Photo of various hands on a tree trunk
Photo: Shane Rounce, Unsplash

For most graduate students, summer feels like a breath of fresh air. Summer is a whole three months where we feel like we finally have the time to catch up on the pile of papers we’ve been collecting, tear into our research, brush up on a language, or transform a paper into an abstract for a conference. Those three months seem to slip by so quickly and, before we know it, it is already the end of August and we haven’t accomplished a fraction of the things we had planned back in May.

So, how can you combat this seemingly unavoidable phenomenon? GradPro has a secret weapon: Check-in Groups! It works like this: small groups of graduate students from different disciplines meet regularly with GradPro facilitators to talk about goals, progress and challenges. The groups work to offer advice to help you make the most of your summer! The groups are a safe place to learn to set realistic goals, work efficiently and treat yourself kindly in the process.

The check-in groups are all about peer mentorship, with both participants and facilitators being graduate students or postdocs. These groups are not about being told what to do or how you need to do it; instead, the groups offer a space to think, discuss and discover what works for you and what doesn’t. 

If you still aren’t sure that the groups are for you, check out some of the feedback from Spring 2021 participants:

“A comfortable space to check in with others on my academic progress, but also most importantly my health and well being.”

“As a group, I think we’ve let goal-setting and reflection be a way to share and reflect deeply on our dreams for ourselves in grad school and a way to be deeply vulnerable about our recurrent everyday difficulties.”

“I love the continuity of reporting to the same group of people every week.”

“Making time to reflect on semester-long and weekly goals is incredibly useful.”

“I particularly appreciate the thoughtful advice everyone in my group, including our facilitator, has offered.”

“I find it so helpful to reflect weekly on my progress, as I’ve noticed I tend to feel like I haven’t accomplished much but then when I see that I’ve actually met my goals, it’s a reality check and a mood booster.”

Interested in participating this summer? Fill out the Summer 2021 Check-in Group Interest Form to be the first to know when you can sign up to register.

Want to know more about the format, groups offered this summer, and how registration works? Register to attend an Info Session on May 18 or 20, 2021 (register by May 17 at noon)! 

About the author: Allison Gleason is a Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering and is a disabled graduate student with a research focus in traumatic brain injuries. She currently serves as Professional Development Liaison in Berkeley’s Graduate Division.