This Is How Superheroes Can Inspire You To Help Survive Graduate School


Do you ever think about pursuing a graduate degree? Does the thought of going back to school scare you?

We often decide to pursue our graduate degree years after finishing college. At this stage in life, we usually have a career, family and many other responsibilities. We can become very complacent in our work life. Undergraduate degrees are generally sufficient to earn a living, therefore, leads to satisfaction with where we are. Putting the extra time, effort and money to pursue a graduate degree might seem impossible.

Life keeps us all busy, and we all dread the process of getting into professional or graduate school. Moreover, we all know that graduate school applications are daunting and the entrance exams such as LSAT and GMAT are not fun either. In our personal life, we have families who might not be used to us being away. To pursue the degree, we know we will have to sacrifice on our social life. In the process, there is a lot of decision making involved. For example, the decisions include whether to do it full time or part time while maintaining a full-time job. Nonetheless going to graduate school and juggling with other priorities makes us no less than a superhero.

The process starts from when we decide to take the leap and apply and goes on until we graduate. Sometimes it becomes impossible to stay motivated, but no matter what gets in our way we have to put everything we've got into it. We need tremendous resilience, since it will not be a straightforward journey. Just like a superhero, we need to keep a persistent spirit.

Here are some lessons learned from superheroes:

To help with the decision of pursuing a graduate degree or not.

  • Do not be completely satisfied with your current situation. The dissatisfaction of the situation around you motivates you to change something about it.
  • Sometimes spending time in isolation is important. Creativity comes from contemplating and sometimes that requires solitude. This also helps prevent emotional or impulsive decisions.
  • Seek the experts and cultivate the right environment. To understand whether it is the right decision for you or not ask others. For instance, if you are a mother, seek out other mothers who have successfully balanced work, school, and personal life.
  • The climb might be steep but you have to start somewhere. The application process might look like a steep jump. Given enough time of preparation and research, you can get through the process of application by taking one step at a time.
  • It is never too late to make a change. We can be in a job we do not like, and we have usually invested a certain time in it. But it is never too late to try something new, we cannot let the past define our future. Graduate school opens up new opportunities.
  • We are stronger than we think we are. The major step in deciding whether you are capable of it or not is based on how strong we perceive ourselves.


Once you do make the decision to take the leap:

  • In the beginning, you’ll feel lost. Starting graduate school can be intimidating. In addition, you might feel overwhelmed by the number of assignments and tests. Like any other situation in life, with practice you will get a hold of it.
  • Push yourself a little harder each day. To reach a point where tasks become easy, you have to push yourself harder each day. A lot of the assignments will seem daunting, take one step at a time.
  • Be grateful for what you have. Instead of focusing on the negatives when the situation gets a little tough, try to be grateful for what you have. Most people do not get the opportunity to go to graduate school. Pat yourself on the back for making it to this point.
  • You are more than what you perceive of yourself. You’ll surprise yourself. Even on days when you will feel that it seems impossible, somehow you will make it through. Do not underestimate yourself. Underestimating yourself is common when we go back to an educational institution especially after a significant gap.
  • There will always be villains. These villains could be any unforeseen circumstances. Life is full of surprises. It is essential to maintain discipline and control your emotions. During these times, try to communicate with others to help you cope.
  • Success doesn’t come from you alone, it requires a team. Mostly our success comes from our family, friends, classmates, professors, advisors, co-workers or employers. Don't forget to acknowledge your team.
  • You can’t control the actions of other but you can control your own. Working on a group project in graduate school requires patience. It requires understanding different paces and learning styles. Use this as an opportunity to learn to adapt to different styles and diversify your understanding of different personalities and cultures.
  • Sometimes personal growth comes through pain. Working full time and going to school at night is not an easy job. It can take a toll on health and mental stability. The outcome of pushing through this phase is the immense personal growth. When others are doing enjoyable activities while you are struggling to finish up an assignment, motivate yourself by focusing on how the pain is short term. It is not going to be easy but it will be worth it.
  • Everyone struggles. Often desired results come from multiple failed attempts. Do not be ashamed of your shortcomings. Seek experts, and consult with family and friends. Denial will only make things harder later, constantly reevaluate your situation and be realistic about it.
  • Use your strengths to help the world. Not everyone around you will be good at what you do. To make your graduate school experience more rewarding, share your strengths. Take one step at a time, share your motivational thoughts to help others.
  • Enemies are necessary. Graduate students will have obstacles. The obstacles could be actual physical events or personal short-term impulses that might hinder progress and could lead to procrastination or to giving up. Fighting these enemies will help us come out stronger.
  • Stay humble after success and never stop striving for improvement. Your achievements are a result of a team, remember to thank and acknowledge them. Motivate yourself and never be fully content with where you are because that might halt personal growth.  Dissatisfaction with the current state is important for improvement.
  • Take care of others. The process can be exhausting, and negligence of loved ones is a common issue. Remind yourself to care and love those who make it worthwhile.


Every superhero starts somewhere!

The superhero approach will help you fight the battles of graduate school. Also, we should surround ourselves with people who are supportive of our goals. Do not be afraid to sacrifice on some of your hobbies, there will always be time later. Always think of graduate school as an investment. On the other hand, in the process of developing professionally, do not neglect your personal life completely, just prioritize wisely. Graduate school professors and classmates are usually more accommodating to situations, remember to ask for help and always offer help to others.

The lives of superheroes are not easy but are always worth it. Here are some articles that can help: