The goal of the GSA Peer Collective is to help support the general health and well-being of each student, physically, mentally, emotionally, and academically in order to foster their personal and academic success. This is accomplished through facilitating a community where students feel connected to one another and thereby empowered to share their experiences, discuss topics relating to graduate school life and the challenges they may have faced, and gain new insights from perspectives other than their own. In this context, being connected means feeling comfortable enough to reach out to their peers to ask and give help where it is appropriate. Empowerment refers to accepting, inspiring, and strengthening both oneself and others through mutual support and encouragement. Graduate school is not supposed to be easy, but we are here to make the experience more enjoyable and fulfilling for everyone.
Bi-Monthly Events comprised of Group discussions, Workshops, Speakers and more! Group meetings are open to all graduate students at the School of Medicine. Each meeting will provide a safe space for participants to openly discuss topics relating to their experience and any challenges they may face in graduate school. Meetings will have a monthly theme to focus on. The format of these groups allows peers to reach out to each other for support, to connect at a more intimate level, and to gain new insights from perspectives other than their own.
The Peer Collective Family System:
The Peer Collective has developed a Family System (based on the Human Genetics Program) designed to provide graduate students with a support network outside of their individual cohorts and programs. Made up of students across year and program, you have the chance to meet new students and support one another, meeting at intervals throughout the year that work for you!
Each family will be a mix of students from different years and different programs. The goal is to create an additional support system where students can discuss common hardships faced in graduate school, learn from each other, go to events together, and celebrate each other’s successes. At least one senior student in each family will serve as the lead member of the family to help facilitate meetings based on the family members’ needs. Those who wish to be lead family members will participate in a short orientation session prior to the first family meeting to ensure that family goals and expectations are relatively standardized. Additionally, these families are designed to be longitudinal, so existing families will build with the enrollment of each incoming class. One-on-one peer mentoring will be built into this system in two ways for those who wish to utilize it:
a) Book a meeting with a mentor – choose a mentor to meet with based on the specific situation you are experiencing and on which mentor has experience with something similar. For this, students can volunteer to be peer mentors on specific topics i.e. switching labs, troubles with your PI etc. and they will be available for students to contact and meet with at their convenience. These students will go through a peer mentoring training (available to all) and will be made available for students to contact, across all families.
b) Paired mentoring – this will be within families and will consist of two family members being paired together in order to check-in with each other or meet at a frequency you both agree on.