SERIES: Transition to Grad School Like a Pro
Jeffrey Edwards graduated from the M.S. in Building Construction and Facility Management in Fall 2022. He now works as a project manager. For Edwards, the graduate program provided him with an in-depth analysis of construction and finance.
We followed up with Edwards to get his insight and advice for new Georgia Tech graduate students.
Lean on your support network. “I had a really good support system,” said Edwards. “That included my advisor who would always encourage me when I felt overwhelmed, a few students who I shared classes with who I could bounce questions off of, and wonderful professors who would offer awesome career and classroom curriculum guidance.”
Find the right balance between school, work, and family. For Edwards, his wife was ultimately the “quarterback” of their household, which allowed Edwards to focus on school and career.
“We have four kids (ages, 3, 6, 9, and 15),” he said. “Our household always has something going on, whether it’s soccer, band, dance, etc. Looking back on the journey there were times where things felt overwhelming, but the way we would balance things is by having family time for a few minutes in the morning before school or work and weekend drives together when we can fit them in.”
For those who have been out of school for a while, expect more technology in the classroom. Before coming to graduate school, Edwards spent time working in the industry. When he returned back to school, Edwards felt unprepared for how technology dominated everything.
“From how we access our classes in Canvas to navigating through the [virtual meeting] platform during the pandemic, it took a couple of weeks to get adjusted to navigating through the different platforms,” said Edwards. “Once I connected with some other students, I was able to get some recommendations to where I can go to get help.”
Connect with other students and peers. “It’s amazing to think back when I first started. I kept telling myself ‘Why are you here?’ and ‘You don’t belong,’” said Edwards. “In the beginning, I had so much self-doubt, but once I connected with other students who shared a similar journey, it made me feel like I wasn’t alone, and I began to feel like I did belong.”
Utilize your advisor. “It was so important to me that I had a great relationship with my advisor who helped me navigate through the first couple of semesters, helping me establish goals and picking classes that were suited for my development as a student,” said Edwards.
Believe in yourself. “Be patient and believe in yourself,” said Edwards. “You belong here and have fun. Whatever your goals are, you are in the right place to achieve them.”