School #4 is my current school where I am a graduate student. Once I got my footing at school #3 and I regained my confidence I decided to start thinking about graduate school again. Civil engineering is a very broad field. In undergrad alone you take classes in 6 different tracks-transportation, environmental. construction/construction management, structural, geotech, and materials. It means that you don’t get too indepth in any one field because of all the required classes. So grad school is probably the most common next step as a civil engineering undergrad compared to other engineering disciplines.

I had 3 options for grad school. I could 1) stay at school #3 and do the accelerated program (1 more year for a MS), 2) I could go back to NY and work full time while going to grad school at night like a lot of my friends did, or 3) I could apply somewhere completely new.

So how did I end up at school #4. Well, remember that boy that took my seat at school #3? We wound up dating and have been together for over 2 years now. When I left for school #3 I was in a very toxic relationship and we were trying to do long distance again. After being gone for about 4 weeks it was evident it wasn’t going to work. I had told him I was thinking of doing a PhD and he told me that he wasn’t doing long distance for that long and wasn’t going to move for me to do it either.

Well my now boyfriend Chris and I wound up in the same group and we quickly became friends and the rest is history. The morning after we hung out for the first time we were sitting in class and our professor announced that he got into grad school at VT with an assistantship. I was shocked to say the least. He profusely apologized after class. He didn’t know our professor was going to say something and didn’t think it was a topic for the first time we were hanging out.

The months went on and we decided we’d do long distance while he was at VT and I did the accelerated program. When June came I just wasn’t feeling like I’d have the best graduate education at school #3. Plus they had no PhD program so I would have to go to a fourth school for my PhD. I started looking into VT and didn’t realize how highly it was ranked for civil engineering. (We’re currently ranked #9.) They also had a whole transportation track and considerably more classes than school #3. But, I was worried I wouldn’t get in.

Chris and I talked about whether I should apply or not. I didn’t want him to think I was following him. (We had only been dating for 3 months at that point.) But he fully supported me applying to Tech. He said he’d support me wherever I felt was the right fit for me and we’d make it work no matter what.

So with that I began my journey to applying to school #4. In the coming weeks I’ll post about how I went about this and my experience at school #4 thus far!

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