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Successful Student Practices

Vanderbilt graduate students have identified the main things that have improved their graduate school experience. 

Managing stress

Graduate school is hard. Projects are often long and messy, making it hard to see what you've accomplished. High work loads make it difficult to manage your time. And research can at times be either isolating or involve complicated collaborations. You are not alone with your struggles. Successful students make a point of managing their stress using resources available at the University Counseling Center.

Taking charge of mentorship

Astronomy professor and student

As a graduate student, you are both a mentee and a mentor.  

As a mentee, seek out multiple mentors, and don't solely rely on your advisor's mentorship. Reach out to other graduate student and postdocs for advice on navigating the graduates school process. Find other faculty to provide a new perspective on your research - you may even consider emailing someone from another department or school for an especially fresh perspective. The University of Michigan Rackham School of Graduate Studies put together an excellent guide on How to Get the Mentoring You Want.

You will likely also be mentoring other graduate students and undergraduates. Here is your opportunity to starts building your own mentorship skills. The Center for Teaching provides a guide on Mentoring Graduate Students. 

Consulting a timeline

It's easy to get caught up in project details and loose sight of the bigger picture. Visit the GradLEAF grid to make sure you're on top of your broader academic, career and personal goals.