Classwork, research, exam prep, data analysis, dissertation writing, mentorship–the start of any new semester brings with it an oft-overwhelming barrage of responsibilities. But what if it turns out that the way to get a handle on all those tasks is actually to add one more item to your agenda? Let me explain: starting the week of January 29, GradPro will be running a series of weekly Check-In Groups designed to help you set attainable goals and access resources and support. 

Here’s how Check-In Groups work: every week, a small group of graduate students meets up, virtually or in-person, to provide accountability and discuss the challenges of graduate school. Each group is led by a trained peer facilitator who guides the discussion and provides resources tailored to the needs of the group’s participants. At each meeting, participants set weekly goals and reflect on how the previous week has gone. Then, they engage in themed discussions around subjects particularly relevant to the graduate experience, such as imposter syndrome or mentoring relationships. Participants also learn about and share resources designed to support graduate students through their academic and professional development process. The groups are a safe place to learn to set realistic goals, build community, and treat yourself kindly.

Cara He, a PhD candidate in Integrative Biology, first joined a Check-In Group in Spring 2023 to meet people in other departments and find accountability partners for her writing. According to He, the group has provided that, and more: “I’ve made many new friends in different programs. I would have never had the opportunity to meet them if it weren’t for the Check-In Group. Also, having other people working towards the same goals was helpful for setting realistic expectations for myself with regards to finishing my dissertation.”

Most of the Check-In Groups are geared towards students at similar places in their academic trajectory: Ph.D. students nearing graduation, like Cara, can join one of GradPro’s two post-quals groups, while others can join one of the groups for pre-quals or Masters & Professional students. A few of the groups will also be based on shared identity. These include Undocugrads; First Generation/Low-Income (FGLI) students; and Neurodivergent, Chronically Ill, and Disabled students. 

Register for a spring semester GradPro Check-In Group before Friday, January 26 at 4 p.m.!

Yana Zlochistaya is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Comparative Literature and a Professional Development Liaison with the Graduate Division.