Grad school does not have the best reputation. The stereotype is that it is a time of so much despair that it seems, as Marge Simpson noted, like a terrible life choice. This idea is not entirely unfounded: Ph.D. and master’s students around the world report rates of depression and anxiety that are six times higher than the general public. When asked how things are going, grad students often respond, “I’m surviving.” And we as an academic community seem to have accepted this as par for the course.
My fellow Letters to Young Scientists authors and I think it is time to change that. And what better time is there to start tackling this problem than the beginning of a new academic year, when new students may be wondering where to begin and more veteran students may be striving to make this year better than the last?
This single article can’t address all of the issues—there is, after all, a word limit. And some of the challenges associated with grad school are systemic and require large-scale changes of policy and culture, which will of course take time. But while those changes are being developed, you still have to continue with your studies. Given that, our goal in these columns is to provide actionable strategies that you can implement to put yourself in the best possible position. Today, I will focus on three things to remember that may help you on your way toward thriving, not just surviving, in grad school.
Read the whole story: Science