Last one Veronica Rabelo:
Get a hobby. You’ve probably already heard that work/life balance can be difficult or elusive in academia – but it’s crucial that you develop healthy habits in grad school. Over time, your workload will become more demanding, so it’s important to take care of your mental and physical health. As my peer mentor Jes Matsick advised me when I entered the program, “No one is going to pull you aside and say, ‘Hey, you’ve been putting in a lot of hours lately – you deserve the weekend off.’ It’s up to you to craft those boundaries and take time off to relax and unwind.” Having some structure in place can help you achieve greater work/life balance – whether by joining a group fitness class at the CCRB, signing up for an art class through the Ann Arbor Art Center or Groupon, or gathering a group of people to go on weekly walks in the Arb.
Hobbies are also a great way to make friends outside of grad school. One of the benefits of Michigan’s cohort model is that you enter grad school in a group (whereas other graduate programs may only accept one new doctoral student per year). This means that you have a great community of students with whom to take classes, study, and commiserate. That being said, it can also be helpful to surround yourself with people who are outside of your program to help keep you grounded and in touch with sides of yourself that go beyond your work.
Ultimately, remember that you were accepted to the program for a reason, and that you deserve to be here. Although it’s important to stay focused on acquiring new skills – such as new methods, advanced statistics, and scientific writing – it’s equally important to get plenty of sleep, eat well, and stay grounded. Oh – and try to have some fun along the way!