What makes the middle of grad school so hard ?

If you have been keeping up with my previous blogs, you’ll notice I have been digging into the “grad school rut” phase of my journey. The purpose of this blog is to get to the “why” of it.

I’ve come to realize I have entered a new phase of the graduate journey. I call the first 3 years the “cookie cutter” phase. The “cookie cutter” phase is the part of the journey where you are heavily guided on how to think, what experiments to do, and how to analyze the data. Not much thinking on my part, to be honest. Then a switch happened, I became the main voice on how I completed my science. I still have my advisor and committee and mentors, but all decisions made come down to my judgement. That is great place to be in because of the freedom it brings. It is also a daunting place because, sometimes, regardless of the information I gather to make my decision I still have no idea if I’m making the “right” judgement call. After numerous conversations with family and friends I have come to decide that my ability to make the “right” call is tied to my logic and confidence in self. (Side Note: The realization that every individual has their own logic and level of enabling confidence is quite intriguing.)

It’s interesting how I didn’t even realize I was entering a new phase until I entered it, and here we are. Embracing the change, rolling with transition can also be known as the liminal space. As I learn how to navigate through this new phase, I am paying particular attention to my decisions and how they are leading me to my next phase.

Military Museum, Boalsburg, Pa

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