Get Involved as a First-Year Grad Student

A blog post from SOLES Ambassador and MA in Counseling with specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Adriana Del Vecchio:
I will never forget the day I realized all of my worldly possessions could fit in my car. That was the day I left for graduate school. I left for my intrepid journey across the country with a feeling of apprehension, nervousness, and excitement that my new home would be San Diego. The San Diego Zoo! The Pacific Ocean! Fish tacos! The apprehension and nervousness related more to the fact that I was starting graduate school. It truly didn’t hit me until I looked at my car filled to brim. All I can say is it’s been some of the most transformative years of my life.
But that’s looking at the big picture- graduate school as a whole. What about how to deal with the daily minutiae? The moment of terror when you receive a syllabus from a professor and its 22 pages long, when you realize the only possible way to get everything done is to cut your sleep in half, or what activities to join and how to “get involved” as a graduate student. Those are all thoughts I grappled with during my first year.
The number one best piece of advice I can give is GET INVOLVED. I spent my first semester frantically searching for a part time job. While that was necessary for my financial stability, it didn’t leave me much time to socialize with my peers, and soon to be colleagues, or become more involved in the USD community. I went from not being involved in anything my first semester, to currently being a SOLES Ambassador, actively involved with research for multiple professors, participating in a number of academic conferences, a member of the SOLES Student Graduate Association, and enjoying my practicum experience. When I look at my subjective well being from my first year to now in my third year, I am much happier. My student loans may be a bit higher and my bank account a bit lower, but I feel connected and invested in the USD community. I am reaping the benefits of what SOLES has to offer and making important connections that may help me down the line, both professionally and personally. Find your passion, get involved, and enjoy these pivotal years of your education.

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