College is fun. Maybe you think I’m weird for saying that; maybe you agree. Regardless, there is a reason I personally decided to come back for a graduate degree. It’s not just because I wanted to change careers. It’s also because I enjoy being a student! I like learning… and maybe even more than that, I like living on a campus with my friends.
Being social and getting work done at the same time, however, can be a bit of a balancing act.
At the beginning, most of my classes started out slow. There were a few moments when I almost wished I had more school work to keep me busy. That might sound weird, but you know how it can be when you’re in a new place… sometimes you just don’t know what to do with yourself.
Once I started to make friends, though, I was happy to have the freedom. In fact, I’ve been so involved with the community that it actually feels like I’ve been living here for at least six months. In the first few weeks alone, I attended one weather balloon launch, two Saturday football games, three cookouts with/for students in the department, and at least four yoga classes. I checked out my fair share of local bars and restaurants. I even organized a trip out west to the Mississippi River one Sunday afternoon (it was at an all-time low, and a professor told us we would be able to stand on the riverbed).
Making friends in the department was definitely a good thing, because it also helped me feel more comfortable getting involved from a more academic standpoint. I attended the informational meetings to join both GTU (Gamma Theta Upsilon, the International Geographic Honor Society) and the East Mississippi Chapter of AMS (American Meteorological Society). I have been doing some of my homework with other students in the department’s Climate Lab. And, I have a racquetball match set up against Dr. B for later this year. My office-mate and racquetball partner, Barrett, is training me. Okay, so that isn’t so academic, but stay tuned to hear about our sure-to-be-amazing win!
While I am having a lot of fun here at MSU, I am also trying to approach the semester from the perspective of a more responsible graduate student. I’ve been making an effort to stay on top of my assignments and not procrastinate as much as I used to. So far, I have passed everything with flying colors. My first big exam comes up next week… we’ll see how that goes.
The most difficult thing for me through all of this has simply been staying on top of the weather. I am used to doing my homework and then forgetting what I learned a week later. I never used to go out of my way to keep on top of current events in Geography. That might sound bad, but I’m sure I’m not the only student who operates that way. With the weather, however, knowing the current forecast is an absolute must. Especially if I want to go into broadcast!
With that in mind, my newest goal for this semester is to get into the habit of checking the forecasts on NOAA’s website and reading the weather discussions every day. I feel like I have everything else pretty well balanced, so I think I can add this one last thing to the top of the pile. Wish me luck!
Rachael has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Maryland and is currently applying to graduate school for broadcast meteorology.