As the summer weeks fly by, the beginning of graduate school approaches. I have less than three weeks left before my big move. The reality of it all is starting to hit me.
I’m supposed to be enrolling in classes now. Not only am I expected to enroll in courses for the coming term, but my department also wants me to have a tentative plan for what I plan to take throughout my program. There are a few difficulties to this:
1. My department offers such a wide variety of courses that I can’t possibly take everything that I want to learn. Some are only offered during certain terms in the year, so I have to pick and choose my courses carefully, as choosing one may mean I will never be able to take another. I’m indecisive, so this is a big problem for me.
2. There is a math requirement that varies depending on prior mathematical background. Given my master’s degree in math, I will probably be expected to take the highest level requirement: an honors undergraduate level real analysis course. This is intimidating because I have little confidence in my mathematical ability (thanks in part to my advisor in graduate school) and because real analysis was always one of my weaker subjects as a math student (I got an A+ as an undergraduate, but I had an easy instructor). I would rather take the advanced linear algebra course instead, but I wouldn’t be challenging myself or learning anything I don’t already know.
3. I’m intimidated by reading the descriptions of some of the advanced courses. Because I haven’t yet learned the prerequisite material for many of the advanced courses, a lot of the descriptions sound very far over my head, and I get scared by them. I know this feeling is somewhat irrational, as I will have taken and passed the introductory courses by the time I take the advanced courses, but my confidence still wavers when I try to plan too far ahead.
Of course, I only need to come up with a tentative plan which will almost certainly be modified after talking to an advisor once I start my program. Still, I’d like to have a good idea of what I’m doing before I start so that I won’t sound like I’m completely unprepared when I get there.