The TCU Counseling Center set up the Graduate Student Support Group to assist graduate students with any issues or problems faced by the struggles of grad school, said Kristin McDonald, one of the leaders of the group.
The group, which began meeting last September, provides graduate students with help from both professionals and other students.
“We feel like the graduate students are what we call an ‘under-served population,’ which means that we don’t have a lot of programs for them,” said McDonald, who is a psychologist and counselor at the Counseling Center. “We thought it would be helpful to offer something for them.”
In an open, informal meeting, the students discuss what is going on in both their academic and personal lives. The group is professionally led, but student suggestions and ideas are welcome, said McDonald.
“A lot of times the students will have similar experiences, so they can give feedback to each other about how they handled the situations,” McDonald said. “It’s always helpful just to have somebody to listen to you.”
McDonald co-leads the Graduate Student Support Group with Amanda Swartz, a Counseling Center employee. McDonald and Swartz said they bring experiences and solutions to the group as former graduate students.
“If you ask anyone who has a Ph.D. or Master’s degree, most will admit that it was at times a very lonely experience,” Dr. Linda Wolszon, the director of counseling at the Counseling Center, said. “The group support provides motivation and encouragement for the journey. It is like the cheering crowd as you finish the last mile of a marathon.”
Due to the confidentiality of the group and the sensitive nature of the topics discussed, the members of the group have elected not to comment for this article.
The Graduate Student Support Group meets every Thursday from 10:30 a.m. until noon and provides confidential assistance for any graduate students. For more information on the group or how to join, call the TCU Counseling Centerat (817) 257-7863.