At Core Programs, we often talk about the importance of finding your people—of making those intellectual, professional, and social connections that will nurture your whole self, not just your identity as a graduate student. Fall is a great time to remind yourself, whether you are just beginning your graduate school journey or you have been away working on your research or just straight up working, that developing a wider network of peer support is important to your overall well-being.
Here are some strategies to help get you started:
Connect with peers. Many of you have had the opportunity to make important connections with new and seasoned peers during your grad orientations and university-wide receptions. We also encourage you to make connections with peers outside of your program—who share similar and diverse identities, academic interests, and career goals. If you are in the research or writing phase of your work, reach out to peers at a similar stage and consider forming a writing accountability group or form a group for fun, social activities. Overall, connecting with peers within and outside of your department can help you sustain the motivation to continue your work and to feel like your whole self.
Grow your off-campus community. One insight we hear from grad students repeatedly is the importance of developing your community off campus. This might look like joining a hiking club, volunteering with your faith-based community, taking dance classes, or having potlucks in or dinners out with new and old friends and family. Growing your off campus community can help you stay grounded, expand your personal networks, and fuel your interests and values.
Build your professional networks. Whether your grad program is nine 9 months long or several years out, it is always a great idea to cultivate and grow your professional networks. Professional networks can include people already working in fields you are interested in and individuals who are working in careers you are curious about. Think of creating your professional network in terms of relationship-building and as part of intentional career planning—rather than just a means to getting a job. Join social media groups relating to your professional interests or find a local/regional meet up.
We hope these strategies help you find your people, and let us know what has worked for you!
Core Programs Team