Is Grad School Right for Me? Or do I Prefer Joy?

It is that time of year when you start contemplating whether you are going to apply to grad school or not.  Having been a graduate student myself and having spent over 8 years as the Manager of Recruitment and Retention for graduate programs at a large university, I have some great insight into what it all entails.

After many years immersed in grad school culture I came across the book Surviving Your Stupid Stupid Decision to go to Grad Schoolby Dr. Adam Ruben.    The book is hilarious and a must read for anyone in academia or thinking of entering academia.  I have taken, and slightly modified, a quiz that he has in this book.  This will help you determine whether you are cut out for grad school.  If you answer (c.) to the majority of these questions, then you just might have what it takes.

Despite the sarcastic tone, I can honestly say that my years of grad school were some of the best and most intellectually stimulating of my life.  Further, having a graduate degree has certainly helped to open up further career opportunities for me.

Good luck!!

To determine whether grad school is right for you, take this simple quiz.  Here’s a criterion to start you off.  This quiz is like the ones you see in Glamour or Cosmo.  If when you see those titles you picture them in your mind like this . . .
Glamour: (J. Glam 6 (23): 13826 -8 )
Cosmo: (Cos Rev Lett B 167 (1): 220-9)
… you’re ready to enroll.

  1. I want my significant other to:
    1. Love me forever!
    2. Stick with me through good times and bad!
    3. Abandon me after two or three frustrating years of incompatible schedules
  2. To me, money is:
    1. Very important
    2. Somewhat important
    3. Wholly unnecessary and loathsome. Fie upon thee, o vile money!
  3. If I were an animal, I would be
    1. A tiger
    2. A bear
    3. A tiger or a bear who is in grad school
  4. At least half my conversations include the phrase
    1. “It was the best time I’ve had in my entire life”
    2. “It was the drunkest I’ve ever been, ever”
    3. It was one of the more thoughtful pieces I’ve heard on the CBC (NPR)  this week”
  5. The most beautiful thing in the world is
    1. A rainbow
    2. True love
    3. Archival materials
  6. When I was little, I always wanted to be
    1. An astronaut
    2. The Prime-Minister
    3. Someone who designs a small valve on an astronaut’s shoe or publishes esoteric analyses of political policy
  7. I see a tray of free pastries. I think,
    1. These look pretty good. I may eat one.
    2. I’m not very hungry.  Oh well.
    3. Well that takes care of this week’s breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
  8. I’d love to earn fame and notoriety
    1. Right now!
    2. During a long and successful career
    3. For someone else
  9. I hope
    1. Someday to achieve greatness
    2. For a secure, stable future
    3. Rarely.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I provide those of you who have passed this test with lots of tips and strategies for getting in to grad schoo.

Published by lessstressedstudents

Clare Tattersall is the Manager of Undergraduate Services for the Faculty of Engineering at The University of Western Ontario.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: