All posts by Krystal Vasquez

Just a second year grad student handing out life advice and ranting on the internets.

Dealing with Grad School Offers

6c8f7df71987c6ddefdd0620691e38f6

You’ve made it this far. Hopefully you have gotten some kick ass acceptance letters, even if they may be mixed in with some icky rejections. However, you’re not done yet. Now comes what I found was the most stressful part of this whole process: choosing which offer to accept.

Don’t worry, though. You’ll be fine.

Here below to help are a few suggestions, tips and anecdotal tidbits that I personally used when I made my decision. Hope it helps!

As a disclaimer, this is highly subjective. You know yourself best. You know what you want out of life. This is just here to help those that need a little perspective on what they should be considering.

If anyone has any of their own suggestions, please leave it in the comments below!

Continue reading Dealing with Grad School Offers

Preparing for Grad School Visits

phd040502s

Ding! A wild email notification appears.

Oh no! It’s a message from one of the grad schools you applied to!

You half-heartedly tap on the notification and close your eyes for a quick prayer to the grad school gods. Your heart wants the best, but you’re preparing for the worst.

Finally in a second of bravery, your eyes open and you skim through the message. YOU’VE BEEN ACCEPTED! CONGRATS! 🙂 A wave of excitement passes over you. The possibilities are endless! Until, you have a realization. A pause in the joy. Acceptance means it’s time to actually visit the grad schools and talk with your potential advisors! Ah, crap.

Not to fear my soon-to-be grad student, the hardest part is over. Visiting grad schools was actually an extremely fun experience for me. After all, I got a free trip to whatever city the school was in and got to socialize with people who were in the exact same situation as I am. Plus, for grad school visits there’s always a chance to get free food and alcohol!

Of course, your visit to your potential grad school is also very important. This is where you will really get a feel for if this university is where you want to spend the next 5+ years of your life. After all, this is your chance to see if the university fits the criteria of things you want in a grad school and a chance to ask your potential research advisors important questions about your future in their lab. You know, no pressure.

Anyway (!!), after a very long-winded introduction, below is a list of some advice I have to help you prepare for the grad visits to come! Hope it helps!

Continue reading Preparing for Grad School Visits

Good days; Bad days.

original_good-day-and-bad-day-mugs

There are good days and there are bad days. Oh boy, are there bad days. There are also days that are neither good nor bad, but ultimately they also suck because you just really needed that good day this week and it hasn’t happened yet and someone said something that pissed you off but you didn’t say anything and you’re just on the brink of flipping a table and leaving, but instead you just take an early day and proceed to blast music and drown out your thoughts. That was today. In case anyone cares. Continue reading Good days; Bad days.

Things I wish I knew before I started “adulting”

e6043ac6c2dafd1ce43b4061d98f89bbHello everyone! I hope the new year has been treating you well so far!

So, I’ve realized that 2015 consisted of a lot of “growing up” and learning how to “adult.” It was weird, and sometimes scary and confusing, but I got through it. And, what better way to celebrate surviving another year than by sharing knowledge in hopes it can help you all survive another year too!

Below is a list (in no particular order) of things I wish I knew before I really started “adulting.” Now, I use the term “adulting” because doing adult things starts at different points of life for everyone. For some, it’s moving away from home to the dorms for college. For others, it’s getting a job after graduation. For me, it was putting on my big girl pants, moving out of my mom’s, renting an apartment with my boyfriend and starting grad school.

Either way, no matter what “adulting” means to you, here are some things that I wish I knew before I entered the “real world.”

Continue reading Things I wish I knew before I started “adulting”

Starting off the semester right

6a00d8341cd8d953ef015435025260970c-800wi

Hi everyone,

I hope this post finds you all prepared to start your winter/spring terms! Since I’m getting ready to go back to class myself, I thought I’d make a super duper quick post on some things I’m doing to start of the new semester on the right foot! 🙂

Hope this is helpful! Any other suggestions? Leave them in the comments and let me know!

Continue reading Starting off the semester right

10 Perspectives for Prospectives

Hello, my friends!

So, myself and a lot of other people on the interwebs have been celebrating the fact that we’ve survived our first quarter/semester of grad school! Oof! It was quite an emotional rollercoaster, that’s for damn sure. In addition to celebrating, some of the lovely people on Tumblr are also using their first semester experiences to share some insider’s perspective on what those first few months will really be like. I wanted to do the same! (And also wanted a reason to look up gifs in my spare time).

So, below are 10 things that I observed and experienced during my first quarter of grad school! I hope this gives some perspective to those prospective grad students (see what I did there?) who soon be joining in our misery adventures!

Enjoy!

Continue reading 10 Perspectives for Prospectives

How to find STEM Internships!

whether-youre-starting-a-new-job-or-a-new-internship-you-will-probably-end-up-having-to-do-the-dirty-work-first1

Hi everyone!

Not only are internships very important in terms of resume building, but it can be so much more than that! Internships are great places to network with colleagues in your chosen field and to gain a unique perspective on the inner workings of your discipline! However, as great as that may sound, I remember feeling really overwhelmed when searching for internships during my junior year of undergrad.

Well, fear not! Because finding internships is actually quite easy if you know where to look. Of course, I say this with the small disclaimer that these tips are mainly centered around STEM internships in the US, but hopefully these tips can at least lend a hand to anyone looking for a cool experience for the summer.

So, I’m going to separate my tips into separate categories!

Continue reading How to find STEM Internships!

Grad Courses as an Undergrad

An extended version of this tumblr ask

shrug_answer_101_xlargeTowards the end of my undergrad career, I got a little bored with my typical classes and I was in need of some units to qualify for financial aid. So, during a brief morning of possible insanity, I decided to sign up for a grad course. Fortunately, that brief moment of insanity didn’t go horrible wrong because the grad courses I took as an undergrad were probably the most fun out of all the classes that I took during university.

Not only were they fun, but I feel it was also pretty beneficial to my academic career. First,  it was a nice way to minimize the culture shock of transitioning from the learning style needed in an undergrad class to that which is needed in grad classes. Not to mention, it probably also showed initiative when I was applying to internships and grad programs, because it showed admissions faculty that I was willing to try something new and was dedicated to learning topics in my field.

Of course, I can see how intimidating it could be. There are also many questions that are unanswered until you actually take the class such as how different is it from undergrad courses? How much harder will it be? Are the tests worse? What is it like being in a class with a bunch of older grad students? Do they judge you? Etc. Etc. Etc.

Continue reading Grad Courses as an Undergrad

Don’t ask; Don’t tell: Grad School Edition

phd042012s

At the time I’m writing this, I should be studying for my final exam that’s occurring two days from now. I should also be trying to wrap up my first mini research project so that I can present to my professor this week to see if I found anything remotely interesting. Even more, I should also be helping my boyfriend with laundry and cooking and chores and other house related things, because I’ve seriously been lacking at all these things, making him pick up the slack.

Life is hard. Grad school makes life harder.

When this post is published, I would have finished the first quarter of my grad school career. It’s a great feat and pretty awesome in the grand scheme of things. But, I am in no mood to celebrate because goddamn it was such a challenge! Worse,  it feels like I haven’t accomplished a damn thing and am not a single step closer to that degree I’ve been dreaming about for years. Talk about a motivation killer, right?

Continue reading Don’t ask; Don’t tell: Grad School Edition

Relieving Test Anxiety

fbf46c36277067a5de185cd33f6ec639Hello, my fellow students. Unfortunately, I greet you during that dreaded time of the year: finals week. And yeah, sure, the long nights of studying are pretty bad, admittedly. But, in my opinion, what can be even worse is that little voice in you head that that starts speaking up right before the final. You know the one. It says horrible things such, “You studied the wrong material,” or even, “I bet you’re going to forget everything you studied the moment you sit down!” Gosh. What a jerk that voice is. 😦

Anyway, I feel that a lot of the time, it’s this test anxiety that makes finals week so nerve-wracking, scary and stressful! However, over my test-taking years I’ve found a few techniques that have helped me reduce my anxiety and go into the exam room feeling focused, awake and confident! Listed below are my techniques in hopes that this helps you all have the best finals week ever! Kick those test’s butt! ❤

Continue reading Relieving Test Anxiety