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student voices

Open Letter to a New Grad Student

Dear New Grad Student,

Sorry I didn’t catch your name. We met a few months ago at a poster session during an internal symposium. Though my work is significantly outside your field, you showed an unfettered interest in my project. It didn’t surprise me when I asked if you were a grad student and you answered, “Uh… yeah, I guess” and informed me that you had graduated mere weeks prior to our conversation. I couldn’t help but smile as I remembered times when I too was a sponge for knowledge.

Do your best to hold on to that unbridled enthusiasm for as long as you can. Grad school will steal it from you if you let it. But grad school can also feed it.

Explore Michigan: Experience Nature

Two years ago, when I first started writing for the Rackham blog, I wrote a post about beach towns on Lake Michigan. That summer, I got engaged on a Lake Michigan beach. And, last month, I got married on that beach. For the wedding, we rented Camp Blodgett in the small town of West Olive, which, during the week, is home to a summer camp for kids. Camp Blodgett was the gorgeous, outdoor location that my wife and I love. We could look out at the vast beauty of Lake Michigan, feel the fine sand between our toes as we walked down to the beach, and have a bonfire with our family and friends. After the wedding, we went to Alaska for the honeymoon, and spent much of our time outdoors experiencing nature. We had a wonderful time and made lots of great memories.

Graduate Student Mental Health Matters

Is academia a contributing factor to mental and emotional health problems? How are universities and their institutional cultures contributing to these issues? Is there space to have these discussions? Who will listen?


The views expressed in this post are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of Rackham Graduate School or the University of Michigan.

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