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student voices

To Be a Scientist

A few weeks after arriving in Ann Arbor for graduate school, nearly four years ago, the strangest thing happened to me. I was walking to the public library downtown to return a mystery novel, book in hand, when I was approached by a kid. He and his friend had been skateboarding and he had what appeared to be a sprained ankle. He asked me, "Hey, are you a scientist?" I hesitated, I had never been asked a question like that before. Then I replied with, "I'm not sure," more eager to be on my way than anything else. But he kept on it. "Well, are you majoring in a science?" I was, so I answered in the affirmative. Then he got to his question. I don't remember the exact phrasing, but he wanted to know if, in my expert opinion, his ankle was too injured to continue skateboarding.

Thinking Harder About Student Mental Health

We have to do a better job dealing with mental health in the academy. We really, really have to. The most recent information suggests that almost half of Michigan students, at the graduate and undergraduate level, have felt overwhelming anxiety or severe sadness or loneliness. The number hovers around 80% who have felt overwhelmed or exhausted in the past year. The reality is that students dealing with some sort of mental or emotional struggles are not outliers—they are the majority of our student body. We need to face this reality if we’re going to make our campus a healthier place for our instructors and our students.

Move Yourself to U-Move

Most graduate students I know have that thing they do they when get stuck on a problem. Some get outside, some cook, some nap-- I grab the U-Move schedule and see what classes are happening. Fast-forward a few hours to the end of yoga class: I'm lying on my mat, my eyes are closed, the instructor is telling us to clear our mind, and all-of-the-sudden: Of course. The answer to my problem; it was obvious. Stuck no more!

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