Wednesday, September 16th, 2015...6:26 pm

Welcome, and Welcome Back!

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UofT in September

                                                    University of Toronto

By Kathryn Clark, Gradlife Ambassador and Master of Teaching graduate student

To graduate students just beginning their journey into thesis writing, research, and long nights in front of endless data, welcome! And to those getting ready to dive back into it, with the faint glimmer of hope that the light at the end of the tunnel brings, welcome back!

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The Grad Room at 66 Harbord has an info desk. Come ask about Grad Escapes, Grad Talks, the GPS Program and more!

Now that classes have officially started for all attending the University of Toronto this Fall, the sight of students in backpacks, coffees or teas in hand, and looks of despair on their faces will be all too common. Did I say looks of despair? Of course I meant utter joy and happiness at having chosen to further your career in academia with a postgrad degree.

All kidding aside, these next few days and weeks have the potential to be challenging for all of us, whether we’re new grad students fresh from our undergraduate programs, halfway through a master’s or PhD program already, or are re-entering university after a few years off. We’re going to have a lot of information thrown at us, new ways of studying, and the realization for many of us that being a grad student is as different from being an undergad as being an undergraduate was from being a senior in high school (can we even remember that far back??).

No matter what your life or academic experience might be, a new school year can definitely feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. As a grad student, you might have acquired new academic stressors, but you’ve also acquired an entirely new system of support, resources, and people who are just waiting for you to seek them out, ask questions, and share your stories. I’m one of those people!

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“Tips & Tricks” aren’t just for undergrads!

I’m new to both the Gradlife office, and to being a graduate student myself. Trust me, if anyone is going to understand the feelings of newness, of coming back to school after a few years off, of trying to situate one’s self within Toronto & a new group of friends (said she hopefully), and a more demanding course load, it’s going to be me.

All of that to say: you’re not alone. This school year, I and the rest of the Gradlife team want you to know that we are there to offer whatever support you need to get you through the rough spots, to encourage you on the slow days, and to celebrate with you on the great ones. If you’re feeling like you need a friend, someone to talk to, or just need a breather from academia, the Gradlife office has some great Grad Escapes, as well as Grad Talks to help you be successful, coming up that we welcome and encourage everyone to join.

If you can’t come out to these events, or they’re simply not your thing, our temporary home (aka UofT) also has a TON (and I mean a TON) of campus groups, clubs, activities, support services, and more that are open to everyone. Yes, even us graduate students; don’t let yourselves be intimated by a horde of frosh, you’re grad students! These clubs and resources are designed to support us on our journey, and I hope that you take the chance while you’re here to become as much a part of the community as you can.

Because I’m in the same boat and know that you’d probably prefer to spend your time catching up on readings instead of wading through the many pages of UofT’s website to find the perfect resource or club for you, below are some links to get you started;

gradlife5                                                                                                                                      Grad Room has weekly games nights!

 

Health and Wellness Centre

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School of Graduate Studies (now with an embedded counselling service dedicated specifically to grad students):

Make Friends & Build Community

Campus Clubs

First Nations House

Get Fit

Centre for International Experience

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I hope to see some of you at our next Gradlife event; if not, please feel free to get in touch via twitter, facebook, our blog, or the Gradlife website. Welcome back!

All photos taken by Kathryn Clark.



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