Preparing for academic success at a graduate level Essay

Having academic success is what a person strives for as they first pursue a collegiate education especially at a graduate level. But there are instances when the journey is first pursued that many students may feel intimidated by responsibilities, preparedness, and the confinement of certain codes and rules set up by how an instructor may grade and the format a student writes in, like American Psychological Association (APA) style. Knowing that the main goal overall is to graduate and a main component of academic success is writing. Being prepared and responsible may be challenging but can produce a greater reward of success in the future, if managed correctly.

Graduate Level Writing

At a graduate level responsibility and preparedness are very important. With the main goal being on gaining a degree at graduation, academic writing, knowing personal strengths and weaknesses, finding out and knowing ways to improve on weaknesses, time, and stress are among some of the crucial areas at a graduate level to not only be responsible for but to also be prepared for. Seeing that the occasion of graduation comes with many responsibilities before-hand to reach that ending result, it makes sense that, “the more serious the occasion the more preparation is required and the more responsibility you have for the occasion, the more preparation is required” (Byrd, 2010).

Graduate Level Different from Other Forms of Writing

A good source of responsibility to prepare for is academic writing. At a graduate level writing is different because there is a quality and integrity standard and a larger reading audience. As a graduate student writing is a main proponent to academic responsibility, preparedness, and success and it is important to remain authentic in writing style. Authenticity, in writing allows the writer to express a topic creatively and with integrity. But this comes with the challenge of knowing personal strengths and weaknesses when writing.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Graduate Level Writing

Weaknesses can include poor time management, being ill-prepared, misunderstandings of material and format, stressors in life, and laziness. While strengths can be researching, the codes and rules of proper American Psychological Association (APA) format, citations, and references.

Characteristics of Graduate Level Writing

When writing at a graduate level the responsibility of integrity should be at the highest priority. By knowing when writing, what part of the subject is common knowledge and what is deemed a major offense called plagiarism. Plagiarism is described in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as the adoption of another’s ideas, works, or words without well deserved credit being given (2012). Using someone else’s words or ideas and not giving due credit is a major infraction that a lot of students resort to whether intentionally or ignorantly. Plagiarism is usually due to poor time management or simple laziness.

The suggested format style is American Psychological Association style or better known as APA. Using the APA style includes New Times Roman font, 1 inch margins, double spacing, title page, running head, citations, and references to name a few (APA, 2010). Common knowledge is also often a part of graduate level writing and it is based on how many individuals would know a certain subject to be matter of fact (Purdue University Online, 2007). Being that the core to academic writing is to be authentic and to use integrity, applying APA format to writing is an efficient way to avoid plagiarism and gives freedom to write creativity and honestly and helps eliminate undue stressors.

Balancing and Managing Time and Stress

Time management is another great way to prepare and get rid of undue stressors that can lead to major offenses such as plagiarism. Procrastination is often a huge problem as a student. Procrastination is an area that shows poor time management and poor time management often leads to stress because things are not done in a timely manner (Scott, 2011). Great ways to manage time for projects or events that come up is to get organized and try to stay that way, building a routine, practicing or forming a good time managing habits, prioritizing by making a to-do list, and having a schedule or a personal planner (Scott, 2011). Having a balance in life is also a great way to manage time and reduce stress. Balancing exercise and eating better into the daily planner are great choices to make because eating better and exercise aid in thinking clearer which can help you make better choices (Scott, 2011).

Another part of balancing is knowing how and when to relax. Breathing exercises, working out, hobbies and interests, or just a quiet setting can promote wellness and relive stress leading to managing life with balance and fulfillment (Scott, 2011). In conclusion, areas of academic writing at a graduate level, time management, how to deal with stress and balancing life academically and personally can be challenging and intimidating at times. So many things can come to mind negatively when accomplishing goals, being responsible, and preparing for a future that cannot be seen yet. A wonderful quote letting an individual know who is holding back the steps to a better future is written by Marianne Williamson (1992) that states, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others” (Pgs. 190-191). Being responsible, preparing and adjusting to the demands of a graduate student is inevitable and making the adjustments as a student and knowing what is expected is all part of the journey.

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. Byrd, J. R. (2010). Preparation is Easier Than Being Unprepared. Retrieved July 6, 2014 from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. (2012). Retrieved July 6, 2014 from

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