My apologies for the late post this week everyone! I was in the field for 3 days teaching kids about field biology, and planting thousands of seed pucks, but alas I have returned to the city and am feeling… well, thankful!
I wanted to take a few minutes today to talk about the support system in grad school and how important it is to surround yourself with people who are positive and want the best for you. As I near the end of my time at Queen’s and as we all near the end of a crazy semester , I have really started thinking about the people (other than myself) who have helped me achieve my successes thus far.
My Supervisor has always been a strong and reliable mentor. An open door policy has made him very accessible and he is always willing to help. He has let me explore lots of different research questions, as crazy as they may have sounded. He grounded me when I was getting lost, and supported me when I was stressing out. He is what every Supervisor should strive to be.
My friends have been crucial for my success in graduate school so far. They have been shoulders to cry on, an ear to listen and flesh out problems with research or with personal life. They aren’t only my colleagues, they are my gym pals, my drinking buddies, my lunch dates, my baseball team, my late night Walmart trip companions and so much more. I could NOT have done this without them.
My cat…I know that sounds a little bit nuts…. I know. To come home every day and have him sit on my lap, to de-stress, and have someone that was genuinely happy to see you every day… that really helped get me through this.
My family has played a bit of a different support role in my time at Queen’s. I never talk in any great detail about my life, or what my daily activities involve, and I have never really been sure why. My Mom, for example, is someone I call everyday. She has no idea what I study, other than wildflowers and grasses, and I never tell her about anything until it’s published. I still call her every day though, and listen to details about her life, and the lives of my siblings at home. In a way it is a sort of break from my reality here, and almost like an imaginary trip home to visit with family.
My grandparents, on the other hand, are complete opposites. I also talk to them almost every day, and they ask me 10,000 questions about what I am doing. Nothing specific but “how many pages do you have left?” or “how many hours left do you think you have?”. We all know we can’t answer those questions, but they ask because they care, and enjoy hearing about my life and so I usually just make up an answer…”Poppa I have 400 pages left”. His shocked responses are always hilarious. Moreover, he also constantly reminds me of how proud he is of me, and although I usually brush it off when he says it, I think it’s one of the big things that has subconsciously helped me get through the last 6 years of grad school.
My Supervisor, my friends, my family, my cat…(and Netflix, easy pasta dinners and the grad club too) they have all played a huge role in my journey so far, and they will continue to as a I start my career soon. Who or what has helped you get through your programs and the whirlwind grad school journey? Let us know in the comments!