Addresses the mental health challenges of graduate school and how students can succeed and thrive.
With rates of depression and anxiety six times higher among graduate students than the general population, maintaining emotional wellbeing in graduate school is vital! Students must be prepared with skills that will not only help them perform well but also help them feel well.
Thriving in Graduate School: The Expert's Guide to Success and Wellness is the first book on graduate student mental health written by mental health professionals. It promotes psychologically healthy approaches to navigating the graduate school experience and teaches students that they are not alone in their mental health struggles. The authors introduce students to unique perspectives that are key to positive mental health. Additionally, this is the only book of its type to explore issues routinely faced by historically marginalized graduate students. Special sections at the end of each chapter written for faculty, administrators, and mental health professionals augment the book by suggesting ways that each of these groups can help guide and support graduate students through their journey.
Featuring vignettes and experiences from actual graduate students, Thriving in Graduate School sheds light on common—but hidden—truths to help students manage the many challenges they will face and even thrive during their graduate school years. Written with compassion and humor, this is a must read for prospective students and those who seek to support them.
Arielle F. Shanok, PhD, is the deputy director at The CUNY Graduate Center’s student counseling services where she has helped graduate students to thrive for over a decade. Shanok worked previously as adjunct assistant professor at Barnard College, Columbia University. She has published book chapters and articles in peer reviewed journals on a range of topics from psychotherapy effectiveness to gender and money in therapy to pregnant and parenting teen students. She has a small private practice in mid-town Manhattan.
Nicole Benedicto Elden, PsyD, is the assistant director of student counseling services at The CUNY Graduate Center. She has worked in various settings including college counseling centers, city, state and research hospitals, government agencies and community centers and nursing homes. She is a first-generation Filipina-American, the first in her family to obtain a doctoral degree and is proud to have the opportunity to help and mentor graduate students through their journey.
Introduction - Nicole Benedicto Elden & Arielle Shanok
I: Getting Started!
Chapter 1) Welcome! What You Need to Know About Graduate Schoo
Chapter 2) Faking It: Imposter Syndrome in Graduate School
Chapter 3) So…It’s Not Just Me? Coping with Stress and Anxiety in Graduate School
Chapter 4) The Struggle is Real! Accessing Help from Counseling and Disability Services
II: I Am Not Alone!
Chapter 5) The Power of Being Different: Navigating Grad School as International Students
Chapter 6) Navigating Group Dynamics in Graduate School
Chapter 7) Bearing the Baggage of Racial Microaggressions in Graduate School: A Black Woman’s Reflections on Ways to Lessen the Load
Chapter 8) Cultivating and Sustaining Good Mentorship
III: Who Am I, and Why Am I Here?
Chapter 9) When Thesis Meets Diapers: Journeys of Grad Student Parents
Chapter 10) We’re Here We’re Queer! LGBTQ in Graduate
Chapter 11) “To Be Your Best Self” Surviving and Thriving as a Trans Grad Student
Chapter 12) Biomedical Pathways: Graduate Student Well-being in the Biomedical Sciences
Chapter 13) Who Am I: My Multicultural Selves
IV: How Do I Get Through it All!
Chapter 14) Financing a Graduate Degree: The Practicalities
Chapter 15) Financing a Graduate Degree: The Psychology
Chapter 16) Getting the Writing Done: Completing Your Paper, Thesis, or Dissertation
Chapter 17) Taming the Tenacious Beast of Procrastination: Building a Bridge Between Intention and Action
About the Contributors
Trained professionals in graduate-student counseling services, Shanok and Benedicto Elden gather the voices and perspectives of clinical psychologists and faculty members who share their expertise and experiences managing graduate work and mental health effectively. Graduate students, faculty, administrators, and mental health professionals who support graduate students will all find something useful here. Contributed chapters are devoted to topics like dissertation writing, paying for graduate school, being a trans grad student, parenting while a graduate student, and being an international grad student. There are also chapters covering imposter syndrome and wellness. The writing is clear and jargon free, making it useful for graduate students in any field and for faculty and administrators looking to develop graduate student support services. At the end of each chapter, there are takeaways and suggestions for graduate students, faculty, administrators, and mental health professionals to consider. Readers interested in pursuing graduate school or trying to understand today’s graduate student's needs and opportunities will find this book very timely and helpful.
Over the years, higher education has been trying to encourage more students from historically marginalized backgrounds to attend graduate school, but education systems—especially grad school—aren’t particularly built to be a welcoming and nurturing climate for such students. Dr. Benedicto Elden and Dr. Shanok's Thriving in Graduate School: The Experts Guide to Success and Wellness is a big step toward the right direction, as it explores common struggles faced by historically marginalized students—such as impostor syndrome, microaggressions, multicultural competence, and funding—and provides practical ways to help students not only succeed in graduate school, but also do so while keeping their wellness. Graduate programs throughout the country should have a copy of this book to share with their students.
In the midst of pandemic and austerity, swelling evidence of anxiety and depression, thrilling movements for racial and gender justice and higher ed in free fall, Thriving in Graduate School offers a jazz of voices that will comfort, resonate, infuriate, and offer up brilliant strategies for moving through—with scholarly lust, activist passions, with babies, and partners (who do and don't get it); thriving and confronting racial microaggressions, homophobic texts, and neoliberalism; with rent overdue, some harassing faculty, a few amazing mentors, secretaries who are underpaid and hold the academic world together—in the midst you will find a lava like fountain of academic purpose. Or at least the energy to write another 300 words a day and care for yourself. The essays read like poetry for the almost PhD—some pieces will invite you to laugh, others to cry, a few to write nasty emails (that you won't necessarily send)—but on these pages—even in lock down—you will meet sisters and brothers and trans-colleagues who recognize and name the journey through an institution as oppressive as it can be liberating. Arielle Shanok and Nicole Benedicto Elden offer you a GPS for navigating the joyful and infuriating pathway to graduation and to remember your intellectual projects of desire and purpose. Bravo to the editors, authors, and the students who lay in bed wondering if it's worth it!
Thriving in Graduate School is an outstanding volume that should be read by those applying to graduate school, those enrolled in graduate programs, faculty, and administrators responsible to educate graduate students and mental health professionals committed to providing psychological services to students. This volume brings together an incredibly diverse narrative of actual lived experiences, relevant research evidence that applies to a range of common graduate school experiences across a wide spectrum of academic programs as well as the diverse individual identities of students. Realistic and optimistic suggestions, or takeaways, are offered at the end of each chapter, about how to manage consequential relationships and the unique challenges of the graduate school journey.
Thriving in Graduate School: The Experts Guide to Success and Wellness is a refreshing book for graduate students. Through a simple, engaging, and casual language, the authors demystify the experience of graduate work normalizing it and validating the tough experiences lived by students. Issues such as impostor syndrome, procrastination, and anxiety are presented in a candid way offering self-reflection exercises, and wisdom tips to empower students to overcome these and other challenges. The book offers suggestions for students, faculty, administrators, and mental health providers in the support of graduate students. This way, the authors offer a holistic approach easy to follow. This is a great book for first-generation graduate students. Last but not least, cultural diversity is addressed with great sensitivity. This is a great book not only for graduate students but all staff working in academic settings serving students.
So true to what I’ve been hearing for decades from graduate students, this astute book touches all the right chords in addressing the stressors that students across multiple graduate programs inevitably encounter. Its tone is perfect: written in an accessible, non-academic, user-friendly manner and focusing not only on the enduring problems of graduate students—too much work, too great a degree of perfectionism and too much identification with imposter syndrome, and too much uncertainty regarding one’s relationship with one’s mentor---but also issues more central to the emerging and salient issues of our time, issues related to multi-culturalism, identity, privilege, meaning, and work-life balance. There are multiple true-to-life examples in every chapter as well as hands-on exercises and strategies pulled from a diverse range of psychotherapeutic and other healing traditions. The authors within this edited volume also reflect a wide range of backgrounds and traditions. In sum, this is a book that will surely be of great value to students, academics, and administrators, all of whom have been searching for new and better ways to cope with the enduring problems that always co-exist with the rewards of graduate education.
Dr. Shanok and Dr. Elden provide readers with a detailed description of the individual dynamics and external pressures encountered in graduate school with a how-to menu of techniques to cope with these challenges. Their suggestions and recommendations are relevant and useful, not just for graduate students, but for all those who have busy, demanding lives with complex choices about their careers.
This is an authentic, realistic, practical, useful, and usable guide to success and wellness—not just in grad school, but for life in general. I think EVERY grad student should be given a copy of the book upon acceptance.
Graduate school can be a profoundly deepening and life-changing opportunity. Still, for students who feel stuck along the way, the perceived barriers can be experienced as depressing, anxiety-provoking, and insurmountable. Dr. Shanok and Dr. Elden draw on their years of experience as psychotherapists for university students to show pathways in, through, and around these seemingly high gates of passage. What do Dr. Shanok and Dr. Elden reveal about this leg of career advancement as psychologists? Quite often our barricades to success are self-constructed. Success comes in large part from clarity about our own inner life, our chosen stance towards whatever or whomever comes our way, and making a positive impact on those people, whether senior or peers, who surround us.
Each writer is comforting and honest, providing a good balance between emphasizing the positive and exciting aspects of graduate school and being candid about the many struggles that grad students must often face, from being minorities in their programs to juggling parenthood to experiencing burnout and stress. The chapters provide both personal anecdotes and general advice, and there is something useful in each essay for everyone. Even undergraduates may find that the book proves to be relevant to their lives. In a time riddled by the COVID-19 pandemic, so many students will appreciate the solace that this book provides.