Feelings of isolation can be a common occurrence when one’s work is largely independent, but it impacts students differently depending on whether it is a welcomed aspect to one’s work or a situational factor with which one must cope.

Do you ever find yourself thinking, “I don’t know anything about what’s going on; I am only ever in my lab or at my desk writing”? Move from excuse-mode to doing something about it, consider taking one or more of the following action steps to engage in community:

  • Review the various campus calendars to learn about career and professional events, workshops and programs, and establish the habit of attending two events or programs per month;
  • When you attend an event introduce yourself to a minimum of one other person and ask about their work and share a bit about yours;
  • Conduct an Internet search for regional academic and professional development meetings that you might attend;
  • Participate in events hosted by the graduate student association in your department or create such a group if one does not exist;
  • Connect with UConn’s Office of Community Outreach to learn about short-term and one-time opportunities to volunteer in the surrounding community;
  • Create a group around something you seek to accomplish, perhaps a writing group, job search group, growing your network group. Consider the benefit of having students from different fields of study attend;
  • Connect with a student who is a step ahead of you in their academic journey and seek to meet periodically for advice and feedback.

A faculty member during my graduate education used to say, “You can wallow or you can walk-on through.” She was telling us to change the things we could and direct our attention toward moving forward or taking action.

Show up to things with a desire to connect with others and you might even meet someone who shares your interests or your struggles. Show up to things with a desire to connect with others and you might even meet someone who has really good advice or who can benefit from yours!




By Kay Kimball Gruder
Kay Kimball Gruder Assistant Director of Graduate Student Career Programs and Services Kay Kimball Gruder