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Set Yourself Up for Success

Welcome new and returning UW graduate students at all three campuses! Whether you are beginning your very first quarter, in your second and final year of your program, or currently doing lab, thesis or dissertation work, Core Programs is here to support you by connecting you with tri-campus resources, professional development events, and wellness programming. As you begin the new quarter, here are some strategies that that can help set you up for success (your success):

You Belong Here. Some of you are the first in your families to earn a Bachelor’s degree, and now you are going even further by pursuing Master’s or Doctoral degrees. Some of you have moved hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away from your families and communities to attend graduate school. And while many of you are feeling excitement, anxiety, fear, or homesickness (totally normal by the way), the impact of these feelings are experienced unequally based on race, gender, sexuality, economic background, ability, and citizenship. A sense of belonging while you are in graduate school can greatly reduce both isolation and feeling like you will not be smart enough (aka imposter syndrome). We encourage you to reach out and connect with community, as this is vital to your success. Seek out peers, get curious. See below for a list of events and opportunities to connect.

Take It One Day at a Time. Think about what you need to thrive each day. For many of us, this can include time for exercise, enough sleep, time for connecting with a friend or family member, and time to get some work done. Take a look at your daily calendar and plan blocks of time where you can accomplish things from your priority lists and to-do lists, even while sustaining yourself. Graduate school is a marathon that can feel like a sprint sometimes. Keep the big picture in mind – why are you here, and where are you going next? You might have bigger projects you want to (or need to) accomplish. Break those down into manageable and realistic tasks and do just a little bit on the project each day. Before you know it, you’ve made progress.

Take Control of Your Schedule. This one may feel challenging to do when you have so many demands on your time – perhaps classes, research obligations, work responsibilities, family life, etc. And yet, your calendar is your own. Make note of the essential elements in each day and then look for the available spaces that might lie between other obligations. Even with a 15 or 30 minute time block, you can make progress on something that is important to you. Perhaps that is marking off one of the bite-sized tasks from your priority list (it can be energizing just to cross something off!), or stretching or going for a walk, or just resetting with some needed down time. Make sure you are getting what you need, even while you are being responsive to others’ needs. You can set boundaries on your time too. Give yourself 60-90 minutes of productive time and then reward yourself with a 30 minute break. When time feels out of our control, it can add to our feeling of being overwhelmed. Take it back – time is yours.

At Core Programs, we are right there with you – balancing many competing demands and needs and passions. We will keep sharing out resources and tips as we find them, and if you find things that really work for you, we want to hear about them too! Write us at or post a photo on Instagram at #UWGradSuccess.

Best Regards,

Kelly, Jaye, and Ziyan
Core Programs Team

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