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Do Graduate Students Get Summers Off?

  1. May 4, 2007 #1
    So for undergrads, a typical school year is from September - April, and from May - August, we have 4 months of chillin/working/whatever/to yourself.

    So for graduate school, do you work all year?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 4, 2007 #2

    robphy

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    For summer support, you might work as a teaching assistant or as research assistant. While there is more time-flexibility in thg summer for (say) travel, that time is probably better spent studying [for qualifying exams] or focusing on your research than (say) chillin. But if you need to take a break, take one or two.
     
  4. May 4, 2007 #3
    You see, I plan to move away from home for Gradschool, but then I want to come home for the 4 month summer...

    I guess that shouldn't be a problem
     
  5. May 4, 2007 #4
    Long as you don't mind spending 6 or 7 years in graduate school, it won't be a problem. . .
     
  6. May 4, 2007 #5
    crap...this sucks
     
  7. May 4, 2007 #6
    depends on your prof to and what they have you doing...and when your exams are (if your programming you could probably getmore time away..cuz i u need is the internet to connect to your work)....1 month vacation is always good...my buddy's backpacking in europe granted his supervisor is in japan for 6 montsh.
     
  8. May 4, 2007 #7

    robphy

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    In some sense, the hand-holding stops.
    It's up to you how you wish to make use of your time towards getting your advanced degree and preparing for whatever comes next. I think it's fair to say that you have more flexibility in how you use your time than you would get at a regular job.

    Don't take this to mean that you can't have fun. You certainly can!
    (Hopefully, learning, studying, and being challenged by these advanced topics are fun. If not, then maybe graduate school isn't for you. But beyond that, you'll probably get to meet lots of people from all of the world... do some traveling [especially when attending conferences]...
     
  9. May 4, 2007 #8

    Astronuc

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    I did research during summers in grad school.

    By the time one gets to grad school, one should think along the lines of work or a job. Most people starting out in a full time job get two weeks vacation per year (in the US that is). More senior people get 3 or 4 weeks vacation, and perhaps more at some companies.

    In grad school I went to school, taught classes, did research and work a full time job off-campus during my MS program. During my PhD program, I gave up the full time job off-campus.

    A full time job is 50 weeks * 40 hrs/wk = 2000 hrs/yr = 250 days. Overtime is extra, but often salaried employees or self-employed people work longer ours but without overtime pay.

    Lately, my job is more like 60-80 hrs/wk depending on demand.
     
  10. May 5, 2007 #9
    wow, thanks everyone for your input!

    robphy; the way I see grad school right now is "all work and no play"
    I am worried that i will turn into some socially phobic person, as some of my profs (and grad students) are. I hope their is some of socializing and networking involved in grad school (for math)

    Astronuc; thanks for your input, i will look at grad school more like a job! 60 - 80 seems like a lot, i hope its not stressfull
     
  11. May 5, 2007 #10

    Astronuc

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    Certainly one should socialize with one's peers and colleagues, but outside to that circle, a university provides a broad range of peoples with whom one can interact or associate. And beyond that there is the local community. There are usually groups devoted to similar interests or hobbies, and if one doesn't mind, religious institutions - churches, synagogues, mosques, . . . . where one can meet a variety of people.
     
  12. May 5, 2007 #11

    robphy

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    Well... I was rather shy in college. In grad school, I was less shy and more outgoing. I think being a teaching assistant, in which I had to do a lot of public speaking, helped me develop more self-confidence. Compared to college, it was [for me] "more work and more play". In addition, now that I was studying what I really wanted to study... some of that "work" also doubled as "play".
     
  13. May 5, 2007 #12
    I'm not really qualified to answer. But I'm starting graduate school in slightly over a week, and as it so happens, I'm subleasing an apartment from another grad student who's going back home to Sweden for the entire summer. So right here you've got an example of one grad student who's doing research for the summer, and one who's going home.
     
  14. May 5, 2007 #13
    Well, eventually you will have to work all year round. You might as well get into that habit when you are in graduate school.
     
  15. May 5, 2007 #14

    Moonbear

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    :uhh: Summers are when you're free of classes, so can get yourself into the lab and do productive research. Most mentors are reasonable about letting you take a week or so off during the summer to visit your family or take a short vacation (not that you will be able to afford vacations :devil:), as long as you can time it so it doesn't interfere with your experiment schedule, but if you're serious about grad school, you're definitely not getting the entire summer off...that's when you're expected to be most productive.

    Think of it this way...if you weren't going to grad school, you'd be looking for a full time job where you'd maybe get 2 weeks off a year for vacation. Grad school is somewhat like taking on 2 to 3 jobs, depending on the source of your funding. You start off with job #1 being a student, and you need to take classes and study hard. Job #2 is your research, which also requires long hours, dedication, attention to detail, preparation, and a steep learning curve. Job #3, if required of you, is teaching, whether you're a TA with responsibility for grading or teaching undergrad classes, or in the lab teaching undergrad helpers. If you plan to have a career in academia after grad school (I don't know what your plans are), you should definitely obtain teaching experience.

    It'll be the hardest, most sleep-deprived, challenging ~5 years of your life that prepare you for a satisfying, challenging, interesting career, which hopefully makes it all worthwhile.
     
  16. May 6, 2007 #15
    Thanks all for your input.

    I suppose it would be something like "the time of your life" i hope.
     
  17. May 7, 2007 #16
    Oh I wish for summer's off.

    I work all year round on my research, with the added "bonus" of teaching during semester.

    Sure I still have an active social life, but it certainly doesn't allow for taking a few months off. While you could surely go home for the 4 months, you'd probably need to be working on your research most of that time if you wanted to actually submit in a sensible timeframe.
     
  18. May 8, 2007 #17

    chroot

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    Some master's programs require no research, and are simply a series of classes. If that's all you're looking for, it's possible you can get by without ever taking any summer classes, and thus have the entire summer off.

    Stanford, for example, seems to never offer any worthwhile EE graduate classes during the summer, so I typically take the summer off... by which, I mean, I just continue to work full-time but get to actually go out at night. :uhh: You know you're overworked when "only" 50 hours of work per week seems like a damned vacation. *sigh*

    - Warren
     
  19. May 8, 2007 #18

    matt grime

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    It's a job, what the hell were you expecting? It is one that has a damn sight more flexibility than any 'real world' job, with practically no office hours, and few 'bosses' to deal with. One that can send you round the world for conferences. PLus, if the thought of actually doing research/maths/physics all year round fills you with dread then you might not want to bother with academia - the pay is lousy, and there are few rewards other than personal satisfaction. If you're lucky, summer is the time when you're supervisor (in the US system) can fund you so you don't have to teach dull freshman maths nonsense and can actually spend some time doing what you enjoy most: your work.
     
  20. May 8, 2007 #19

    Tom Mattson

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    I might add that if you aren't anxious to be immersed in your chosen field, then you might not even like grad school. Grad students want to spend their summers studying and researching.
     
  21. May 8, 2007 #20
    Of course, there are a few of us out there who are going to graduate school so that we can someday teach dull freshman math nonsense full time (well...physics nonsense in my case).
     
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