UW Graduate School

May 26, 2016

Ground Yourself These Last Few Weeks of the Quarter

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We see how hard you’re working.  You’re running here and there, juggling multiple responsibilities related to all aspects of who you are as a graduate or professional student.  In the midst of this spring quarter chaos, we want to offer you some tips to help ground you in these last few weeks of the quarter.

Connect with your body.  Feeling accumulated tension in your muscles?  Are you having trouble keeping your energy up?  Maybe you’ve been agitated the last few days.  These are all signs that your body is stressed.  We know this is common knowledge, but isn’t it interesting how we can easily ignore bodily feedback and try to plough through the day or week anyway?  Try taking 10-15 minutes out of your day to connect with your body (this is very possible as we can easily spend 10 minutes on social media).  Go for a brief afternoon walk on campus or outside of your home.  Sit in a quiet place such as the library, close your eyes, and take several deep breaths.  Match your caffeine intake with hydrating water (we won’t tell you to cut back on coffee, not now!) .  Keep healthy snacks on hand to make it easy to stay fueled with vitamin rich food. Connecting with your body allows you to be more mindful of your stress level and to actively respond to decrease it.

Shift from distraction to purpose.  It’s easy to get caught in a negative feedback loop of feeling bogged down, frustrated, or depressed about all the things you have to do to close out the year or complete your graduate degree.  And your feelings are totally valid and real.  Yet you are also a whole person and not just the sum of stressful experiences.  In those moments, it’s helpful to remind yourself of your purpose for earning that graduate degree.  You want to contribute to innovation in your field.  You are seeking to impact change in collaboration with your community.  You want to better support yourself and your family.  You want to make a unique contribution to knowledge and research.

Good enough is good enough.  Academia has the capacity to make us feel that we aren’t doing or achieving enough.  Yet in reality, we in Core Programs know that this is just not true.  We have the privilege of collaborating, and engaging in conversations, with a range of graduate and professional students throughout the year.  We get to hear about all the amazing things (no matter how big or small) you are involved in, projects and interests that go above and beyond your degree programs.  We also know that you have families you’re taking care of, working at one or two jobs to make ends meet, or that you are not always validated or seen on campus.  We too have projects that are not yet done, and a long list of things we want to get to.  Your work is never done–this is why the world (and your loved ones) needs you!  We’re telling you right now, you are enough.  And we see you.

Anchor yourself in community.  Make the time in your schedule to hang out with friends, colleagues, or family who care about your well-being and success.  Spend time with people whose well-being you care about.  Reach out to people who share your hobbies and interests.  Go hiking with your best friend.  Plan pizza and a movie night with peers in your cohort.  Make plans for connecting after your last deadline this quarter.  If you’re new to Seattle, consider joining a meetup group based on your interests.  Anchoring yourself in community reminds you that you are a whole person!

Warmly,

Jaye Sablan, Kelly Edwards, and Ziyan Bai
Core Programs Team