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Photo: Christina Wocintechchat from Unsplash.

Summer is a magical time for graduate students: it’s three months during which we feel it’s finally time to catch up on our reading, really sink our teeth into research, brush up on a language, or turn a semester paper into an article. But we’ve all experienced the sinking feeling at the end of August when we realize we didn’t accomplish half of what we’d ambitiously hoped back in May.

This is why the GradPro Check-In Groups can be your secret weapon to a successful summer. The set-up is simple: small groups of graduate students from various programs, meeting regularly throughout the summer with GradPro facilitators to discuss goals, progress, and challenges. The group offers support and advice to help you make the most of your summer while you learn to plan realistically, work efficiently, and treat yourself kindly.

Ultimately, the check-in groups are about peer mentorship, with participants as well as facilitators being fellow graduate students. They’re not about you being told what to do or how to do it, but instead about giving participants space to think, discuss, and discover for themselves what works and what doesn’t.

But you don’t have to take my word for it (even if I have been both a participant and facilitator)! If you want to know if a check-in group is for you, look no further than the following feedback from past check-in group participants:

“I really enjoyed my check-in group, and I think it’s especially great for summer. Not only was I more productive, but I learned more about being a PhD student, generally and professionally.” (Summer 2019)

“Knowing that I’d be accountable to my goals semi-publicly in the group was a huge motivator. During shelter in place, it also provided much needed social interaction and encouragement.” (Spring 2020)

“The facilitators help me consider how to overcome potential stumbling blocks to my goals and are great about helping us recognize and celebrate when things go well, even small things.” (Spring 2020)

“I liked the community that formed in our group. We were all at very different stages of our programs and sometimes had very different kinds of struggles, but we were able to create bonds and support each other.” (Fall 2019)

“Very positive and open environment; feedback is concrete and constructive; very well organized; great facilitators!” (Spring 2020)

If you’re interested in participating in a check-in group this summer, fill out the Summer 2020 Check-in Group Interest Form and be the first to know when you can sign up to register!

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