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One of the scariest and most paralyzing elements of being a grad student can be the implied expectation that you already know everything — you already know how to study, how to write, how to teach, how to find a job, and how to successfully navigate graduate school.

This culture of expectation can be damaging (and is especially likely to disproportionately disadvantage first-generation students and students of color), and it means that we can go through our careers at Cal without ever taking advantage of, or even knowing about, many of the dozens of helpful resources we have access to, both on campus and online.

We here at GradPro aim to address exactly this knowledge gap with our individual consultations. Facilitated by trained Professional Development Liaisons (or PDLs),  these thirty-minute to one-hour sessions will give you the opportunity to discuss your personal needs and situation, discuss short- and long-term goals (like how to plan your summer semester or break), learn how to create an individual development plan for your time in graduate school, and receive referrals to resources (such as the D-Lab for developing skills in research and data analysis).

Here are some concrete examples of why some students have booked a GradPro consultation:

  • “To do career exploration and . . . learn about tools/resources available.”
  • “To discuss how to maintain good relationships with advisors.”
  • “To seek advice on how to improve my speaking skills and how to create a career plan.”
  • “To learn about time management and useful resources on campus.”
  • “To seek advice on how to find and move towards jobs that incorporate aspects of GSI-ing that I’ve enjoyed.”
  • “To get connected with resources for interview prep.”
  • “To gain advice and resources for getting letters of recommendation.”

During your consultation, one of our PDLs will meet with you via Zoom to discuss the support you might need to meet your professional and academic goals.

Whether you’re in your first or final semester, a GradPro consultation has something to offer you! See below for excerpts from student testimonials regarding their consultation experiences:

Thank you for the help and all of the resources. 

[The GradPro facilitator] was very helpful and honest. They gave me guidance without making assumptions about my path. I felt as though I could be honest about my concerns and professional goals. 

“The guidance given to me was candid and highly useful.”

“[The GradPro facilitator] was great, especially during these uncertain times with COVID-19. They provided awesome resources and asked questions that helped me re-evaluate myself!”

If you would like to book an individual consultation with a GradPro PDL, please fill out this form on the GradPro website. And feel free to reach out to gradpro@berkeley.edu for any further questions.


Alicia Roy is a Ph.D. candidate in the UC Berkeley Department of German and is a Professional Development Liaison in the Graduate Division.


Categories: June 2020, Professional Development