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Tools for Success

You were admitted to the OUHSC Graduate College because you have already shown the potential to succeed. Our Graduate Program Directors shared the following tips and resources to help you succeed in graduate school and prepare for the next stage of your career. 


Practice a growth mindset

  • Challenges and failure are part of research, and it's helpful to accept them as an opportunity to learn. 
  • It's okay to admit you don't know something and ask questions. 
  • Becoming a Resilient Scientist Series - a video series from the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education to help you build a growth mindset. You can go through the series on your own or with fellow trainees.


Take advantage of academic resources

  • If you are struggling in classes, seek help early! You can e-mail your instructors, schedule a meeting, or talk with them after class. Your graduate program director and research mentor are also good resources. 
  • OUHSC Writing Center - help with general writing skills as well as specific pieces of writing
  • OUHSC Robert M. Bird Library - help with literature searches, citations, and academic software
  • OUHSC Accessibility and Disability Resource Center - strives to ensure equal access for all students with disabilities, through an interactive process with the student. In higher education, it is your responsibility as a student to self-identify as an individual with a disability.


Plan your path

  • Talk with other graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty mentors to develop clear and realistic expectations for your experience as a graduate student.
  • Create an Individual Development Plan (IDP). Start with the myIDP tool and summarize your plan using the Graduate College IDP template. Check your progress and re-calibrate about every 6 months. 
  • Start exploring career options right away 
  • As you begin your research, work with your mentor to develop an overall plan for your experiments, publications, and grants


Stay connected

  • No one makes it through graduate school alone. Stay connected with at least one family member, friend, outside peer, partner, employer, etc. who can support and encourage you along the way.
  • Participating in a student group or volunteer activity can help you develop new skills, network with colleagues, and connect with the campus and local community. The Graduate Student Association and OUHSC Registered Student Organizations are good places to start your search. Also watch your e-mail for opportunities to get involved!
  • National Research Mentoring Network - connects graduate students and trainees with mentors across the country to help you work toward your professional development goals


Develop professional skills


Remember you are more than your degree - Tend to your mental health and wellness

  • Spend time doing things you enjoy away from graduate school, and keep in touch with people you care about.
  • Your training environment should be rigorous, but not a consistent source of stress. If your training environment is not a good fit, help is available
  • Work-life balance - resources from OUHSC Student Wellness
  • OUHSC Student Counseling Services - In person and telehealth sessions, group sessions, and coaching. If English is not your first language, individual counseling in other languages is available. Services are confidential. Most services covered by your student fees and have no additional cost.
  • OUHSC Employee Assistance Program (available for Graduate Assistants and other University employees) - professional and confidential help for you and members of your household. Includes up to 6 counseling sessions at no cost, per person, per incident