Friday, July 21, 2017

Advice to Soon-To-Be GC Students

Starting a genetic counseling program can seem a little scary, but it's also a new opportunity to grow and make new friends. The Class of 2018 has some advice for incoming first years:

There’s a lot of stuff going on in graduate school between class, rotations, writing your thesis and taking care of yourself. I would definitely say invest in a good planner to keep yourself organized during the hectic times that will inevitably pop up. - Meg Hager

Don't forget to set aside time to relax.
I recommend setting some time aside each week for grocery shopping and meal prepping to ensure you’re well fed, even on the weeks when you have exams, assignments due for rotations, or deadlines at work. Eating right is an important part of self care! - Emily Spoth

Take out your phone right now and download the apps Transit and Busgazer to help you track the buses in Pittsburgh. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself. Graduate school is hard. It’s supposed to be. But it’s also rewarding and, on occasion, fun. - Emily Mazzei

Don’t forget to enjoy the process! Graduate school, especially genetic counseling programs, can be hectic and busy at times, but it’s also an amazing time to connect with 11 other people who are experiencing some of exact same things that you are. Take a little bit of time off to explore Pittsburgh, try new restaurants or just nerd-out with your classmates on all things science! - Joya Petersen

Buy an umbrella you can keep in your bag at all times!  You will be glad you have it. - Seth Lascurain

The best thing I was told when I was going into my first year is that grad school is what you make of it. There are plenty of opportunities out there, but it is up to you to take advantage of them, so don’t be afraid to get involved and explore areas that excite you. - Julia Stone
Keeping yourself organized can be helpful during grad school.
Feel out your professors before you pass this on, but remember that your grades matter much less than what you are getting out of the experience to become a successful and thriving genetic counselor (and person overall). If you focus on doing things that help with that end goal, prioritizing can become a bit easier as not every assignment or test is going to carry the same weight. You also can’t possibly give 100% of yourself to every class, every assignment, every extracurricular opportunity, every job responsibility, and every social outing. It’s okay, and often necessary and encouraged, to say no at reasonable times! - Jenni Peck

Take advantage of Robin and Andrea’s open door policy- they really are such a wonderful resource throughout your time in the program (as well as after you graduate)! - Claire Leifeste

It is very helpful to make a schedule and to try to stick to it, but don’t beat yourself up or panic if you fall behind. Everything gets finished eventually! Also, taking breaks to allow yourself to regroup is an absolute necessity! You always think more clearly and interact more effectively with patients if you give your brain the break that it needs. - Jackie Amurgis

Have a space you go to regularly, whether it’s a room in your apartment, a friend’s place, a coffee shop, anywhere, where you do absolutely nothing school-related. Being able to have a place you can totally remove yourself from school, work, or rotations helps with making everything less overwhelming and keeps it exciting. - Julia Verbiar

-- The Class of 2018

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