Graduate School Stress
Rachel Pukall
rpuka198@uwsp.edu

The life of an academic student is full of stress, pressures and the hassle of time management. Add graduate school to the equation, and some students become completely overwhelmed. Having only an undergraduate degree is becoming not enough to land the well-paying jobs of the future.

“There was always the expectation that I would go to college because I want to make sure I have a good and stable life. Once I was here, I started off as a different major, and now where I’m ending up I’m finding that as I get farther in my career, a master’s is required,” said Emily Zahasky, a student majoring in communication with an emphasis in interpersonal/ organizational communication and a minor in psychology.

Zahasky has applied at a few places but would like to get into Northwest Missouri State for grad school.

Nick Boehm, a senior majoring in communication with an emphasis in public relations, is going to Colorado State for grad school.

“I’m absolutely thrilled and very excited,” Boehm said. “I think my biggest worry is my assistantship just because I’ve never done extensive teaching. I’ve done a little bit here and there, but I don’t have a ton of background in teaching, so that’s a little nerve-wracking, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.”

Boehm decided on going to grad school about a year ago but didn’t get really serious about it until about six months ago.

“I decided to go to grad school because I’m interested in health communication. For health communication, it’s usually a good idea to have a graduate degree,” Boehm said. “I’m interested in it primarily because I feel like it’s a good way to help people and there’s a lot going on in that industry right now.”

Boehm is almost finished with the whole application process, which he found to be the most nerve-wracking part.

“I think the most stressful thing is the waiting game that you have to play. You have to ask teachers for recommendations, you have to take the GRE and wait for your score, and you have all this stuff you have to type up and send in, and then you have to wait for the admissions decision,” Boehm said.

The GRE is short for the Graduate Record Examination, which students have to take in order to get accepted as a graduate student at a college or university.

Zahasky agrees that the waiting is the most stressful part.

“You work really hard, you study a lot for your GRE, and you try to make sure that you’re yourself in the interviews, but the best face of yourself for them. You just hope that they like you and that you’re qualified to be in there. It’s just the stress of waiting because I did everything I can. There’s not much I can do right now,” Zahasky said.

Zahasky’s biggest worry is that she won’t get in. She’s also slightly worried about being prepared for the extra work load of grad school and going to a different university.

“You have to make all new friends, learn all the professors, the advisors, who to go to when you need something—and it’s just different in general,” Zahasky said.

With the end of the semester fast approaching and grad school right around the corner, both Boehm and Zahasky seem excited to start this new chapter in their academic careers.