When thinking about building skills and gaining work-related experience, internships or fellowships often come to mind. However, multiple types of experiences can contribute to one’s career development, and joining graduate student organizations is also one of them.
Let’s explore some myths surrounding getting involved in student organizations:
- Participating in student organizations is something for undergraduate students to do;
- Graduate students should only focus on academic work;
- Meetings and other commitments in the student organizations take up too much time, and
- Joining student organizations cannot compete with internships in terms of career gains and work experience accumulation, etc.
All the myths regarding student organizations are addressed by Tithi Basu Mallik in her recent article “Why you should join your graduate student organization” in Carpe Careers, Inside Higher Ed.
Through sharing her own story – from her initial resistance to getting involved to her appreciation for her work at the graduate student government during her pursuit of her PhD at UConn, Tithi encourages graduate students to consider joining a graduate organization at their university. She enumerates three types of benefits that individuals can gain from being a part of a graduate organization: 1) access to opportunities for advocacy and making an impact, 2) honing career skills and competencies, and 3) developing personal wellness. Read more about ways to benefit from joining graduate student organizations.
Tithi Basu Mallik received her PhD in Philosophy at UConn. She is a former Graduate Assistant at the Center for Career Development, and currently, Associate Director for PhD Career and Professional Development, University of Pennsylvania (Nov. 2022).