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Graduate School

Forget just trying to survive grad school. This email series could help you thrive

Give us 8 weeks and—with the help of your peers—we’ll give you some tools to succeed

by Dorea I. Reeser , Linda Wang
December 8, 2020


Illustration of a grad student.
Credit: Illustration by Mike Reddy
Grad school is tough. Get advice from your peers.

We know that grad school can be challenging. Many of us at C&EN have gone through this intensely grueling yet gratifying experience, and we’ve survived to tell about it.

But don’t take it from us. Get road-tested advice straight from your peers who have recently graduated, or who are currently navigating their way through their PhD programs.

That’s right, we’ve teamed up with chemistry grad students from around the world to offer the “Grad Student Survival Guide”—8 weeks of essential advice to help you sail through your graduate program.

Through their inspiring stories, you’ll learn how to:

• Work through self doubt and imposter syndrome

• Get the support you need from your PI

• Find financial aid and reduce the financial burden of grad school

• Embrace your identity

• Handle conflicts with your peers

• Take care of your mental health and well-being

• Improve how you communicate your science

• Plan for life after grad school

By embracing your identities you can serve as an example for others to be their full selves. By being there and representing various communities, you bring visibility to those who need it.
Geraldo Duran-Camacho (@geraldoduran96) and Bec Roldan (@becroldan)

“We hear so often about the exciting and fun parts of grad school that new PhD students can feel isolated and alone in their struggles. The Grad Student Survival Guide is a little reminder that whenever you are experiencing some difficulties, you are not alone!” says César Urbina-Blanco, a postdoc at Ghent University and one of the writers of this survival guide. “Even though everyone’s PhD journey is unique, our experiences are a lot more common than we think. I hope that these personal stories inspire the new generation of PhD students to look for help, make changes, and think of solutions when faced with adversity.”

Want to get started? Sign up here! Every Thursday, for the next 8 weeks, we’ll share a new topic that one of your peers has successfully tackled.

We hope you’ll let all your friends know about this survival guide, because grad school is that much more fun when you can thrive together.

How can we support our mental health and remove its stigma in academia?
1. Stop the self-stigma.
2. Recognize that toxic environments are not a reflection of you.
3. Reach out for help (and stay resilient).
BONUS: Engage in the fight to eliminate mental health stigma.
Xiaofei (Fay) Lin (@xiaofei_lin)


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