The best advice I could give any grad or future-grad student is as follows. Either:
a) figure out before your 2nd/final year of your Master’s whether you want to immediately go onto a PhD.
- If the answer is ‘yes I do!’, either:
- finish your PhD program applications during the summer before your 2nd/final year starts, and then enjoy the heck out of the rest of your Master’s experience; or
- don’t take any classes during the 1st semester of your 2nd/final year if at all possible to give yourself time to work on applications. Meaning, complete most/all of your coursework in your 1st year if at all possible (applicable to those programs where you’re supposed to be writing your thesis/final project your entire 2nd/last year).
- If the answer is ‘no I don’t!’ then enjoy the heck out of your grad school experience, and allow yourself to reconsider the question only after you graduate.
b) decide to take a year off between degrees, and stick to that decision. Then take your sweet time putting together fantastic applications.
Of course, you could just be like me, deciding after my 1st year to take at least a year off, and then deciding a couple of weeks before the application deadline to apply for a PhD program next year after all, and then changing my mind every 30 seconds following that, based on whatever confusing email I get that day from whatever department/advisor/professor/opinionated person. Meanwhile, my GPA is hanging precariously in the balance from the lack of concentration on things that matter for this degree…I’m tempted to just splurge (i.e. max out my credit card) on this Gareth Pugh blazer/hoodie (such a hybrid exists!) so that I can’t possibly afford even the paper to print off applications…
*Embrace a dream that was a nightmare only yesterday.