Life as a Graduate Student

I was born in Honduras and raised around the world. I was adopted into a family with an Italian Mother and an all American Dad. After graduating with my B.A in Communications emphasis in Media studies with a film studies minor, I went off traveling and absorbing as much of the world as possible learning to find myself through the lens of a camera. I needed to be in a city where creativity and culture thrived.
I drove cross country couchsurfing, and documented my epic journey to the West. I now live in the San Francisco Bay Area where I landed an internship with a successful San Franciscan fashion photographer, Liz Caruana, and worked at JC Penny portrait Studios to beef up my photography skills. In addition, I discovered my passion for wellness and healing when I escaped to India for a Yoga teacher training, and I’m receiving my Masters in Integrative Health at California Institute of Integral Studies. More about me you can check out my website: www.lauramariavincent.com

Your graduate program is not like your bachelors at least in my program at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. I’m currently in my last year of Graduate School studying Integrative Health and boy was it a wild ride! And it’s not over! Not only academically, but mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically will you be transformed. I will be turning 30 this year and all of my friends and people I know are getting married, engaged or having a baby, and me? Well I’m about to put myself into more debt. Don’t worry, this happens and everyone is on their own journey of the self. Like Carl Jung said, a well-known psychologist, talks about a period in your late 20’s being the time of the “individuation process”. It basically means you are finding yourself and shedding all the bullshit that you encountered in your early twenties. I don’t mean that in a negative way at all, we all had fun college, made a few (lots) of mistakes and learned from them and now you are becoming a “grown up” essentially. Yes, your mother would be proud. But there are just as many challenges that come with this academic life. Your studies become your life, literally, like a boyfriend. On Friday nights there’s no partying, or else you’ll be cheating on your boyfriend by having a social life. The studies never goes away and you might drive yourself insane sometimes. You’ll want to distract yourself, maybe with Okcupid, and Sex and The City reruns, or NETFLIX. A beer with a laptop and a book is your Friday night, (Maybe coffee if you’re an over achiever, and if you’re in my program, lots of Yerbamates!). In Grad school, you are on your own. Deadlines? Did you read the Syllabus? Reminders for when papers are due? Uh yourself, you, yourself again. Your Professor expects you to be doing all the work, including being accountable for your readings, papers, projects and research. It’s like getting 3 days of training at the job and then you’re thrown into battle with no sword. You have to split your time wisely. This is called time management. Sleeping in? hmmm not if you want a social life. But it gets easier. Once you figure out when your most productive times are. For me, it’s mornings and nights. In the afternoon, I want ME time. Of course you need that time to meditate, go do Yoga or just surf the net for a break. You definitely need breaks. If you’re working part time, this might be more difficult, but financially this is a good move. Those who are in a relationship, this will also be challenging, because you will have TWO boyfriends. My advice, is to focus on your studies while balancing to be a great partner. I was doing this program with 2 different partners at different stages, one in my first semester and one in my second to last. Both did not work out but it wasn’t because of my studies, it was because they just weren’t the right ones. Yes, break ups can also happen… but being social in your program is another opportunity to meet someone! Networking is key, especially when preparing to Graduate. It really is about oh you know this person? So and so is hiring! In grad school, you become more passionate about your work, and for mine, Integrative health has to do with healing, transformation and finding the self. I have grown so much in the past 2 and half years and I will be finished in May. It’s scary to think about, but it’s just going to be another wild ride, with my dream career on the rise!

Good luck!! You’ll do great!

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