Make Sure Your Friends Are Ok

I spend a great amount of time alone. That is just how academia works to be honest. Finding friends has been a bit of a tricky situation since starting for this fact. Luckily, through some persistence, and dumb luck, I have found quite a few friends to share my time with. These individuals are also graduate students, so we are all in this chaotic boat called the doctorate program.

Everyone complains in my department about the exact same things, long hours, impossible workloads, sometimes weeks of no work (weird but it comes up), etc. It’s quite normal to have one of my friends come to me, complaining how badly they want to leave. They feel lonely, imposter syndrome is kicking their butts, or something is happening with their adviser. This is why it is so important to be kind to others in your program.

Grad school is easy. Doing the work is easy. Thinking about the workload and the dissertation and also thinking about all of the alone time and isolation, that’s the hardest part. I believe this is a major contribution to why people are very unhappy in grad school. They have shown that they can do the work, but they get caught up in their own heads, thinking about other things that come with grad school. This is just one hypothesis that I have, but that’s for a different day.

Two Women Sitting Near Trees

Your friends need help too. In fact, if you are in a mentally healthy position in grad school, please help your friends with coping mechanisms. I have started to do just this, not only to my friends in academia but also those working full time, in the real world. Make sure your friends are doing well. They are such a valued part of your life, and if they are hurting, you probably will as well.

Make sure to check in with your friends often. Also, check in with the other students in your department as well. You don’t even have to say much. A simple “good morning” or “what’s up?” is enough. When people around me say stuff like that, it always makes me feel better. You’re friends will probably be the same way.

fight

Everyone is fighting some form of fight. We all have demons, but that doesn’t mean we all have to suffer. Grad school can be a terrible place for people if they don’t have the right support. Why not become that support? But, like most things, be warned. You may be taking on quite a bit if you try and get your friends to open up to you more. They might be having a very rough time and need you there. Remember, be like a dust pan. Take up all of their “trash” but make sure to dump it in a trash can. Do not hold onto their problems or you will get burnt out. Learn to let go. Check out my blog on other mindfulness techniques that you can use too (link here).

If you could do me a favor today, please check in with your friends this week. Make sure things are ok, and if not, offer some support. I guarantee it will be well worth it. I want to leave you all with a YouTube video about mindfulness and kindfulness. Check it out below. See you all in the next blog.

**If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, I highly recommend that they seek help. Online-Therapy.com or TalkSpace.com are great ways to reach out to a licensed therapist and get the help needed. Therapy has 100% helped me and I know it can help you.

5 thoughts on “Make Sure Your Friends Are Ok

  • Providing a safe space for friends is so important. I stress FRIENDS because we really need good friends. That is the way I feel about my prayer group. There is agreement and a place of support. In our blogging community, I feel a type of safe space too because we get to choose who we share our thoughts with. In other social media platforms, i.e., Twitter, Facebook, or places of marketing, this is where I am feel unsafe, most often. I think it is because these are places that can obscure our senses. With all that is pressing IN, it is good to find places, like yours, where one can find support that addresses anxiety.

  • I suppose it’s much harder to make friends these days since classes are all virtual. I had a lot of friends once in grad school. Over a decade later, I see and hear from none of them. The friends I have now are definitely few and select but more intimate because during pandemic, I am limiting exposure to others. I like your take on grad school being isolating being the hardest part. I could relate that to most work. It’s funny, I had reasoned with myself that I don’t want to go back to do a doctorate when at a crossroads in 2018 or 2019 because I wanted to travel more and now it’s not safe to travel, but now my next projects seem bigger to the point I am questioning my sanity. Grad school somehow seems easier that some of the projects I have in mind. Are your classes in person, online or a hybrid? I did a hybrid when I was doing my masters.

  • “If you could do me a favor today, please check in with your friends this week. Make sure things are ok, and if not, offer some support. I guarantee it will be well worth it.” . . . excellent advise young man . . . a favor well worth fulfilling. Thanks.

Leave a Reply