A look into the transition to graduate school.

Gaining admission to graduate school is an achievement reflecting your potential to learn and contribute in your chosen field. Aptitude, interest, and passion for the work are good predictors of your future success, but the ability to psychologically transition into this new role will be equally important!

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Here are a few tips and tools that may help you along this journey…

The workload of graduate school can be quite daunting. You will be responsible for judging how best to manage your time for class assignments, program requirements, research assistantships, and teaching responsibilities. Graduate school is filled with so many opportunities that it is necessary to prioritize strategically. It may be most beneficial to consult with advanced students in your program. They can provide useful tips and support. Additionally, CAPS offers a graduate support group, which serves to address concerns of confidence, advisory relationships, and other issues common to graduate students.

It can be easy to lose sight of your accomplishments when surrounded by other high achieving peers. Allow yourself to be a student, and remember you are here to learn. Your advisor cannot help you grow as a researcher if you are not transparent about your current knowledge base. Also, advisors vary in how much support or guidance they provide, so navigating these relationships with good communication is a key to your success.

Considering the many demands of grad school, it can be easy to lose sight of life beyond campus. You soon find that there is more than enough work to fill every hour of the day, but do not neglect your family obligations and friendships. Isolation as a graduate student can contribute to symptoms of anxiety and depression, whereas adequate social time can provide the energy necessary to stay on the road to success.

Some grad students have jobs, others live on student loans, and some are lucky enough to find generous stipends. Whatever your situation, be mindful of your expenditures. A student loan is not monopoly money, and you will pay this back at some point. Look into student discounts where available and seek financial guidance if needed.

Remember your general health and wellness. Stress weakens the immune system, and you surely do not want to become ill and lose more of your valuable time. Be mindful of your eating, sleep, and exercise habits. Health and wellness will pay dividends during your grad school years. The University Health Center now offers a host of FREE preventative wellness classes and programs.  Please check out the BE Well UGA resource page for more information and be sure to periodically check back as the offerings change.

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UGA is a large campus with a wealth of resources and opportunities for graduate students. If you experience academic difficulties, seek assistance from the Center for Academic Enhancement, and/or Career Services.

If you notice a change in your mood, energy, academics, or general functioning, please call Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) at 706-542-2273. We recommend contacting CAPS with adjustment concerns early so we can provide support and help you avoid unnecessary crisis situations.

Written by: Amanda Pileski, PhD, UHC Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS)
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