5 opportunities graduate students can take advantage of as we start a new academic year

The 2020-21 academic year will be like no other. All of us, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, graduate faculty and staff, who together create the Graduate College community are doing our best to navigate returning to school in a new COVID-19 world. 

Belonging to a community brings with it a sense of purpose, healing and a shared responsibility to support each other through difficult times. If we commit ourselves to safeguard the health of our community by following ASU and CDC guidelines for testing, using the ASU Health Check daily, wearing masks and social-distancing, we will protect each other and contribute to a year with a common purpose. 

Five opportunities

With all that’s happening, it’s easy to forget the opportunities that come with the start of a new school year. In the spirit of optimism, here are five opportunities for the start of the fall semester you can take advantage of:

  1. Experience something new

    When you try new things, your brain responds in unique ways that stimulate creativity. Whether you are starting a new degree program, exploring new subjects in courses, meeting new professors or getting together with old and new friends, you’re bound to find a new sense of energy.
  2. Make a promise to yourself

    Pursuing an advanced degree is a personal and professional achievement that fulfills your own promise. A new school year can help you develop the grit and focus to stay determined, organized and follow-through, especially when the going gets tough.
  3. Make a fresh start

    A new school year is a year still to be written filled with new answers to be discovered, new strengths to grow and a chance to let go of last year’s disappointments. 
  4. Blaze a new trail

    Now is the time to start a new pathway toward meeting your goals. The start of the path can be daunting — but you also have the ability to break goals into manageable tasks. The goals provide you with clarity, a sense of purpose and meaning. 
  5. Become who you want to be

    Each new year is a conscious step toward becoming the person you want to be, both professionally and personally. Take advantage of the mentoring and professional development resources available to you to explore multiple career paths or embark on interdisciplinary research that will broaden your perspective.