Well, I did it! I made it through one whole week of grad school, and no one pointed and laughed and threw me out on the street for not belonging here. In fact, I felt an energized sense of life and purpose that tells me I definitely belong here, even if it’s going to be a challenge and then some (and despite missing my boyfriend quite desperately and, oddly, being homesick for San Diego, where I haven’t lived for 11 months now!).
The first week went quite well, I think, but I know it is also not quite a true test of what is to come. For one thing, I didn’t get assigned any homework in my own classes, which I know will ramp up significantly in a short time. We were also still covering mostly introductory material, so I didn’t have to feel too out of my depth yet (I can already tell that the math is going to be my limiting factor). I also didn’t have any labs to run, which will be yet another thing to do in the coming weeks. And I’m still new enough to get the benefit of the doubt about having zero clue how to do or even start my research. So it’s not quite an all clear, but it does feel good to not have figuratively died during my first week.
Classes that I am taking this quarter are:
- Computational Physics and Astrophysics
- Graduate Research Seminar
- Pre-Candidacy Research (this isn’t really a class, but it is technically considered one by the university)
A million other things that I am doing this quarter:
- TAing for an undergrad non-major course on stars (this includes attending their lectures, grading, holding office hours, and running 2 lab sections)
- Attending various seminars/colloquia throughout the week
- Sitting on a committee as a grad student representative
- Probably other stuff I am forgetting at the moment
So it’s not the worst schedule but it certainly isn’t going to leave me a lot of free time or sanity. The good thing is that, since UChicago is on a quarter schedule, I only have to endure this for 10 weeks!
In summary: feeling good but a bit anxious and overwhelmed, still worried that I might not be capable of doing this (particularly the math), but super excited to be here. And now I have to go work on this week’s homework!