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Back to School Tips for Graduate Students

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AU faculty members share words of wisdom with graduate students:

“Be open-minded to new experiences at AU and your program, those opportunities may lead you to some interesting places.”
Anastasia Snelling
Department Chair
Department of Health Studies


“Reach out early in the semester to your professor or advisor if you feel you are struggling in your classes. We want all of our students to succeed, and there are resources we can provide to help you.”
Kara Reynolds
Associate Professor
Department of Economics

“Find ways to connect to grad students outside your chosen field. Some of the most powerful connections for your education and your future live at the boundaries between disciplines.”
Andrew Taylor
Associate Professor
Department of Performing Arts

“Research your professional development options in DC before you begin classes as it becomes harder to do so thoroughly once you are preoccupied with your studies.”
Kyle Dargan
Associate Professor
Department of Literature

“Remember that graduate school is about much more than the classes you take!”
Anthony Ahrens
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology

“Be very diligent to communicate with the faculty in your program—especially your advisor. Both problems and opportunities can be identified earlier and handled better that way.”
Michael Robinson
Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics and Statistics

“You are no longer an undergraduate and should no longer think like one.”
Daniel Fong
Associate Professor
Department of Biology

“Avoid imposter syndrome by talking with your advisors (who selected you for a reason) and colleagues (who will have similar experiences). Graduate school can be demanding and demoralizing at times—remember your passion for the subject!”
Joshua McCoy
Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science

“Your peers will be your greatest professional allies throughout your life. Try to network and cultivate strong friendships. Keep in mind that the person you alienate now may be the person that could help you down the road. Be courteous and avoid conflicts.
Luis Silva
Associate Professor
Department of Art

“Grad school is just as much about building your community as it is about building your subject knowledge. Take 20 minutes a week to find and connect with someone who intrigues you, whether it's a fellow student, a faculty or staff member, the author of one of your textbooks, a visiting speaker, or a journalist who's writing about your area of study.”
Andrew Taylor
Associate Professor
Department of Performing Arts