For those of you who missed the New Graduate Student Orientation, you missed a free lunch and some great cookies. You also missed out on all the secrets of how to be a successful graduate student.
So, your faithful funding peer is here to clue you in on what you missed about resources, how to live and thrive, tips from grad student pros, health advice and insurance information, Graduate Students Association (GSA) services, and peer help from the Graduate Student Resource Center (GSRC).
Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti outlined four important things a grad student should do to succeed:
- Know the right people in your department: Your Graduate Advisor, Graduate Program Assistant (GPA), and your Research Advisor. Pick the right research advisor and be very nice to your GPA and your grad school life here will be very productive and good.
- Take advantage of the many Interdisciplinary Emphases offered.
- Become acquainted with Graduate Division services for academics, finances, and professional development.
- Be happy now and do things while you’re here.
Live and Thrive in Grad School
Dr. Turi Honegger from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) talked about how to live and thrive in grad school.
Did you know that a study of Berkeley grads revealed that grad school was stressful and that 95% of students feel overwhelmed and 67% seriously depressed at some point in their grad school career.
The cure to a better grad life is to be well-balanced. But how can you be well-balanced?
Dr. Honegger offered three pillars in order to find balance:
- Know thyself
- Know your motivation to be here.
- Know your personality type.
- Know how you like to work best.
- Have better relationships
- Create Intentional Community: Cultivate a sense of community while you’re here (on campus and in Santa Barbara).
- Choose the right advisor. It's a key to your success and happiness. Find someone to advocate for you, who has a similar personality type you can work with.
- Find multiple mentors, not just an advisor, but peers and colleagues who can help you succeed.
- Disprove these myths: I must do it all alone; I cannot have a social life or love life; and I can't be friends because I'm in competition with people in my program.
- Take time for your physical health and mental wellness
- Make time to work out, which leads to more energy and more productivity.
- Find your right working level: Too much work can lead to less productivity.
Tips from Grad Students
Five students had suggestions on how to succeed.
- Lyandra Dias (Bren): Join the excursion club.
- Lois Harmon (GGSE): Don’t work more than 40 hours a week, get sleep, and find your community.
- Richard Huskey (Communication): If you can make time for work, you can make time for fun.
- Alex Pucher (Computer Science): There are opportunities to be interdisciplinary if you want. Lifting weights at the rec center is a great way to get rid of tension.
- Dibella Wdzenczny (Linguistics): Take advantage of CAPS, schedule time to sleep, and go to the farmers market.
Mary Ferris, M.D., the UCSB Student Health Executive Director, gave an overview of the services at the UCSB Health Center. She pointed out that all services are confidential; many grad student health problems such as repetitive stress syndrome and eye strain are preventable; and you should get to know your clinician, so you can form a better relationship and have better health. She also gave an overview of Gaucho Health Insurance, which:
- Covers services worldwide
- Has a $300 annual deductible
- Provides 85% coverage for hospitalization and professional services
- Charges a $5 co-pay at the pharmacy for generic prescriptions, and provides free contraception
- Has no annual or lifetime caps on benefits
- Covers dental and vision
- Does not charge for primary care, labs, X-ray, or urgent care
- Provides health care nearby when closed
- Offers a Gateway secure logon to email for health advice, to make appointments, or order pharmacy refills.
Zach Rentz, President of GSA, outlined the services GSA provides for grad students.
- During Bagel Hour, every Wednesday from 8:15 to 11:15 a.m., free bagels, coffee, and tea are served.
- GSA Lounge is a place to study and relax every Monday to Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and every Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free coffee is also brewed every day, and grad student groups can use the space for their events.
- Grants: Child Care Grant, Conference Travel Grant, Emergency Relief Grant, and Event Co-Sponsorships
- Awards: GSA Excellence in Teaching Award, Dixon-Levy GSA Service Award
- Social Events: GSA has hiking trips, beach barbecues, wine tasting, family programming, singles and couple events, all of which you can find on its meetup page.
- Happy Hour: Once a month, from 4 to 6 p.m. Free appetizers are provided for early arrivals. Future events at Zodo's, The Neighborhood, and Santa Barbara Brewing Company.
- Get Involved: Go to a GSA meeting, represent your department, and get free dinner for yourself and money for your department. Or serve on a campus committee and get a stipend.
Graduate Student Resource Center (GSRC)
There are several graduate peers in the GSRC office in 1215 Student Resource Building who provide workshops and one-on-one help in the following areas:
- Funding: Kyle Crocco will show you the money: how to find it, apply for it, and spend it, if necessary.
- Writing: Ryan Dippre will help you one-on-one with your writing and let you know that “you are a good writer and it’s all going to be OK.”
- Professional Development: Shawn Warner-Garcia will show you how to succeed and prepare as a professional, create your professional identity, and clue you in to resources for family students.