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  • A Month in Wellness with Katherine Hatcher

    Katherine Hatcher founded her blog and Instagram accout, "Grad Self-Care" in October 2018 as a way to share her story about health and wellness in graduate school. Through it, she connected with countless other graduate students from around the country who are working to find their own meaning of work-life balance. In her first post for the GradLIFE blog, Katherine shares with us her monthly wellness routine and tips for setting up and sticking to your own. 

  • Feel Like You're Drowning? The Counseling Center Can Help

    I’ve tried to start this blog post a dozen times, but every time, I get bogged down in the introduction. The thing is, for a lot of reasons and for a lot of people, it can be hard to talk about mental health. And that’s a problem because mental health is vital to our overall health and well-being as graduate students and people. But not talking about mental health can be incredibly isolating. This is especially the case when you are a graduate students experiencing severe anxiety, depression, or suicide ideation. It’s easy to feel like you are alone and no one is going to be able to understand what you are going through or be able to help you through to the other side.

    Let me start by saying, unequivocally, you are not alone. I know this because I’ve been there. With a lot of support and encouragement in the last year, I found helpful, supportive faces at the Counseling Center and at McKinley Health Center. These are just two of the resources available to you as a graduate student at Illinois, and for a lot of students, they are a good first step in the path to addressing and managing mental health problems and coping with the stress of life.

  • Where Are They Now?: Karen Barton

    Karen Barton graduated from the University of Illinois in 2013 with an M.S. in Library and Information Science and certificates in Community Informatics and Youth Services. She currently works at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio), where she is the Liaison to the School of Health Professions and Community Engagement Librarian. Karen is the single point of contact for library services for students, faculty, and staff for one of five schools within the institution and works on various campus and community engagement initiatives to promote library resources and services in support of education, research, and community health.

  • Where Are They Now?: Irisbel Guzman Sanchez

    Where can a graduate degree from the University of Illinois take you? In this series, we catch up with one recent Graduate College alum and ask the question: “Where are they now?”.

    Irisbel Guzman Sanchez graduated from the University of Illinois in 2015 with a PhD in Biochemistry. After graduation, she became a Presidential Management Fellow which led to a full-time position in Health Informatics for the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). She is currently a Health Science Specialist for the VA New England Healthcare System, where she analyzes data and develops new tools for decision-makers to better understand operational healthcare databases and analyses.

  • Stretching Your Imagination Can Help Keep You Physically Active

    It’s that time of the year when we start settling into the routine of the spring semester. The days are getting longer and so are the to-do lists. It’s about this time when many of us who made New Year physical activity resolutions start to give up. I want to urge you to be creative, flexible and forgiving when it comes to setting fitness goals.

    As a graduate student, your brain may be getting a good daily workout as you work toward your academic goals, but there are countless enjoyable and creative ways to build physical activity into your daily routine as well. One secret to success with any exercise plan – especially for those who find it difficult to stick with a traditional routine – is to stretch the imagination before stretching other body parts.

  • Day in the Life: Monica Chinea Diliz

    Hi, my name is Monica and I am a third year PhD student in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology. My research focus is molecular neuroscience and in particular my lab studies the RNA binding proteins involved in Fragile X Syndrome, the leading cause of inherited cognitive impairment.

    As a graduate student doing research in a laboratory, most days there is an ebb and flow that is primarily dictated by the experiments that are taking place. The stereotype of a scientist hunched over test tubes 24 hours a day does not represent the many ways that science actually unfolds. One of the most valuable things that I have learned thus far in my graduate career is that the time I spend thinking about science is nearly as critical as how much time I am putting in at the bench. It is also very important to cultivate habits that contribute to overall wellbeing outside of the lab.

    This is my first semester without taking any classes, which has freed up more time to focus on my research. Here is what a recent Monday looked like.