One of the biggest worries I had about going to graduate school was the amount of homework I was expected to do. To prepare myself for graduate school, I joined the Departmental Honors track for Psychology my junior year at UMass. This was extremely challenging and had me doing homework 6+ hours per day some semesters. I always expected that graduate school would be as demanding if not moreso.
I was wrong. The homework in the School Psychology program at MSPP is very manageable so far. This first semester, we have to write about one paper per week. The paper might be anywhere between 2-10 pages long double spaced. Much of the research for the papers are done while we are working in our elementary schools, so that all we have to do is go home and type. There are a lot of readings assigned for every class, but most of these are redundant and do not need to be read if you already understand the concepts. For the most part, the only readings you need to worry about are the ones assigned in the main textbook for each class. I will include helpful tips for graduate school reading in another post. If you miss a reading here and there, it is not the end of the world, because the teacher usually prepares a powerpoint about the topics in the chapter. There are a few exams to study for, but the teachers typically post a study guide so that you know exactly what will be on the exam. We also need to prepare two oral presentations. One is a chapter summary and the other is about a topic that we have to research. Toward the end of the semester, you gather up all your best work and organize it in a portfolio. The portfolio needs to be divided into the separate domains of school psychology, but you are given a lot of creative leeway. That’s pretty much it. Everything is all so spread out so that it does not seem like too much work. We also receive plenty of instruction on how to complete the assignments.
Overall, I am finding that graduate school is actually easier than honors undergraduate. I still would not want to work and go to school at the same time, but some of my classmates are able to do it.
Speaking of classmates, someday I would like to get a few classmates to share their experiences with the program in this blog so that you are not limited to only reading things from my perspective. I think reading only one perspective gets a little boring and may not represent the experiences of the majority. So stay tuned for more exciting blog adventures.