By Dante Williams, M. A.
Sometimes it is so easy to become distracted or lose sight of what our goals are as graduate students. In today’s world we are thrown into a whirlwind of uncertainties not knowing when COVID-19 will be ending or when our society will open up and return to “normal”. In the midst of this, we as therapists and local psychological scientists are forced to put on a face of calmness, balance, and optimism. However, many of us are not okay, in fact we are concerned just like our clients but we can’t express to them how scared we might be or embrace the uncertainties of the world we are living. On top of this, we have school work and papers due for our classes and deadlines too which might further increase our anxiety and stress. I am not a perfect person, but I do have some ways to mitigate stress and have a feeling of accomplishment during these trying times.
Do not be afraid to ask for assistance
This was a huge one for me to start doing. I have a challenge with being vulnerable and asking for help when I need it, so for me to tell someone that I need their assistance is a pretty big deal. There is no shame in asking for assistance or telling someone that we need them. The strongest thing we can do is practice humility and proactively seek out help when needed.
Take breaks when needed
The race is not given to the swift or the strong to he/ she that endures till the end. This is a motto that I go by when I feel the need to rush or overextend myself. It is so important that we pace ourselves, most of us reading this article are overachievers and we want to strive to be the best, but we need to be sure that we stop and breathe every once and a while.
Communicate to your professors if you are having difficulties staying up with course work
Again, this was a hard concept for me to grasp and be ok with. I am not a person who likes to give excuses, but at the same time realize that there is only so much we can do, and certain things are out of our control. No one wants COVID- 19 to be around but it is here and it is causing serious issues in our lives. So if you are getting behind, advocate for yourself and most professors will be flexible and not be too harsh with you in terms of deadlines.
Stay connected to your peers and support system as much as possible
This is so important since it can be difficult to physically see our peers and friends. Utilize zoom conference call, google meetups, or other video conferencing systems to stay connected. Believe me if you do this you will feel better and mitigate the feeling of isolation.
Find an outlet that brings you joy
Lastly, do something that makes you happy and you feel give you hope for a better tomorrow. If you have hobbies that can be done at home do them and do them frequently. As terrible the situation, we find ourselves in there is some positivity that we can be excited about. We now have time to think and be mindful of what we are doing and the direction we are going in our lives.
Dante has well over a decade of successful experiences as a Manager and Human Resources professional. He has a passion to help people strive to obtain their goals. Dante received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Metro State University and later earned his Master’s degree from Saint Mary’s University. He is currently is in pursuit of his doctorate degree in Psychology at the University of St. Thomas. With his training and vision, he desires to help people become the best version of themselves. He also has recently started a podcast called “Better You Today!” where he discusses topics in mental health and tips to help people live happy and productive lives.