From Graduation to Orientation

Below is a guest post from one of our newest students, Megs Eichorn. Megs is a Master of Science in Environmental Studies candidate.

It’s hard to believe that one month ago I was about to start a whole new chapter of my life. Now I’m in it. Full force, no turning back. The end of college was a momentous, heart-wrenching, exciting experience that I now know I took for granted. I was the lucky one of my friends. While they frantically looked for jobs and tried to figure out what to for the next year in light of the economy, I was going to grad school. I had made my decision the summer before my senior year began, and despite the months of anxiety waiting for my acceptance letter, I was set. Though my friends and I had great times that I will never forget, I wish someone had given me an explicit warning, saying “do not take this for granted, cherish these times.”

I moved to Charleston at the very beginning of August, and my excitement blinded me from the reality that I was moving to a brand new city where I didn’t know anyone. I love my house and I have become very close with my roommate, but living in a new city with nothing to do and no friends left me longing for my old life of security. All I could do was think about how much I missed my friends and Chapel Hill’s campus, restaurants, bars, sporting events, etc. You name it, I wanted it back. Again, I wish I had had a bold warning, saying “moving is not easy- prepare yourself.”

Then school started. So much for having nothing to do. Grad school is entirely different than anything I experienced in undergrad. For once, I am incredibly interested in every one of my classes and have gladly immersed myself in all the material. Coming from a non-science background, it has been a challenge to engage in science material, but I welcome the challenge. The amount of school work is definitely overwhelming, but the professors I have truly want students to succeed. In the past month, I feel like I have learned more than I did in the past four years. Perhaps it’s because I am in a field of study that I actually love? Grad school, however, is not simply about taking classes; it’s about launching you into your career. From the very beginning, we have to start thinking about research interests, thesis topics, funding for projects, etc. It is initially hard to comprehend, but my program, Master of Environmental Studies, has numerous resources to aid students. I am in the VERY early stages of this process, but hopefully I can remain calm through the whole process!

The start of school also initiated the start of my new social life. Through the MES program I have met some truly great people. Because I have classes with a lot of the same people, something I have never experienced, I have been able to form friendships simply by going to class. I now have people to explore Charleston with! The combination of schoolwork and new friends has helped me to stop missing my old life. I now think about Chapel Hill reminiscently, not longingly. Charleston is amazing, and though it took some time, I am finally able to appreciate and enjoy it!

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