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The Highs and Lows of Graduate School

grad_schoolWhile I was doing my senior-year undergraduate internship, my supervisor gave me this assignment: “Decide in the next few weeks whether you want to go to graduate school or jump into the workforce.” I was so intimidated by what seemed like an ultimatum. At that point in my life, I was nervous about committing to one decision, but I also realized that I probably needed more education before trying to find a job. So, I began graduate school shopping and shortly thereafter decided on Indiana University. IU was the only school to which I applied (which I don’t recommend) and I am, to this day, really happy I chose to come here.

What I Like Best about Grad School

  • All of my classes pertain to my Exercise Science background. No more required general education classes!
  • The class size is generally much smaller, which means my instructors are usually more accessible if I have questions.
  • Fewer credits per semester (usually). I am taking one class per semester, which enables me to work at several jobs and have time for my husband and friends. It is possible to take a lot of classes each semester though and it’s a good strategy if you want to finish up quickly.
  • Often, the classes provide you with more real-world projects, assignments, and tasks. I have definitely become a better writer and speaker through my time here at IU. I have also had opportunities to get experience off-campus through class work at the local Y.

What I Like Least about Grad Schoolgrad school pic

  • Group projects, galore! Since I started back in 2012, I have had at least one group project per semester and have never enjoyed them. Most instructors are trying to encourage collaboration and discussion, and group projects seem to be the default choice. Just expect them and be prepared to do your part.
  • I am an introvert and don’t enjoy public speaking or participating in class discussions. While I don’t like it, being essentially forced to open up has helped me get out of my comfort zone and become more confident in expressing my knowledge and opinions.
  • There is no escaping pointless assignments sometimes. Even though graduate school is all about taking interesting and relevant classes, just be prepared to submit fairly useless assignments on occasion.

If you are considering applying to graduate school (here at IU or elsewhere), consider having a one-on-one graduate school consultation with an IU-SPH career advisor. You can make an appointment via Career Link or by emailing

Best wishes as you look to your future!

Miriam23Miriam Boyken is a third-year graduate student at Indiana University. She is currently working toward her Master’s degree in Kinesiology with emphases in Applied Sport Science and Physical Activity, Fitness, & Wellness. She recently started her own personal training business and hopes to grow it by leaps and bounds after she graduates in 2016. She is also happily married and enjoys distance running.



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IUSPH Career Services

Job opportunities for Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington majors are diverse and expanding as the emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle grows around the world. Career Services experts in each of our academic departments will provide one-on-one counseling and career building opportunities throughout your academic career, from choosing the right major to developing a strategy to find a job. They can assist you with:

•career counseling
•job placement
•volunteer opportunities
•resume and cover letter preparation
•interview skills
•graduate school preparation

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