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10 new year's resolutions for prospective grad students

The New Year is here, which means it’s time to make New Year’s resolutions.

If you’re starting graduate school in the fall, you can’t approach this like you have in the past. It’s tempting to go with the generic “eat healthier,” “exercise more,” “save more money” resolutions, but as a prospective grad student whose life is about to change in a huge way, you need to give it more thought. Here are 10 New Year’s resolutions for prospective grad students.

1. Save Money.

This could be saving for your grad school program or, if you already have that covered, saving for other expenses. The reality is, unless you’re doing something like a part-time MBA or online criminal justice program, you probably won’t have time to work and attend grad school. You’ll still need money to survive. If you don’t want that to be all student loan money, then work and save up this year before school starts.

2. Savor NonGrad Student Life.

The free time, the money in your bank account. Pretty soon, you’ll probably be poor and busy, and surviving on coffee and instant noodles. So enjoy the luxuries of non-student life now. Spend time with friends. Eat at restaurants. Enjoy yourself.

3. Get in Touch with Professors.

You may have browsed professors’ online bios when choosing where to apply, but actually reach out to them now, since they may be your future advisers or even take part in the admissions process.

According to Georgetown University, “In the case of Ph.D. programs especially, faculty are often involved in the admissions process because they are able to choose research assistants. Showing interest in their research, tenacity in your application, and creativity in future research interests makes you stand out from other applicants.”

That may or may not apply to your chosen program, but doesn’t hurt to stay in contact with professors throughout the year.

4. Change your Top Ramen Habits.

You can either eat less Top Ramen, since you’ll most likely be eating lots of it during grad school. Or you could eat more Top Ramen, to prepare your body for the unhealthy staple of graduate life. Whichever works. Just choose soon and stick with it.

5. Talk with Current Students.

Don’t be blindsided by grad school life and the demands of studying. Reach out to people in the program or who have already completed it and find out what you can expect. Of course, it differs from student to student because some of your course of study will be based on the topic of your thesis, but you can still learn from these students and help yourself mentally prepare.

6. Start Thinking About your Thesis or Dissertation.

This might sound like crazy talk, since you haven’t even started the program, but giving this some thought sooner rather than later can’t hurt. It’s good to know what your interests are. It may change, but starting the conversation with an adviser sooner rather than later is never a bad thing.

This is essentially a book-length project here. You don’t want to put it off too long.

7. Binge on Netflix.

Pretty soon, you won’t have time to do this. Enjoy it now.

8. Change your Reading Habits.

You can either not read at all, to take a break before reading a lot in grad school, or you could read a lot, to prepare your mind intellectually for grad school. If you do the latter, it’s a good time to tackle some titles from the list of things you’ve always wanted to read, since reading for pleasure won’t be much of a thing soon.

9. Get your Beauty Rest.

Because you’re likely going to join the 40 percent of Americans who, according to Gallup, get six hours or less of sleep a night. Pull eight- or nine-hour sleep sessions until school starts, if you can.

10. Start Thinking About Life after Graduation.

Yes, it sounds crazy to consider life after graduation, since you’re just starting. But this year, you really should.

According to admissions expert Dr. Don Martin in an article for U.S. News & World Report, “Time will literally fly by. And before you know it, you will be graduating. That’s why it’s so important to take time now to check out your school’s career development office and learn about the services provided. Thoroughly review the website, and if you can, set up an appointment to visit the office.”

Of course, it’s OK to also plan to eat healthier, exercise more and follow all those other clichéd new year’s resolutions that we all make (and typically break). But as a future grad student, give these 10 a shot, too, to prepare yourself for success in the fall.



How to Plan a Productive Winter Break

Planning a productive winter break can be easier than ever if you think of it in terms of two simple elements—work and play.

Of course, the word “productive” implies some work, so you will have to expend a little bit of energy if you want to get ahead on school-related tasks this winter break. However, winter break should also be used as a time to recharge and relax, so do not disregard this aspect of vacation! Here is how you can maximize both aspects:

1. Make time for work

Winter break may seem like a long period of time. It is a long period, in fact, when you compare it to the standard two-day weekend students are accustomed to having off throughout the school year. However, winter break is bound to fly by, so make sure you use this valuable hiatus productively.

The first step is to assess everything you must get done over winter break. Do you have to read an entire novel for English class? Did your math teacher leave you a packet of exercises on derivatives? Do you have a social studies term paper due when you get back? Take into account any work that was assigned in all of your classes. If no work was assigned, consider the tasks you could start working ahead on or preparing for, such as upcoming quizzes or semester-long research projects.

Next, make a schedule that is suitable to both your needs and preferences. You could dedicate certain days of the week to one class, or you could alternate days.

For example, maybe you choose to read the novel only on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and set aside the remaining days for the math packet. On the other hand, you could read the novel Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and chip away at math exercises on the days in between.

There are several approaches that work, so feel free to personalize your schedule to your liking. Not only should you consider your usual weekly commitments, but also consider the times of day you perform at your best.

2. Make time for play

Enjoying oneself is just as important as working hard. If you only spend your free time completing assignments for school, you are sure to exhaust your brain quickly. As such, it is necessary to take breaks and have some fun every once in a while!

Think about what it is that gets your mind in the right place. Does taking a bike ride, watching television, or listening to music help you to work more effectively? Whatever your preferred activity is, it is essential that you find time to do it amidst your busy winter vacation. A fun activity can allow you to regain concentration and a positive outlook.

Moreover, rewarding yourself for good behavior, known as positive reinforcement, is great for motivational purposes. If you are working hard this winter break, learn to reward yourself in exchange.

For example, you could tell yourself that if you finish an assignment within the next two hours, you can continue watching three more episodes of your favorite Netflix series. If you prefer to involve someone else in the process, ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable and allot rewards when you have finished a task.

To have a productive winter break, aim for a healthy balance between work and play. The right amount of leisure time can make actual work time much more useful. May your winter break be both fruitful and fun!

Source: https://www.fastweb.com/student-life/articles/how-to-plan-a-productive-winter-break


Christmas in Cookeville

Below are Cookeville’s Christmas Events. Take some time to enjoy the festivities! 


December 10th

Swingin’ with Santa – 9am to 11am

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Santa at Dogwood Park – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 11th

Santa at Dogwood Park – 1pm to 3pm

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 12th

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 13th

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 14th

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 15th

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 16th

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 17th

Santa at Dogwood Park – 1pm to 3pm

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 18th

Santa at Dogwood Park – 1pm to 3pm

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 19th

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Santa at Dogwood Park – 4pm to 7pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 20th

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 21st

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 22nd

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 23rd

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 24th

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 26th

Downtown ICE – 12pm to 8pm

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 27th

Downtown ICE – 12pm to 8pm

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 28th

Downtown ICE – 12pm to 8pm

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 29th

Downtown ICE – 12pm to 8pm

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 30th

Downtown ICE – 12pm to 8pm

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

December 31st

Cookeville History Museum’s “Christmas Forest” – 1pm to 3pm

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

January 1st

Hidden Hollow Park’s Holiday Lights – 5pm to 9pm

12 Grad School Survival Tips

Grad school isn’t easy, and it’s definitely not the same for everyone.

Sometimes it seems like you’re the only person in the world experiencing the pressure that you’re under. However, you are not alone, and in fact, many students have gone through very similar experiences to yours in the past. That’s why, in order to help current grad students, past students have compiled a list of great tips for surviving grad school. No matter what year you are, utilize these tips to get through graduate school successfully.


  • Stick to a budget.


This tip is likely not all that difficult to follow if you’re a regular graduate student. But, when you do score some extra cash (for whatever reason) try your best to put it towards paying your bills, savings or paying off loans and interest.

Because, chances are, you’ll want to have a splurge session and, quite honestly, we don’t blame you. It really is in your best interest to pay off your debt!


  • Remember that you’re never alone.


Deciding to take on graduate school is a scary task but, remember, you’re not alone. You’re not the only one who has decided to take on this lifestyle.

In fact, you may not be the only one questioning, “Why on earth did I decide to take on this lifestyle in the first place?” Heck, there could be support groups for students like you.

So, take solace in the fact that you, friend, are not alone!


  • Pay off interest when you can.


You’ll be in a much better spot with as little interest accumulated as possible. It’s difficult, but pay off as much interest as you’re able. Your future self will be eternally grateful.


  • Let yourself be a student.


Repeat: I am a grad student. I am learning. I will make mistakes. Seriously, don’t be so hard on yourself. What you’re doing is seriously admirable and really difficult. The world really isn’t going to come to an end if you make a mistake, we promise.


  • Utilize tax breaks.


As a graduate student, you qualify for unique tax breaks that you should utilize.

For example, the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit can allow students thousands in tax breaks annually!


  • Make the most of your resources.


There are a lot of resources provided to students like you. You just need to:

  1. Find out what they are.
  2. Utilize them.

Refer to your professors, go to their office hours and ask the right questions. When in doubt, refer to number eight on this list!


  • Apply for free money!


By this, we mean grants and scholarships! There are so many financial resources available to graduate students on sites like, ahem, Fastweb, so apply, apply, apply! Remember, applying is pretty much a numbers game and the more you apply, the better your chances of winning are. Apply for all you qualify for to maximize your odds of winning.


  • Never forget you have an advisor.


Your advisor is there to help with any questions you may have regarding programs, research, faculty issues, etc. Don’t forget about this important person you should have on speed dial! If your advisor doesn’t have an answer for you, he or she will be able to point you in the right direction of the contact who will.

It’s even advisable to set up a regular meeting with your advisor to check in and see how things are progressing for you. So many students neglect to do this. Think about it this way, you’re paying for their services indirectly, so why not utilize them?


  • Select work you’re passionate about.


You can’t devote hours on end to learning and working on something you can’t stand. It’s as simple as that. You’ll grow tired of it and simply won’t put forth the endless effort that it takes to get through days and nights of studying and working towards a goal.

Bottom line: pick something you absolutely live and breathe so that you can live with your decision.


  • Take time to experience life, even if it’s just for a moment.


Through your courses and your difficult curriculum, try to take time to experience life as well. You’ll see glimpses of life through meeting others, getting to know professors, chatting with baristas or petting someone’s puppy on the street.

These may seem like pretty lame experiences and, quite frankly, they are but they’re little slices of life to help you get through even the darkest of days.


  • Always remember the light at the end of the tunnel.


Never forget that through all of your pain and hard work – there is an end to a means. Grad school doesn’t last forever and, with every moment, you’re getting closer and closer to the light at the end of the tunnel!


  • Relax when you’re able.


Yes, we know – easier said than done. At the rare moments when you have a free moment, try your hardest to relax. Take a deep breath, take a bath and do whatever you need to do to just, you heard us, relax!

Source: https://www.fastweb.com/college-search/articles/the-12-grad-school-survival-tips

The True Meaning of Thanksgiving Break for a College Student

Many students want to forget about schoolwork over Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Break is ideally supposed to be a time when you relax, enjoy family and friends, catch up on the sleep you’ve missed from studying, and reflect on what you are thankful for.  But when you are in college that idea is far from reality. Here are five things me and mostly every other college student will be doing during Thanksgiving “break”:

1. Playing Catch Up!

And by this I mean trying to email your teachers and see what late assignments they will accept because you’ve finally had some free time to calculate your grade, and you are regretting not turning in that 5-point response. Also, catching up on shows you haven’t watched in-between time. Somehow when you are in college TV is non-existent due to late night study sessions and falling asleep between chapters.

2. Roadtrip Homework

The awesome part about Thanksgiving break is spending time with family you haven’t seen in a while. Georgia State has so many students from so many places, it can be easy to get homesick. But the unfortunate thing is while making that trip to Grandma’s everyone will be catching up on sleep, watching their fav Netflix series, and then there will be you, studying for those tests you have as soon as the break ends.

3. Eating Thanksgiving Dinner with a Book in Your Lap

Like I said before, I have no clue why professors schedule tests right after the break. That’s almost like saying “enjoy your Thanksgiving ‘Extended Studying’ Break” because they have to know that you will be using your so called “break” to study for a test. So while everyone’s around the table sharing laughs and memories, you’ll be stuffing your face and reading chapters 4-11 because you had no time to do it before now. There’s nothing like enjoying mac and cheese and a good read!

4. Attempting to Catch Up on Sleep

Between homework, work and extracurricular activities, being a college student is almost like being a superhero. We are always on the go and never in bed on time. So between studying, trying to hang out with the friends and family you never have time for during the semester, and stuffing your face, one thing we must be sure to do is to catch up on that thing that hasn’t happened in a while, …

5. Doing what we do best: Procrastinating!

This break is seven days to get your school-life back together, which seems pretty hectic around this time of year. With that fact in mind just like every other student, we will probably wait until Saturday to actually study for that test on Monday, finish up old assignments and start that project you’ve known about since August. But at the end of the day, we always get the work done. And this break, be sure to enjoy family and friends, get some sleep and finish up the work you need. Luckily for us, the semester is almost over after this break, so finish strong and have a happy Thanksgiving!

Source: http://studentsinthecity.gsu.edu/the-true-meaning-of-thanksgiving-break-for-a-college-student/

Creating a Better Workspace and Working Creatively

Whether working on a dissertation, conducting research, or grading papers, an efficient workspace can enhance your performance.

There are countless articles about how to organize your office or desk, but let’s face it – one size does not fit all. Different things work for different people, and sometimes we need to be creative.  It’s important to keep things simple, focus on what you need, and be ready to adapt.

Changing something simple can make a world of difference.

For instance, my desk used to face towards a window.  Initially, I thought I’d gain inspiration and feel relaxed because I could gaze outside during the workday.  Quite the opposite; I became distracted. I watched birds, stared at clouds, and constantly thought about being outside. Then I moved my desk so that it faced a wall. It wasn’t a particularly interesting wall, but the change in scenery helped immediately. I could focus on work, and after a report or meeting, I’d stand up and walk to the window. It became a nice break, and it always felt rewarding.

Keep it Simple and Focus on the Essentials

I kept it simple, and I focused on what I needed — I needed to concentrate. Eliminating distractions makes it easier to focus, and distractions come in all forms. Take an inventory of your surroundings and identify what you need and what you don’t need in order to remain focused.


Have a Supply of Snacks at Hand

It’s helpful to keep a healthy snack within arm’s reach while working, perhaps a small bowl of fruit or a health bar. Not only is this good for you, but it prevents you from breaking focus to get up and rummage through the fridge. You probably don’t need your phone right in front of you while you’re doing research, alerting you every 10 minutes about who called or texted. Put the phone on the charger somewhere away from your desk. When you take a break or stand up to stretch, you can walk over and check your phone. If you’re in a public place, you can keep it in a bag or backpack.

If you’re prepared, almost anywhere can be your work station.

Changing your workspace doesn’t have to be drastic, but your workspace might change drastically. It’s the nomadic life of a scholar. Your well organized desk at home — stocked with pens, supplies, notebooks, ergonomic keyboard, and LaserJet printer — won’t do much for you when you have to take the show on the road. Be ready to adapt.

Make sure you have the supplies you need beforehand, and the train ride, the waiting room, or the office lunchroom can become your workspace. But be aware of your surroundings, because not every location is conducive to every activity. For instance, don’t schedule an important phone call with your adviser when you plan to be working in a noisy coffee shop.  Don’t plan on quietly editing your dissertation near the group of noisy undergrads in that one section of the library.

There are plenty of tips about organizing drawers and de-cluttering your desk, but from a macro level it’s important to keep things simple when it comes to your workspace. Examine what you need to remain focused, and take note of distractions that break your concentration. Your work environment may not always be ideal, but basic preparation, awareness and a little creativity can help you turn any location into an efficient workspace.

Source: http://www.proquest.com/blog/gradshare/2015/Creating-a-Better-Workspace-and-Working-Creatively.html

Why Tennessee Tech?

Choosing the right school is even more important on the graduate level.

As a potential graduate student, the quality of education you want to attain is even more dependent on the kind of school you choose. It is incredibly important to choose an institution that is designed to help you succeed rather than weed you out.

Medium size = more personalized learning coupled with a variety of programs

With enrollment around 10,000 students, Tennessee Tech is a modestly-sized university. While some students want to go to a bigger university that is more prestigious, graduate students need a more tailored education that is both intensive and personalized. Many will find that a larger university falls short in providing a tailored learning environment on the graduate level.

On the flip side, availability of graduate programs tends to be lacking in smaller schools. However, Tennessee Tech is both small enough to have grad programs tailored for student success and large enough to have a wide array of available graduate programs for students.

Tennessee Tech faculty care about their students

One of the big advantages that Tennessee Tech brings to its students is that all of the faculty are dedicated to promoting the success of their students. Rather than aiming to “root out” students, Tech faculty desire to help each student succeed in their area of study.

Graduate school classes tend to be smaller, too, which allows Tech professors to better teach their students the material. As a former graduate student in the School of Environmental Studies, I can absolutely affirm that I was well taken care of and had an incredible learning experience while in graduate school at Tech.

Tennessee Tech is affordable and offers tons of financial assistance

Tennessee Tech in-state graduate tuition is around $8,500, while out-of-state is around $15,500, which is about half the amount of  the University of Tennessee’s in-state and out-of-state graduate tuition.  In addition, Tennessee Tech offers significant financial assistance in the form of loans, grants, fellowships, and assistantships: https://www.tntech.edu/graduatestudies/financial/

Tennessee Tech has very affordable housing and a low cost of living

According to this site, Cookeville’s cost of living is decently lower than the U.S. average. In addition, Cookeville’s housing costs are even lower, with an average of $526 rent for a 1-bedroom apartment.

Tech also offers on-campus housing with prices that range from around $350 to $1100 depending on what size room you’d like and whether or not you want a roommate.

Cookeville is conveniently located

There are seven counties all within a 15 minute drive of Cookeville. In addition, it is only one hour east of Nashville, TN, two hours west of Knoxville, TN, and one and a half hours from Chattanooga, TN. Its central location between Knoxville and Nashville allows it to have a good amount of job opportunities. Some of the more technical jobs may require commuting to Oak Ridge or Nashville, but Cookeville’s affordability allows for flexibility during the job hunting season. Cookeville Tennessee area is known as the Highland Rim area and Hub of the Cumberlands.  

Anyone with a car can drive about fifteen to twenty minutes up the Plateau to Monterey, TN and Crossville, TN. Here there are bountiful Hardwood trees, bluff views, waterfalls, etc. If a more rolling landscape is preferable, a 10 minute drive south of Cookeville leads to Sparta, TN, which contains some of the most breathtaking rolling farmland along the way. Going North of Cookeville leads to Overton County, a place with bountiful rolling hills and mountain backdrops.

Cookeville has many stores, restaurants, and coffee shops to enjoy

There are several good restaurants in Cookeville, including Seven Senses, Crawdaddy’s, India Palace, Cinco Amigos, Father Tom’s, and many chain restaurants. Also, Cookeville has tons of coffee shops, such as Poets and Charity’s, and donut shops, such as Ralph’s, Big O’s, Krispy Kreme, and Dunkin Donuts. In addition, the area is still developing and has several shopping centers where students can get supplies, essentials, clothes, groceries, and also recreational things.

Should you go to Grad School?

Are you considering going to graduate school?

Are you aware of all your options, and what a graduate program involves — financially, mentally, and emotionally?

Entering a graduate program is an important decision that will affect your life for 2-3 years and should not be taken lightly. Understand the pros and cons, how you’ll pay for tuition fees, whether you have the stamina and discipline to get through, whether you have the emotional and financial support, and what your prospects are post-graduation when tuition loan interest is mounting.

20 Reasons to Go to Graduate School

In some disciplines, having a graduate degree is a necessity for getting a “career” job. That does not mean you should dive right in immediately after completing your undergrad degree. Just make sure you have a good reason for going. Some of the reasons below are more valid than others, but they are all common reasons for which people attend grad schools.

  1. Greater earning power. This is a popular reason why people go to grad school. However, it should not be the only reason, since getting a grad degree is a very serious commitment.
  2. Advance your career. A grad degree can open up a wider array of career opportunities: in psychology, social work, healthcare, for example.
  3. Career change. Many people are finding their current careers unrewarding. An advanced degree can help transition to another career—whether out of desire or necessity.
  4. Enhance your education. Graduate schools can provide opportunities to explore theories you may have about a topic.
  5. Get community recognition. If you explore your theories and discover something new, you will get recognition for it.
  6. Get international recognition. Carry that recognition further. If your discovery is truly groundbreaking, you may receive international recognition, not to mention awards. Who knows? Maybe you have a Nobel Prize within you.
  7. Get research opportunities. Even if you do not get to explore your own theories, there are other opportunities to participate in funded research.
  8. Upgrade your education. Your knowledge of your field is outdated and you find it difficult to keep up with advancements without following up and getting an advanced degree.
  9. Enjoy travel opportunities. Some programs, such as archaeology, require studying abroad for research purposes. For those who like to travel, this is a bonus.
  10. Find teaching opportunities. Not everyone is suited to teaching, but for those who are, getting a PhD can lead to a tenured position at a university or college, with a nice salary, a teaching or research assistant to help with workload, consulting opportunities (partly shared with your department), and a nice pension upon retirement.
  11. Work on advanced projects. For example, the computer scientists who delved early into computer graphics set the standards for much of the CGI technology used in movies today.
  12. Access to advanced equipment and tools. In a similar vein, entering a grad program could mean having access to advanced equipment on campus—such as the astronomy lab, supercomputers, rare books, and even great minds.
  13. Higher potential for future promotion. While obtaining a graduate degree does not necessarily always lead to a high-paying job right away, it can open up opportunities for future promotions.
  14. Not being stuck behind a desk. If you have the necessary education to qualify for a high-ranking position in your chosen industry, it means that you often have the option of not sitting behind a desk all day. You might go meet colleagues or clients, travel, or even play golf in the afternoon on a nice day.
  15. Employer incentives. Some large corporations have funds set aside that will pay partial or full fees for qualified employees.
  16. Be part of a chain of knowledge. This doesn’t tickle everyone’s fancy, but just imagine that the knowledge handed to you by your professor came from another professor who learned it from someone who learned it from a famous scientist or philosopher. You become part of a chain of knowledge.
  17. Because you want to. To learn, to think critically, to accept the academic challenge.
  18. To stand out. By attending grad school and completing a degree, you join an elite segment of the population.
  19. Free tuition. In some cases, grad schools might not only waive your tuition, but also give you a stipend for living expenses in return for taking on the work of a teaching assistant or research assistant.
  20. Realization of interest. Not everyone realizes during undergraduate studies that they are suited for grad studies. Some of your professors might recommend it to you and offer to supervise—with tuition waived and a research assistant position to cover expenses.

15 Reasons Not to Go to Graduate School

Now for the flipside. Completing a grad degree has many rewards, as indicated above. However, there are also many reasons not to go.

  1. Highly competitive. Graduate programs always have fewer spots than undergraduate programs. There’s competition for seats, research positions, grant money, and often as a result, departmental politics.
  2. Enables the “professional student” mindset. Some students just don’t want to leave school. One of the reasons for this is said to be a fear of going out into the workforce.
  3. Requires ability to set priorities. Successfully completing a grad degree requires a great deal of discipline and priority setting. This can be a strain on family and personal relationships, not to mention yourself.
  4. Relationship strains. If you’re married, housing might be an issue. You might be offered a grad/research assistant position and free tuition but no accommodations for your spouse in campus housing.
  5. Stressful. Emotionally exhausting. Completing a graduate degree, especially a PhD, requires emotional maturity.
  6. Writing a thesis. Some grad programs require writing a thesis on a topic that your degree supervisor picks out for you. Writing an original thesis is not easy compared to course work, and it is often the reason grad students take a lot longer than program duration. Each semester you delay might mean a “penalty” fee in the form of extra tuition that has to be paid.
  7. Requires support. You might need a strong support network to get through emotionally.
  8. Might take 2–7 years of your life. Not everyone finds they can complete a grad degree in the typical 1 or 2 years. Personal obligations often intrude or lack of finances makes it difficult. Or your supervisor doesn’t like your research. This doesn’t even factor in the costs and how long it might take to pay back loans.
  9. Extra cost of education. Graduate schools can be very expensive. If you are not going to work during your studies or will not receive an assistant job and waived tuition fees, the cost of your education is going to mount.
  10. Graduating with a large debt. This state of financial affairs might push you into accepting any job after graduation out of necessity.
  11. No guarantee of higher salary. Getting a grad degree does not necessarily mean you’ll get offered a job with a much higher salary than you are getting now.
  12. Return on investment might be slow. Even with a higher salary, how quickly will that offset tuition loans and the negative cash flow due to not earning while studying?
  13. Limited job opportunities. If the degree you get is in an academic field, finding work outside of teaching or research may be difficult, and thus, not necessarily worth it to you.
  14. Undesirable job locales. Teaching positions offered after graduation could be in areas you simply don’t want to live in.
  15. Too qualified. During an economic downturn, should you find yourself looking for employment, having an advanced degree can be a liability. You might hear, “Sorry, you’re overqualified.”


If you are determined to go to grad school, consider spending a few years getting relevant work experience first. You could take the time to save the money for tuition and expenses, which would allow you to devote dedicated time to a degree. Or if you’ve built up trust in your employer, they might foot part of the tuition and give you time off each day to attend to studies. All this allows you some peace of mind, which might be what you need to succeed in grad school.


Source: https://www.petersons.com/graduate-schools/guide-students-graduate-school.aspx#/sweeps-modal

101 Years at TTU

In 1915, when a group of local businessmen and civic leaders convinced the state of Tennessee to establish an institution of higher education in Cookeville, local girls and boys finally had the opportunity to study at a public college close to home. Since 1915, Tech has advanced from:

  • The first class year to the 100th.
  • Fewer than 1,000 students to more than 11,000.
  • One building to nearly 100 and from 25 acres to more than 250.

Tennessee Tech University’s Centennial Celebration begins with the 100th anniversary of the date Tennessee Polytechnic Institute was established. The 100th academic year begins with fall semester of 2015. Throughout the 2015-2016 academic year, expect special events and projects worthy of the commemoration of Tennessee Tech’s first 100 years. Highlights of the centennial calendar:

March 27, 2015 – Charter Day

May 9, 2015 – Commencement

Sept. 18, 2015 – Downtown Kick-off

Nov. 14, 2015 – Centennial Homecoming

Dec. 12, 2015 – Commencement

April 1, 2016 – Centennial Gala

April 16, 2016 – Centennial Spring Finale Week

May 7, 2016 – Commencement.


Historical notes

Chartering the college that would become Tennessee Technological University began with a grassroots effort in the early 1900s in response to two needs: the first, to help build a bigger technical workforce in Tennessee and, second, to bring public higher education to a region where money was scarce and education scarcer still.

In 1909, local business and religious leaders lobbied hard to site a public college in Cookeville, but failed. Undaunted, the elders of a local Church of Christ founded a private college to be funded mostly by subscriptions and tuition — as it turns out, an overly ambitious goal in an area of Tennessee with little wealth. The school, Dixie College, was on the verge of closing its doors when church elders, with the promise of financial backing from the Cookeville and Putnam County governments, offered to deed the school to the state. A bill was presented, fierce debates about funding and location ensued, but ultimately, Cookeville prevailed, and Gov. Thomas Rye signed the charter establishing Tennessee Polytechnic Institute on March 27, 1915.

Tech enrolled both high school and junior college students intended to contribute to the skilled workforce of Middle Tennessee. In-state students were offered the opportunity to work for their tuition, room and board through a “practical work” program. Students grew and prepared their own vegetables and fruit, tended livestock, helped construct buildings– not only paying their way through school but contributing to the overall cost of running the school. The president and faculty were determined to make this educational effort a success.

Trials faced Tennessee Tech — as they did most colleges — over the years. Enrollment was so slim in the early days that the school earned part of its funding through a World War I program for wounded veterans. The Great Depression delayed faculty and staff salaries and the operating budget was slashed. World War II siphoned off both students and faculty, and enrollment plummeted. Again, Tech rallied, becoming a war-time training ground for soldiers and staff.


By the 1950s and 1960s in the post-war economic boom, Tech was thriving. Programs expanded to include more graduate studies, the campus and physical plant nearly doubled, enrollment increased ten-fold. In 1965, Gov. Frank Clement signed the bill approving Tech’s climb to university status; from now on, it would be known as “Tennessee Technological University.”

Science and technological studies — tempered by arts and humanities, business and education, agriculture and human ecology, nursing and health sciences, and custom interdisciplinary degrees — flourished. Enrollment doubled, and research grants from state and federal agencies poured in to doctoral faculty. Students benefitted, career achievements reaching new heights at commercial aeronautical and engineering contractors, national laboratories and medical research centers, major news outlets, professional sports, the Armed Forces, NASA, the Department of Defense. For more than a decade, Tech has been ranked by a steadily growing number of media and other agencies as among the best in the Southeast and U.S. in academics, career outcomes and — harkening back to its roots — affordability.

Over the past 100 years, the people of Tennessee Tech have paused periodically to reassess, retool and transform — from making college possible for the region’s children, to settling in as the leading professional incubator for area business and industry, to expanding research contributions at home and overseas. Tech’s 100th anniversary is a singular moment in the university’s history. It’s a turning point acknowledging that today’s success is built on yesterday’s foundation — that carrying out its founders’ vision requires vigilance and foresight, an eagle’s eye toward the horizon.

FYI: Tennessee Tech University at 100

  • Charter for Tennessee Polytechnic Institute signed on March 27, 1915, in Nashville by Gov. Thomas Rye.
  • Classes began on Sept. 14, 1916.
  • College enrollment totaled 19 in 1916, just over 400 in 1943, just over 4,000 in 1964, and 11,300 in 2015.
  • Campus grew from one building to nearly 100, from 25 acres to 250.
  • TPI achieved university status in 1965 during its 50th anniversary celebration. Bill signed on Feb. 16, 1965, in Nashville by Gov. Frank Clement.
  • Three concentrations offered in 1916: agriculture, home economics and mechanical arts.
  • More than 40 fields of study offered in 2015, leading to baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees housed in seven colleges and one school.
  • More than 78,000 degrees granted.

Student Project – David Bailey, PSM, Environmental Informatics

P.S.M. student David Bailey has been working on the Falling Water River Watershed project funded by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation under the direction of Tania Datta in the TTU Water Center.

David is utilizing his GIS skills and database management knowledge to compile and create a geodatabase (a collection of spatial databases) of numerous sources of data from different agencies involved in the management of the watershed.

The Falling Water River watershed includes the City of Cookeville and has a number of impaired tributary streams with water quality issues that could be improved for current and future users.

The goal is to achieve a product which can be utilized by different organizations that have an interest in the watershed as a means to search, acquire and share available data detailing the watershed. The geodatabase will improve the efficiency of watershed management by making data available to researchers, managers and other key stakeholders.