Essential resources for your first week as a graduate student

Essential resources for your first week as a graduate student


While the experience of being a graduate student is varied and unique, there are common phenomena that most, if not all, graduate students will encounter after enrolling in a new program. Here are tips to help you acclimate and have a great first week!

Coping with overwhelm

You may feel disoriented and overstimulated by all the simultaneous changes when starting a program, which is understandable! Make sure to create stabilizing self-care routines and stress-management activities that you can do for 15 minutes. Examples include physical activities (cardio, yoga, body weight exercises) and mindfulness activities such as box breathing or meditation. Find what works for you and commit to daily practice. Search the Sun Devil Fitness Center webpage for ideas.

Tackling loneliness 

If you have relocated to ASU from another city, region or country, you may feel homesick for family, friends or even your favorite cuisine. Loneliness isn't anything to be ashamed of; it's a testament to the strength of your relationships from your place of origin. Luckily, forming new connections at ASU will make managing those feelings easier. You can search for great opportunities through the Graduate and Professional Students Association and other student organizations in Sun Devil Sync

Pressed for time 

Graduate school is challenging by design. You may have expected (and even welcomed) to challenge your understanding of your field, but now you may need a more relaxed course load and work schedule. To alleviate some of the burden, determine which time management strategy will work best for you. 

Impostor syndrome 

At a meeting with other students in your program during orientation or an initial course meeting, your inner voice may ask, “Am I supposed to be here? These other students seem a lot smarter, experienced and successful.” You may experience this and other signs of impostor syndrome. Some estimates state that 70% of graduate students will experience this phenomenon in school. Understand that you are not alone and there are evidence-based practices to overcome impostor syndrome.

Struggling with academic expectations

As a new graduate student, you should feel challenged by performance expectations in your coursework and research; adjusting to a new standard regarding the quality and volume of your reading and writing assignments is essential. ASU has resources to help you manage learning curves so your work remains a healthy challenge rather than a struggle. The ASU Academic Support Network offers tutors and workshops to make the transition to graduate-level work seamless.


Edited by Marjani Hawkins