Victoria Sellas, MPP Class of 2022
Victoria Sellas, MPP Class of 2022

Being a graduate student is both rewarding and challenging. It is important that you practice self-care by putting support systems in place to bolster you as you progress through your graduate education. Victoria Sellas, MPP Class of 2022, writes some words of advice on self-care for her fellow Harristas.

As summer turns to fall and relaxing days on the beach turn into long nights of studying, it's important to remember the balance between your commitment to your education and to yourself.

If you’re a first-year student, you may not fully anticipate what to expect in your new role as a graduate student, but one thing is for sure—being a graduate student is challenging, and can become more so if you do not build a solid foundation upon which to keep yourself happy and healthy. Preparing in advance for the rigorous coursework can make a massive impact on your overall experience as a graduate student.

Think about it like this: if you build a house, the first thing you need is a solid foundation. Otherwise, as you continue to add weight to the structure, it will no longer hold, and the house will crumble. Instead of scrambling to fix the foundation after the house has begun to fall,  form a strong base for your home before outside forces have a chance to compromise that stability.

How can you build a solid foundation for yourself as a graduate student? Develop a healthy routine of sleep, nutrition, exercise, and anything else that you personally need to maintain your equilibrium.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of constructing your own support system within your daily life in order to weather the assignments, exams, events, and any other stressors you will face through your graduate education. Whether that is a healthy diet, regular exercise, social interactions, or meditation, be sure to implement the necessary things you personally need to keep your head above water.

There are also many things that you can do during the academic year to alleviate stress, and the University of Chicago Student Wellness Office offers valuable services and events. However, don't wait until you reach peak levels of strain during midterms or finals—when your house may feel like it is already crumbling—to utilize these services. University of Chicago Student Wellness Office services are there to help patch wear-and-tear, not to provide your base support. From one graduate student to another, I recommend you ground yourself now so that you can reap the rewards later.