Guest Author Sarah Snyder is an M.A. student in Eastern Classics at St. John’s College. You can find out more about her on her academia page.
How to survive in graduate school? Arrange to be alone with your work. Make it your being, tether yourself to the enrichment of your own mind, and you will emerge knowing a little. Follow your intellect and your smallest whims, and you will not go astray. The creative mind succeeds only when it trusts itself alone. Allow your education to become the ink on your skin, but amorphous and accommodating as a tattoo. Love every second of your time spent reading. Make yourself love each word, to feel around inside it. Read one word a day to begin. Find the joy in your work, find the center of a circumference without equidistant points. Keep the meaning and the happiness not in the peripherals, but in front. Make sure to leave some behind, since not everything is sure to work at every time. Do not allow habits to become the nuisance of your thinking hours. Allow your mind to approach you with its ideas, give it your attention full. Make your relationship with your studies known, never disrespect the gift of education with your inadequacy and laziness. But do not fail to recognize corruption when ideology is present, and do not neglect your own conscious mind as the basis for right and wrong, true and false. Be alone with your work. Understand that you’re not alone when the voices of those engaged in their own pursuits may echo through you—Emerson, Homer, Woolf may be the closest alliance of your life, do not allow time and space to make crude your connection. Make yourself responsible for your intellectual growth; cultivate love between your ego and your inner teacher. Practice going within and without your mind so that you can see the difference between subjectivity and objectivity. Ignore and subvert both accordingly, finally realize each simultaneously, alone with your work.