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Adjusting to Graduate School

Beginning graduate school is exciting, yet during your first few transition weeks, you may experience multiple challenges that are specific to graduate health sciences education at CUMC. These may include adjusting to a new institution, acclimating to a new city or country and, possibly, a change in academic disciplines. 

Quick Hits

Studying in the health professions is tremendously rewarding and unique to any other type of experience. You may need to master large amounts of new and detailed information, witness the suffering of patients, and maintain the multiple roles in your life. Past study and time management strategies as well as coping mechanisms for navigating stress may need to be enhanced. The great news is that these skills are just that - skills to be learned and practiced. See below or stop by our space to get some tailored strategies.

Dig Deeper

Find a support network. Seeking out a mentor and other sources of support can help you transition into graduate school, prepare for exams, navigate stress and provide you with feedback. Sources of support on campus at CUMC include CSW, your Deans, Student Life Staff, Advisors, Preceptors, Mentors, Sexual Violence Response (SVR) & Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center, Disability Services, and the Ombuds office.

Ask a lot of questions. Reach out to your support network and don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially in your first few months.  

Aim for balance. Taking a break from your studies to embrace life outside of school can help balance stress and may make you more productive in the long run.

Set manageable, short-term goals. At times your long-term goals may seem unreachable or overwhelming. Break down your long-term goals and use short-term goals to focus your efforts.

Develop adaptive coping strategies. We each have varying ways of coping with stress but adaptive coping strategies can contribute to greater emotional and physical health. Some adaptive coping strategies you may use include creating a routine, cultivating gratitude, and setting limits and healthy boundaries.

Practice self-care. Self-care is an integral part of boosting physical and mental health, improving relationships, caring for others, and optimizing academic performance. There is no one-size fits all approach to self-care so try out different strategies, techniques and activities to find out what works best for you 

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