Grad School 103: Advice from Year 1

Hello all! Long time no blog! This is in large part due to personal issues going on in my life, and in part to the incredible amount of work required in the second semester of your first year at SPH! (Prepare yourselves early-it’s a doozie!)


Anyway, after doing this whole Grad School thing for a year now, I picked up on a few things I wish I had known when I was starting out, so here’s some advice from me to all newcomers out there! Top 5 pieces of advice for surviving your first year of grad school!

  1. I can’t speak for the other programs, but if you are going to be in HBHE, I have one word for you:models. Models, models, models, models, models! This program will show you more conceptual models than you thought existed. There;s a whole introductory course dedicated to them (shout out to 600)! If you want to get a jump start on your first semester, familiarize yourself with the part of conceptual models. Just, trust me on that one. Here’s an example of very basic one you may have seen before. You’ll see it a lot more.  Original source
  2. Go to Biostatistic TA’s office hours. This is my number one piece of advice for anyone taking a class in biostatistics-go to the TAs office hours. They are wonderful human beings who understand how confusing this material can be and they will help you until they are blue in the face! Find a TA who you personally click with, or teaching style matches with you, and just go. Even to listen or watch them solve problems. Practice makes you pass!
  3. Take at least one class that is of personal interest to you each semester. It will make trudging through your requirements a lot easier! Fundamentals of Reproductive Health (HBHE 540) and Families and Health (HBHE 629) are what kept me going through this year! Here’s a link to the pages where you can start the search for yours: 
  4. Try to go to at least one outside of class lecture a semester (more if you can, but, you know, time is limited). Broaden your horizons! I personally went to one in the Fall about restrictive abortion laws, and just last month one about policy and advocacy! I learned a lot at both of them and had a chance to hear some really great speakers (and they were free. Yay free)!
  5. Eat somewhere new once a week. Ann Arbor is PACKED to the brim with restaurants, and trying new places will not only expand your culinary horizons, but also help you get a better sense of direction within the city. And don’t forget to check out the food on North Campus too! Just as good, and not nearly as crowded as downtown.

Well, that’s all I have for now! I am staying here this summer for my internship, so I will post about that later (hopefully not as ‘later’ as this post was).


Have a happy summer everyone!

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