Beginning grad school was a lot like the transition from high school to college … just without the constant career changes and sense of invincibility. Grad school can be exciting, stressful, confusing, and fun all at the same time. It’s a lot of work, yes, but it’s the good kind of work. The kind of work that you know is making you better and bringing you closer to expertise in your field.
Generic rambling aside, what’s a typical day like for a grad student in FIT’s Industrial and Organizational Psychology program? Well, every morning starts off by drinking this magical brain elixir known as “coffee.” Next, depending on the day, I may go to a meeting with my research team, in which we discuss the progress of current projects, relevant literature, and potential research directions for the program. The team is comprised of a faculty member (shout out to Dr. Z!), and six students ranging in background and experience. Discussion is often intriguing and lively (despite the earliness). Right now, we’re designing an experiment on workplace incivility (bullying and rudeness) and its effect on employee performance.
After the morning meetings, I usually read research articles until class. Well, in reality, I usually read research articles due for the upcoming class.
The actual class format in grad school widely differs from my undergrad experience. There are a lot less students and a much larger portion of class time is spent discussing questions/comments and assigned readings. Discussion sessions is probably a better term than ‘class’, and I much prefer it this way, as it feels a lot less like playing the memory game and a lot more like learning.
After class, I’ll attend a meeting for one of the I/O consulting organizations at FIT, such as The Center. We’ll discuss ongoing projects and research as well as client relations and marketing. Of all my graduate involvement, this is where I’m getting the most hands-on experience (and resume points!) Just recently, I interviewed a number of employees at a nearby firm to determine how to improve their productivity and satisfaction.
Since the program is small, I see many of the same faces throughout each of these activities. The students and faculty have developed close relationships and support each other in many ways. In the same day, we may meet a client together, compare class notes, and grab a beer or two. The people make the experience here. There’s a “we’re-all-in-this-together” mindset that makes all the woes of grad school a little easier to overcome.
By: Joshua Bush I/O PhD Student