One of the problems with being a graduate student is not letting your academic life overwhelm you. While my undergraduate studies at Acadia was certainly intense, graduate studies is even more so. My experience in completing a masters in pure math at the University of Waterloo has certainly shown me this and given I’ve committed myself in the long haul for a PhD starting this term, I find I have to come up with new ways in how to live a balance life. As I elaborated on in some earlier post, the social opportunities are less apparent and you generally feel less of a social vibe than what undergrads feel. For example, I’m no longer living in a dorm residence like I did for 3 out of the 4 years during my undergraduate experience and you taking classes and interacting with other students mainly within your subject (in which it would be math). And often times even if I do interact with students outside of your subject, I find it reminds me of my academic life a bit too much simply because the work I’m doing at the university is that much more intense (no offense to the Waterloo students I’ve interacted with, you’re all great!).
Thus given that the work is that much more intense, I need an even further escape from my Academic Life that I can use on a regular basis. A piece of advice I got from my past undergrad honours supervisor that addresses this issue directly is to find stuff to do and friends to make outside of the university itself. I believe this to be sound advice and it’s what I’m applying to my own situation.
Some things I have already done with respect to this is to get my own apartment instead of living in graduate residence, to make visits to a beautiful park in Kitchener called Victoria Park (which I’m fortunately in walking distance of and is also nice to study at on nice days), and to take my Zumba exercise classes off campus. I sometimes can’t believe I’m at the same place I was for the last 2 years that I completed my masters. I’m beginning to feel a more positive experience in the life of a graduate student.