|by flickr user david55king|
There are the over-achievers who spend every waking moment studying and manage to get 80% on an exam where the class average is 50%, and still think they aren't doing well enough. And the students who get 50% on the exam struggle with depression and identity crises; once the superstars of their courses as an undergrad they have become average. Despite the low exam score everyone in the course will get a "B" because "B's get degrees". You have to maintain at least a 3.0 average in most graduate programs.
Then there's the courtship involved in finding a research advisor. Be prepared to spend lots of time in meetings with senior graduate students and make sure you convince the advisor that they are your first choice
I spent a lot of time that first year feeling angry and depressed. (Based on conversations with my friends and classmates I was not a unique case.) Once classes were over and I engaged more fully in the new challenge of research in my new research group, I started to feel a little better. I told myself that the hardest part was over and things would be easier. I was one step closer to my dream of being a chemistry professor...