Welcome to Queen’s or welcome back! If you are just starting then your whole first week is planned for you. We will be kicking off this Gradifying year by helping you with your second week and beyond.
I just finished a lovely week working on my dissertation with a group of fellow graduate students at Elbow Lake. First, I highly recommend dissertation on the lake to everyone in graduate school; it is wonderful. Second, I was struck, as I often am when speaking with other graduate students, that although no graduate journey is identical, many of our experiences are similar.
At times, we feel like we have mastered skills and belong here in academia, but other times we feel like we have pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes; we have felt proud of our accomplishments and crushed by our failures. We have been frustrated with both our supervisors and ourselves. And we have cursed the undergrads for their messy handwriting and taking all the good spots to work.
I find this shared experience comforting to hear, but concerning in that we still tend to talk about this stuff after the fact, instead of in the midst of it when we could use some support. Chatting with fellow grad students this week reaffirmed to me the necessity of Gradifying as a means to continue communicating those shared experiences. Acknowledging our common experience and recognizing that we all share feelings of inadequacy and disappointment actually serves to foster connectedness and compassion towards ourselves, something that graduate students could always use a dose of.
Whether you connect with the experience of another graduate student, learn about some new skills, or just need a quick distraction, Gradifying can be a small but significant means of support during graduate school.
As the wise Troy Bolton once said: “We are all in this together”.