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!