November 6, 2012
I’m taking five classes this semester. Thirteen credit hours.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday I have: Synoptic Meteorology, Weather Analysis and Research Methods.
Tuesday and Thursday I have: Statistical Climatology and my Broadcast Practicum.
If you’re not aware, that’s a lot for a graduate student! So I was pretty nervous going into my first week of classes. I thought the information overload was going to be too much. I wanted to prepare myself as much as possible, but all I could really do the Sunday before classes started was buy myself a nice new notebook.
You may be wondering if I bought any of my textbooks in advance as well. I did. But take it from me – you will be better off if you wait a week or so before buying your books. Part of the reason for doing this is that you may end up dropping and adding classes after the first day. If your program leaves no room for flexibility (like mine), and you know for a fact you will have to stay in every class on your list, you may still want to wait to put out the money. Some professors can give you insider deals on where to get the books cheaper. And if you’re lucky, they might even tell you that the book isn’t really necessary at all. I ended up returning every single book I bought three days after classes began.
As for my classes themselves, I think they went pretty well. I did have a minor meltdown on the first day, where I thought maybe I should drop my Research Methods course and take on a personal thesis project instead (a thesis isn’t required for my degree, but if I ever want to go back for my PhD it would be helpful to have). And in general, I kept going back and forth between thinking, “this is great,” and “what on earth have I gotten myself into?!?!?!” I hope these types of initial insecurities are normal.
Now it’s the weekend though, and I already feel much more relaxed about everything. I give much of the credit for that to my professors. They’re all so welcoming and helpful that I quickly realized I am in the right place for what I want to do.
It’s also helpful that some of my graduate classes are open to juniors and seniors in the department. We get different assignments (and are graded differently, of course), but we all sit in class together and learn the same information. I’ve found this to be beneficial, because it means the professors have started off class in a more introductory manner. They don’t necessarily expect us to already have a ton of meteorological knowledge.
Overall, I would call week one a success. I’m hoping that if I put in the right time and energy, the rest of the semester will go as smoothly.
Rachael has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Maryland and is currently applying to graduate school for broadcast meteorology.