Monthly Archives: August 2014

Start of Class, Start of Mental Games

The new school year has officially begun. Naivety and underestimation is in the air. And as a graduate of the wild, free, memory-making undergrad, you become more aware of the beauty of being a freshman again. You also become more aware of how old you truly are. There is no turning back because as a graduate student you are not allowed to be naïve, irresponsible, or lost.


So as you walk the campus looking at all the young students milling around, you realize 1) you’re lost but don’t want to ask an undergrad where a building is because you will look dumb and 2) you are lost in more ways than one that no undergrad could ever help with. It is a big change being on a campus as a graduate student (law or medical student included). Even if it’s a familiar school and familiar grounds, something deep down within you feels changed. Don’t try to ignore or deny it, it’s a part of life now and you need to accept and adjust.

But there are some things you will never adjust to. Like when you’re looking for your classroom on the first day of the new semester with that practiced, fake smile like you know exactly where you are going, and suddenly a new undergraduate student asks you for help. It went a little something like this:

Female Student: “Excuse me, miss, where is Bryan Hall?”

Me: “Yup you’re almost there” and walk away.

Total shut down. And wait, did she just “miss” me?! That means I’m old to people who are only 4 or 5 years younger than me. Then it suddenly sinks in how the university campus world sees ME now…


Just when you think the worst realizations have occurred that you will have to deal with, you finally do find your classroom and sit in those rickety chairs with the desktops that flap up from the side. You look around the room and see faces of people who really are older than you: people already in the work field, those who have been in their profession for many years, those who are married with kids, those who have already figured out their life. It’s then that you suddenly feel like a child again…the child that one of these real adults brought along with them, a child who should be writing in crayon and having a coloring book rather than a textbook.


Then you start mentally freaking out that this is not the right decision. You shouldn’t be here. Grad school isn’t for you. This life isn’t for you. I just want to stay at home and play with kittens and puppies all day. You went from being the oldest person on campus to the youngest and dumbest person in the room within 15 minutes.

In the midst of your mental breakdown, the professor starts speaking and introducing himself or herself. Only to then inform you to call him/her by his/her first name. Say what now?? I don’t think that’s even in my biology to call a professional and my elder by his or her first name.

After explaining the syllabus and how it will all work there’s a final realization….


So in conclusion, you’re screwed… but everyone around you is in the same boat, just in different phases of life. You are not the dumbest in the room. You are not the only one who feels misplaced. You are just part of this whole new world called “graduate school” and expectations are higher. But that means you need to play the game and fake it until you make it, baby!


And we’re right back to the child thing again. Stay young, my friends!


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Devil’s Advocate

I recently read an article on Life Buzz titled, 15 Things You Should Give Up to be Happy, credited to Purpose Fairy. It was very eye-opening and compelling. This is an article many people should read, especially stick-up-their-butt type people. You know who you are: controlling, micro-managing, chronically judgmental people.

Although this article laid out many great characteristics to better yourself, I have one suggestion: play devil’s advocate. Everyone has their own opinions and are allowed to firmly believe them, especially here in the United States where that right is largely protected. However, if people take two seconds to think about the other person’s side of things, topics can actually be discussed and not turned into screaming matches. Think about how much you can change about yourself: not always having to be right, not resisting change, stop labeling unknown people/events/things, realizing how pathetic excuses are, and ultimately becoming more capable of empathy (some of these are points made in the article).

Now some critics out there may say these can be weak characteristics in a person. For example, some psychologists say labeling events and people can in some way help a person to make sense of what is going on around them. However, I am specifically talking about stereotyping and labeling in a hurtful way: labeling gays in a derogatory manner, labeling people with psychological problems, labeling people who are just a little bit different from you as “weirdos.” If you play devil’s advocate here, you would take a step back and think about what names people would call you. Everyone has something they dislike about themselves. Imagine if everyone you walked by at work, school, at the mall, etc. pointed out this one imperfection. Everyone sees everything, so don’t think you are above anyone.

Secondly, playing devil’s advocate can make you the better person. If you can take a step back and see where the other person is coming from, you truly are better than the other person. This does not mean you have to agree with them, especially on a personal opinion, but it just shows your true intellect if you can understand the perspective of others. If more people did this, conclusions and answers to problems may actually be formed.

Just something I think could make the world a little better. Like I said, it’s only my opinion in this matter, and you may disregard it. Hopefully you can at least understand where I am coming from, though. Thanks for reading and maybe taking something away from this post.

Until the next blog post,


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