The summer before graduate school can often feel like a time of limbo. You might be excited to start school again, wondering how you can best spend your time to prepare for the next step in your education.
Maybe you’re looking for more motivation, or tips on how to succeed in graduate school. This summer is a great time to lay out in the sun with one of these three books that are sure to inspire and help prepare you for your time in grad school:
The Last Lecture — Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow
Many professors give lectures called “The Last Lecture,” where they speak about things that most matter to them in life and mull over what legacy they would like to leave after they die. Randy Pausch’s last lecture about achieving childhood dreams was given after his terminal diagnosis of cancer, and is captured in this book.
In The Last Lecture, Randy discusses the importance of fulfilling your dreams, talking about everything from being a Disney Imagineer to experiencing zero gravity. His honesty about overcoming obstacles, loving others, and his own struggle with cancer will encourage you to get the most out of your graduate school experience.
Bird by Bird — Anne Lamott
How do you push yourself to keep going when the task ahead seems insurmountable? Do you give in to anxiety, or even give up? Anne Lamott, a writer, knows what it means to feel defeated, and advises the rest of us to take things one by one — or, “bird by bird.”
Lamott’s book is sprinkled throughout with various life experiences of hers, and discusses how she has pushed through even the most challenging circumstances. Take this book as a form of encouragement to face and overcome the trials life throws at you. Listen to Lamott and her offbeat wisdom take this bird by bird:
“Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived...Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation... Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist's true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.”
Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student’s Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D. — Robert L. Peters
This book will give you an inside scoop on grad school by faculty answering questions from what degree you should get to how you can get a degree for the least amount of money.
What’s most important isn’t what you read, but what you take from it. These recommendations are a great start, but don’t stop there! There is a whole realm of books that could benefit you the summer before graduate school.
Don’t feel guilty if you indulge in a few fiction novels — in fact, studies show fiction helps readers gain people skills. The summer before graduate school is a great time to expand your horizons and to dip your toes into different genres. You never know what inspiration you'll find hidden between the covers of a book!