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New School Year, New Beginnings


Gradifying is back for the new school year! To you graduate students who spent your summers in Kingston, I hope you’ve been able to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and take breaks from your work by going for a swim by the pier, exploring the city, or just by going on an adventure. Over the past week the streets have been getting a little busier, the coffee shops nosier, the moving trucks rolling in – the telltale sign that the summer quiet is ending as undergraduate students return, annual frosh traditions begin, and classes start for the 2019-20 school year.

For those of you graduate students who are beginning your first year here, welcome to Queen’s! It’s going to be quite the ride! You’ve been getting many emails over this summer telling you all the things you need to know, and you probably have a list as long as your arm of things you need to do, need to buy, and need to find out. It’s going to be a very busy couple of weeks as you get to know your department, your colleagues, and your graduate services.

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My advice is to go to all the Orientation events this week! You may have hear about the School of Graduate Studies (SGS)’s orientation fair that was held today, on Tuesday September 3rd, called Grad (Re)Orientation – it was geared to both new and returning graduate students because even if you’ve been at Queen’s for years, there’s always something new to learn about how to get involved, the services offered to you, and the ways to join the graduate community. The fair brought together offices across campus that cater to graduate students, community groups, clubs and more, giving you a great overview of opportunities you should know about. If you missed it, don’t fret. There are other orientation activities lined up in addition to your individual department’s orientation activities. You can see them all on the SGS’s website – https://www.queensu.ca/sgs/current-students/orientation. I also encourage you to read the SGS newsletters – those are your connection to graduate student supports! Even after orientation week, there are so many opportunities, workshops and programs available to you, and those newsletters will point you to the resources you need. Also, as an upper year graduate student, I can’t stress enough how important it is just to get out to the workshops that the SGS hosts. Meet the organizers and get to know the people who are working to make life better for you. When you’re starting at a new school, in a new place, developing a support network and knowing where to go to get help is so important.

IMG_2686Finally, I’d like to end my first blog post of the year with a plug for Gradifying. Every year we put a call out for new writers. We have welcomed first year graduate students in the past who have written about what life is like adjusting to graduate student living. We have welcomed seasoned graduate students in their fifth (or later years) of their PhDs, graduated graduates and more, who gave advice on time management tips, applying for jobs, networking, developing your relationship with your advisor. Our writers have ranged from giving quite personal accounts documenting their progress through grad school in a year, to helpful listsicles about the best places to buy coffee in Kingston. If you’re interested in joining us as a writer with Gradifying please send me an email (isabelluce@gmail.com) and I can answer any questions you may have!

I’m very happy to be back writing with Gradifying for the final year of my graduate studies as I finish up my thesis. I’ll be sure to let you know how all that is going. Here’s to another great year!

– Isabel Luce (Gradifying Editor)

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