Below are some pieces of wisdom from current graduate students - what we wish we'd known as a first year student:

  • Joining PGSA is a great way to get more involved in the graduate student community. In addition to acquiring valuable leadership experience, you will also get to interact more with faculty and gain a better understanding of how academic institutions function.

  • Don't wait to start exploring the literature in your intended field - start by finding "classic" papers. It's a great way to get a head start, and you never know what might catch your interest!

  • Two great resources for finding a place to live: CWRU's off-campus housing listing and Padmapper, which maps Craigslist housing

  • Your first paycheck will be at the end of September, so make sure you budget adequately. Wait to buy non-essential home furnishings until the end of September, and make sure you allocate enough money for: First month's rent, security deposit, moving costs (which can be expensive!), basic furniture, utilities and food.

  • Give yourself at least a day or two to look for apartments, make sure you understand the important aspects of your lease, try to get information about any potential problems with the apartment before moving in.

  • If you're a parsimonious fellow, consider the difference between living in Cleveland Heights and Cleveland proper: by living in Cleveland I think you only need to pay 2% in income tax, whereas in Cleveland Heights it's 4% (2% to Cleveland, 2% to Cleveland Heights)

  • If you're interested in getting an Ohio license you'll probably need to submit a change of address form for your old state (at least this author did for NY) and then pass a knowledge exam at one of their BMV stations (closest is in Mayfield Heights), don't forget the usual ID requirements (proof of residence, citizenship, social security card). To get the title you first need to have the car inspected at a license agency, where they'll give you a piece of paper to submit with your title transfer documents, then go downtown to the Clerk of Courts to get the new title (cheap and takes no time at all). To register the car you need the Ohio title, and a separate emissions inspection, an "e-check". Locations for this can be found with a Google search (inspection is free, a nice surprise).

  • Make sure you email us when you arrive (feel free to email any of the PGSA officers)! We want to include you in social activities as soon as possible and put you in touch with the rest of your classmates.

  • Don't take a risk walking around by yourself at night - call SafeRide to get a ride home from campus. 216-368-3000. While we're at it, keep track of Campus Security's phone number, 216-368-3333.

  • Get to know the department assistants - they're awesome and they know everything!

  • Always carry an umbrella.

  • "Shark Attack 3: Megalodon" is one of the most underrated cinema classics of our time and should not be missed.

  • Like sports? Be on the PGSA IM team! We typically play summer softball, flag football, soccer, floor hockey and dodgeball, though Case Athletics has a number of individual IM sports, too.

  • Grad school is a great time to get a cat (or two!). Most apartments in the area are cat friendly, and ask around for great places to adopt.

  • On Thursdays after colloquium, the Jolly Scholar in Thwing has free beer for graduate and professional students. Stop by and mingle!

  • Make time to exercise. It is extremely helpful with stress reduction and well worth the time you take out of studying.

  • If you're sick, stay home. Don't get everyone else sick - the professors are accommodating.