Lessons From a First Semester Grad Student

Posted on 30. Dec, 2009 by in General, John Smock

As my first semester of grad school is over..I have learned so much. Some good, some bad, some funny, some so sad it’s funny. I can say, graduate school through me for a shock. I didn’t expect that my days of grasping everything at my undergraduate, Syracuse University, wouldn’t prepare me for grad school, but it didn’t. There are many lessons I have learned (and will continue to learn) along this graduate school journey:

#1. Your harddrive will become your baby, and you never know what you have until its lost. Either I had the worst luck ever, or something, but my harddrive will not connect to the computer after 2 months of being in school! Maybe, it was because I was the only one in the class with this harddrive instead of the LaCie. As I looked around and realized I was the only one without a shiny orange neon covered firewire, I should have known I was in trouble.

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2.You will have alot of very mad friends. When I received an email last August from a student giving advice, they said: “tell your friends you won’t see them until December”. I thought YEAH RIGHT. How wrong was I? Since I have moved into a new level of journalism, the committment, and the daily dedication are so intense, that your personal life is very much sacrificed. I tried to keep up the best way I could. Trying to incorporate friends into work, asking if they wanted to tag along to an event, etc. You will also have a lot of very mad friends, because you are always mad at them. I was so stressed out this semester at points, I was not a very nice person. Sorry guys!

3. No matter how mad you get don’t curse final cut pro–it hears you. Finalcut Pro-oh we have a love, hate relationship. It’s helped me out so much, but it never seems to work exactly right for me when I needed it. The timeline would be missing, or the audio would be malfunctioning. Lesson: LEARN EVERYTHING YOU CAN ABOUT FINALCUT PRO. Go and get a Finalcut Pro book for Dummies, or watch tutorial videos like the one below.


Even though I was very stressed out at points, I am really proud of making it through this semester. I learned what I’m made of, including the back of steel. Which brings me to my last point: wear a pink bookbag and hold your head high. I believe I became more known for wearing a pink bookbag with hearts on it, than my name. Listen, I have gone through 3 broken bags and got fed up because your whole life had to be carried on any given day. So, I got a bookbag. And so what, I like pink. Don’t stereotype. My back has been a soldier this semester, lugging around the city the life of a journalist.

Let’s give my back, a pat on the back.

yhst-87185379299229_2083_1028274But, at the end of the day we had some good times! Through all the hard work and goofing around, i still got to know some pretty amazing people and learned ALOT about myself. I also learned to capitalize on my full name (cough) www.waltersmithrandolph.com. I also obtained the position of director of public relations for the NABJ chapter at CUNY. I’ve learned it’s also no longer awkward to drink with your teachers and classmates. I’ve learned my district, the upper east side, up and down. I could go on and on. But, Happy Holidays everyone and look forward to everything else we will receive in the next two semesters.


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