I am so excited to bring you the first quarterly GSADC blog of the 2019/20 academic year! It has been a whirlwind of a few months but I am so proud and extremely happy to serve as an advocate for graduate students across the UC Davis Campus. Rather than elaborate about what my day-to-day activities as the GSADC has been like thus far (to put it simply: meetings, meetings, and more meetings! Though to be fair, these meetings are all in an effort by various groups across campus to address student needs), I want to highlight a few resources that I’ve recently found is available for graduate students. Some I knew about, and others that were a welcome surprise.
Being a graduate student is taxing in all aspects: emotional, physically, intellectually. I mean, it’s a lot! That is why it is important for students to engage in self care whenever possible. So yes, every so often I put aside my research and binge some shows. Or I bake some chocolate chip cookies and proceed to eat almost all of them (four at a time is not too much right?). Even more than that, I see a counselor regularly. Counseling services are important in that they can help students cope more effectively with the pressures of graduate school, or really, just life in general. While it is true that students are able to utilize counseling services provided through the student health and wellness center, I recently found out that graduate students can also take advantage of the services of Dr. Bai-Yin Chen, a psychologist specializing in college mental health and graduate student concerns. Dr. Chen has an office embedded in Graduate Studies (Mrak Hall). This is a particular helpful service if North Hall is not an option or you prefer more privacy. If you would like to set up an appointment with Dr. Chen in her office in Mrak Hall, don’t hesitate to email her at email@example.com.
As graduate student instructors, we often receive letters of accommodations for our undergraduate students. But the truth of the matter is that graduate and professional students need accommodations as well. To that end, Graduate Studies has launched a new pilot program aimed at increasing the visibility and use of disability services among graduate and professional students. In the 2019-2020 academic year, graduate students and law students will have the ability to meet with Abby Tilden, a dedicated disability specialist who will administer and coordinate disability-related academic accommodations. She will hold office hours in the Graduate Studies offices in Mrak Hall and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for help with any accommodation related issues or concerns.
Graduate Student Pantry
There is a graduate student food pantry!!! Yes!!! Students experiencing food insecurity now have access to a graduate student pantry. The pantry is located in 253 South Silo (yep, the same place as where the free Coffee, Bagel, and Doughnut Day takes place) and is accessible during Fall 2019 on Mondays (9am-12pm) and Fridays (12pm-3pm). Students can also take advantage of fresh fruits and produce through the Fruit and Veggie Up program on the 1st floor of the MU on Mondays and Wednesday from 11am-1pm. Even more, a group of UC Davis engineering students created an app called Freebites designed to help students find free food and reduce waste. I didn’t know about this one until very recently and let’s just say that I will definitely taking advantage of it.
Have you ever wondered what your career path looks like? Is it in in the academy, a private entity, or public policy? I have spent the last couple of years trying to figure this out and I have a feeling that I would have come to an answer a bit quicker had I taken advantage of the many programs and resources offered by the UC Davis GradPathways Institute. GradPathways helps graduate students and postdoctoral scholars succeed at UC Davis and their chosen career paths by providing a multitude of workshops, seminars, and panel discussions throughout the year. And if you’ve ever wondered what your candidacy fees goes towards (that $90 is not nothing!)...this is it!
Maintaining a sense of community can be hard as a graduate student. This is especially true as many graduate students conduct their research far from their home, family, and friends. It can be hard to venture out of the same building where you tend to teach or do research. I will admit that it took about a year or so for me to venture out from my bubble and realize that there are events happening outside of my department or that there are graduate students from other departments looking for community. For those of you looking to get involved in the wider UC Davis community, keep the Graduate Student Association in mind.
It holds many events throughout the year that provide a space for graduate students from different departments to network with one another. Such events include the much beloved Coffee, Bagel and Doughnut Day (the only reason I am just fine with being on campus on an early Friday morning), GSA Bar Nights, or meet ups at the Davis Farmers Market. I would also advise checking out the Graduate Ally Coalition, a broad coalition of graduate student leaders and groups who support as well as provide services for graduate students. Members of the Graduate Ally Coalition include the Cross Cultural Center, the Women’s Resource and Research Center, and the LGBQTIA Resource Center, among others. ALSO, graduate students will be able to find a home and community in the new Graduate Center at Historic Walker Hall, opening in Spring 2020.
This one is very close to my heart as I’ve been involved with the Center for Educational Effectiveness as a Teaching Assistant Consultant for a few years now. The CEE provides a tremendous amount of support to graduate and postdoctoral students in their effort to effective learning for all students. The CEE hosts workshops throughout the year and provides individual consultations depending on student needs. If you have not yet sought out some of their programming, I highly encourage you to do so!
Lastly, I believe Graduate Studies itself can be a huge resource for graduate students. Grad Studies can step in to help with any academic issue by way of three fantastic Academic Advisors or it can help guide you to the appropriate department/individual/program that can help if they’re not able to.
As GSADC, I am also a resource for graduate students. I can be your first or last resort. It is my job to act as a conduit between graduate students and the administration, to identify student needs, and make recommendations to UC Davis leaders as to how to meet those needs. I am here to answer any questions, so please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or follow me on Twitter for updates/information @GSADC_UCDavis.
...that graduate students get free access to the NYtimes, the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity? That there is an Ombuds Office to help with you with conflict management? That you have access to the survey tool Qualtrics for free?!?