by: Apuroop Putty, Masters Student, Computer Science
Starting grad school is an adventure. You never know what’s in store for you until you face it and your true potential is determined by the way you get through the challenges. During the winter of 2020, I was excited to start graduate school but also worried sick to be thousands of miles away from my home and family. With mixed feelings, I landed in Indianapolis and within the first couple weeks of January 2021, I was all set to start my first semester in the Computer Science department at the Purdue School of Science here at IUPUI. Navigating through the first few weeks of school is confusing and stressful, but I found out there are a lot of resources to make this process easy.
One of the most important things to pay attention to is the ORIENTATION. You might feel you know everything about what you need to do, but there’s always a thing or two which you might have missed and that’s why orientation’s important. You get to learn about the various opportunities and resources available for graduate students, the rules and regulations that international students must follow while in college, and also, it’s a place to meet your fellow students and get to know each other.
For me, the next step in the process was to secure a job. Getting an on-campus job not only helps with monthly expenses but also is a great way to build teamwork, time management and leadership qualities. You might have heard this a thousand times, but references are a very important way to secure a job. But first to apply for the jobs, try to make use of the Handshake platform where you can find a lot of job postings from various departments of IU and Purdue. There are new jobs posted almost every day on this platform but make sure that you meet the eligibility criteria for the job that you are applying for and that you tailor your application materials for each position you apply to. There are some jobs that are not posted on handshake like those at Tower dining, Barnes & Noble and Parking services. Keep an eye out for employment opportunities at the testing center, the library and the mitigation testing site. These places hire quite a few students each semester either through Handshake or by email. The latter way is where you need to drop emails to the hiring supervisor and request about job vacancies.
There are also some good employment opportunities under the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of International Affairs (OIA), University Information Technology Services (UITS) and the IUPUI Graduate Office. There are jobs where you can put your academic skills to use, like the research and graduate assistantships (GA). Students in some departments are assigned to a research assistantship (RA) and teaching assistantship (TA) position by default. If you are not from one of those departments, you can secure a RA by reaching out to professors.
A good way to do this is: –
- Search the faculty directory of a particular department and go through the research areas of the individual faculty.
- When you find a project/research that you are interested in, mail the professor regarding your interest to work with him on that project and specify your skills.
Also, there are few GA positions that you all can apply every semester, but the vacancies are very few comparatively. I can say I’m really privileged to work under the Office of Academic Affairs and the Graduate Office on a grant project called “Midwest Experiences in Mentoring Excellence” or MEME where, I assisted my colleagues in developing a website and now work to keep it up to date with mentoring news and resources. I can say that this job helped me improve my skills and put them to practical use for the benefit of the initiative.
Finally, it is very important to manage time for classes, work, assignments and personal time. In-person classes are an effective way to gain knowledge of the subject and it is best to make full use of classroom teaching. At the same time, I suggest you all to invest some time in pursuing a hobby which can help you deal with academic stress. Good Luck!
- Handshake – https://iupui.joinhandshake.com/login
- Barnes & Noble – https://bncollege.jobs.net/jobs?keywords=&location=46202
- TowerDining – https://compassgroup.dejobs.org/jobs/?location=Indianapolis%2C+IN
- IUPUI Graduate Office “Getting Oriented” – https://graduate.iupui.edu/support/orientation.html
- IUPUI Graduate Mentoring Center – https://graduate.iupui.edu/support/gmc/index.html
- Division of Student Affairs – https://studentaffairs.iupui.edu/get-involved/jobs/index.html
- IUPUI Library – https://ulib.iupui.edu/about/employment/student