These ain’t your dad’s student loans

When I was in my Master’s program (1999-2001), I had a full ride, so my tuition and health insurance were covered, and I got $5000/academic year to be a TA. That still didn’t cover rent, utilities, books, and food. So in addition to my TAship, I took on a 30/hour/week retail job, did well-paid summer internships, and accepted help from my parents. I still racked up a bit of credit card debt. Nothing major, thanks to my parents’ help!

The next year (2002), I started a PhD program, where I was paid $9900/year. And I remember my dad telling me something like “I know how hard it is. I was making only $9000/year when I was in grad school.”

In 1971.

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Flexible Schedules vs. the 8-5

Many graduate students can find themselves in for a rude awakening when it comes to working full-time due to the work schedule. As busy as you are in grad school, you have a lot of freedom and flexibility when it comes to how you spend your day.  In and of itself, this can be a lot of the appeal of the grad school lifestyle. Even when you have a 9 am class after pulling an all-nighter, you can find time for an afternoon nap. Or if you’re exhausted, you can hit snooze and postpone your workout until, say 2 pm, in the middle of a workday.

But when you land a staff job, at least at my university, the expectation is that you work 8-5. That can be a culture shock. And even though we all know that the 8-5 is antiquated, that’s still the expectation.

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Career Wanderlust

I don’t know about you, but with a vaca coming up, I’m having trouble staying focused. But did you know you can experience the same thing with your career too? I’m talking about career wanderlust.

What is Career Wanderlust?

You know you’ve got career wanderlust when are working, but you find yourself thinking more and more about looking around for a new job. Or paying attention again to those job posting emails that you had previously been ignoring. Or hitting up job sites more frequently. Or reaching out to colleagues who have moved on to ask leading questions about where they’ve landed, hoping they have great things to say.

Maybe you find yourself feeling like your work isn’t as fulfilling anymore. Maybe you’d like to find a place where your work has more impact. Maybe you are envious of how another manager or department works better together as a team. Maybe you just want a change.

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