We’ve put together a checklist of all the essential to-dos to help you get the most out of your time in the Graduate School at UL Lafayette … as told in GIFs.
1. Attend orientation (and actually listen)
Orientation is your official introduction to grad student life at UL Lafayette. It’s chock full of useful information about the resources and expectations for grad students, and it will help you understand the graduate student culture here. You’ll also get to connect with your peers, meet the graduate faculty, and and chat with your graduate coordinator.
2. Get to know the campus
It’s important that you know where offices are, what resources are available to you, and who can help you when you need it. Trust us: the 11th hour is not the best time to be power walking around campus to find someone or something.
3. Get to know your professors
Your professors are your best resources for actually completing your program and conquering all the academic challenges you’ll encounter in grad school.
They’ll also become your peers one day, and they can help with your career search after graduation. Never underestimate the power of connections!
4. Get to know professors and students outside your discipline
Interdisciplinary research can be an eye-opening experience for you. Biologists should get to know mathematicians, historians should get to know linguists, and architects should get to know environmental scientists—resulting in creative solutions for some of our world’s most challenging problems.
Don’t be afraid to get to know students from other programs, too. You may find that your experiences are very similar and you can learn from each other’s work.
5. Go to professional development events
You won’t be in school forever! You’ll need some of the professional and social skills that will help you land your dream job and thrive in graduate school. At UL Lafayette, the Grad School offers workshops and events about interviewing, writing grants, research compliance, working with your advisor, staying healthy in grad school, and finalizing a research question.
Not only will we feed your mind, but we’ll also typically feed your stomach, too!
6. Present your research and enter competitions
Prize money! Name recognition! Travel to great cities! Network with other grad students and scholars in your field (and find potential collaborators)!
7. Take advantage of what Lafayette has to offer
Our south Louisiana culture is something we’re proud of, and we love to celebrate it with great food and music. Every October, we celebrate Cajun and Creole cultures with the Festivals Acadiens et Creoles right next to campus; every April, Festival International de Louisiana (the world’s largest free music festival) takes place in downtown Lafayette. You can rent kayaks to paddle down the Vermilion River or around Lake Martin, or hike in one of the many state parks in the area and admire the wildlife.
Because that’s the end goal, right? Pursue your passions, research with vigor, enjoy the ride—and then celebrate your accomplishments.