My general desire for this graduate program is by no means professional in nature. I chose the English curriculum, rather than something that would be in line with my bachelors or current career field because I enjoy writing. I want only two things from my program: a better ability to read with the intent on understanding and develop my writing style. Because I am doing this for myself and not with a big-picture goal in mind, motivation can be difficult. It has been a long time since I have tried to maintain a school schedule, but I try to write for my blog every week. One habit I am hoping to develop is to share this experience, and probably much of my writing, on that blog.
Managing can become difficult when I become frustrated or overwhelmed. As a veteran living with post-traumatic stress disorder feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed can cause big problems for me. I must learn to reach out to both the school and my professors when I am having problems. Also, I have a close friend who is already one year into her graduate program, and I feel that I can always ask for her guidance. Recently, as this class has progressed, I realized that I am often thinking that an assignment is more difficult than it actually is. I believe that I just need to slow down and read all the requirements for a task before trying just to plow ahead.
I have found that I have a more difficult time in required class than in the classes I choose to take. I am a horrible procrastinator and interest in the topic can help feed my ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ feelings. That’s another reason why I went with the English program over, say, a public administration degree. I have a great interest in literature so my interest level should stay high. I still plan on developing lists and calendars of when things need to be done. I will try to break things into sections to reduce any feelings of being overwhelmed. This is another area where reaching out to my professor or advisor would be helpful if I can get over my inability to ask for help.
Research is going to be my biggest challenge with my graduate program studies. I am not used to solely using the internet for sources. I enjoy rummaging through dusty books in a quiet library at three o’clock in the morning. Research is essential for most fields and is one of the things I enjoy most about the English Literature field. Learning about the authors, the times they lived, and the things they wrote about give a much broader picture. While a large chunk of my research will have to be done online, through academic libraries, I also plan a few trips up to a major university that isn’t far from my home, as time permits. That will allow me to really “feel” like I’m in school and I’ll be able to smell the old books.
Overall, I feel that while I do have some areas to work on personally, the challenge of graduate school may help me overcome these areas in my day-to-day life. I will have to manage all of my time better, both at home and at work, to get everything done on time. I will also work on my communication skills with people at the school and with my boss, so everyone knows when I am beginning to feel overwhelmed. My biggest strength in this particular program is my interest in the subject matter. After reading through a personality test, I see that some advantages that will help me are abilities to analyze and think abstractly. I am open-minded and receptive to learning new ideas. These are just a few strengths that would be a plus to anyone in a graduate program.