry. Don’t worry. They’ve seen it all before.
7. There are moments where you’re sure you’ll have to drop out. Because there’s no way you’ll make it through this semester. Or this week. Or this day. It’s astounding how often you feel this way but you still make it through.
8. You’ve cried in every bathroom at school. Your favorite bathroom to cry in is on the fourth floor.
9. You feel proud every time you say you’re in grad school. Because it’s hard as hell and makes you question your entire existence but you love it like crazy. And you’re proud of yourself, as you should be.
10. You don’t even want to think about graduating. You found the perfect school and perfect program and carved out a niche for yourself in this weird world and you DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT GRADUATION, OKAY?!