“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate” especially in graduate school. Making friends in graduate school was so important to me. My friends have lasted me a lifetime. They kept me connected with what was important and hearing from them instantly brings back great memories and a smile.
My friends helped me get through the difficult times like taking my qualifying exams or preparing for my orals. They were my cheerleaders. They shared their experiences. They were someone I could talk to and they helped to make the process of graduate education not be so crazy and hard.
I am still in contact with many of my friends. Even if we do not get to see each other, we take the time at least once a year to drop a line and catch up with each other.
Best fun I had was making friends with people outside my department. It was a great way to let off steam. We might go for hikes or a run (not my favorite) or hang out in the park. Sometimes we gathered our “pennies” and went to happy hour for a beer and pizza at Big Al’s; he was big and his pizza the best in town. Our gatherings over food were always special. It was a time where we would explore and dream about our future.
Sometimes I just needed a friend to listen to me. Like when I was dealing with a difficult major professor. His idea was that I was to work, work, and work; until he told me, I was finished. My idea was to push back and say, I have a job waiting and I cannot just “work, work, work, until you tell me I am done”. Having my friends made the difference of me being able to complete my degree.
We talked about what was going on in the world, elections, weather, and any subject other than school. We celebrated our successes and milestones. My friends made my experience in graduate school full, full of growth, happiness, fun, and of course food. I hope yours will as well; and do not forget to bring the chocolate!