We often joke about how tough, exhausting, and HARD grad life can be. So let’s pause and take a moment to help each other out and build a strong network of services and tips geared toward thriving, not just surviving grad life.
Remember: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
1. Free Walk-in Counselling Services
The UTGSU Health and Dental Plan Office produced a list of walk-in fee-free counselling agencies in central, east and west Toronto that get you help when you need it. Check out this list here: Free Walk-in Counselling Services.
Did you know that part of your UTGSU coverage includes the Psy-Vitaliti network? This network offers you the opportunity to speak to a psychologist via an online video-call in the comfort and privacy of your home. If you would rather speak to someone face-to-face, you can connect with a local licensed psychologist or practitioner with a Master’s degree in Social Work and be covered up to $500 per policy year.
3. Get Active
Trade in your laptop for a pair of running shoes and spend a couple of hours being active. The UTGSU runs a ton of free year-round programming all day for graduate students such as our recreational, intermediate and competitive volleyball league, singles and doubles badminton, and drop-in basketball out of our gym. Which is also conveniently located beside the Pub.
New this year, we also co-sponsor the Intramurals League with The School of Graduate Studies for hockey, dodgeball, water polo and ultimate frisbee fans.
4. Graduate Conflict Resolution Centre (G2G)
No one understands what you’re going through better than someone who is experiencing the same things you are. Talk to a current graduate student at The G2G who can encourage and support your experiences. There are 14 G2G Advisors available during daily drop-in hours. Want to schedule something in advance? You can also set up a one-on-one phone/Skype call or in-person appointment.
5. Peer to Peer Support
Join a graduate student group and stay connected to the community and conversations you love. The UTGSU has 9 service groups and 10 grad-focused Committees and Caucuses. Our mental-health focused Committee, Grad Minds, host weekly yoga sessions and run monthly and annual conferences and events. Stay tuned for their Open Minds Conference happening in March. 👀
Students at the Mississauga and Scarborough campuses should also reach out to the UTMAGS, GSAS and SBA communities for fantastic programming and socials every month.
6. Health & Wellness Centre
The Health and Wellness Centre offers weekly meditation moments to teach you how to maintain moment by moment awareness and an online workshop to strengthen your coping skills with day to day situations. On a monthly basis, they offer workshops on how to sleep properly when you’re feeling stressed, learning about practising restorative breathing and muscle tension reduction techniques, and a grief sharing circle to help you talk about how and what you’re feeling. There are also one-on-one graduate counselling services available through the School of Graduate Studies.
7. Learning Strategist
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with workload or just looking for some guidance to steer your academic path, make an appointment with a Learning Strategist. It’s never too late to learn how to new strategies to carve out a plan to balance and integrate your academic commitments and your personal goals.
8. Multi-Faith Centre
Did you know that the Multi-Faith Centre has 30 Elder counsellors available to speak to? If you’re looking for faith-based community events/workshops or counselling on campus, they are available to all University of Toronto students.
9. Voluntary Leave Of Absence
Applying for a voluntary leave of absence would allow you a one, two or three session leave that is not included in your time limit for completion of your degree. During your leave, you can also opt-in to the Supplementary Health and Dental services (during the Change of Coverage period) at the UTGSU Health and Dental Office to ensure no coverage interruption.
Before we go any further, save these two numbers in your phone (1) Good2talk is a 24/7 Post-Secondary Student Support Line (province) and (2) 1-866-925-5454 Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255. You never know when you or a friend might need someone anonymous to talk to. From having a stressful day with your family, peers or supervisor to experiencing suicidal thoughts due to financial or relationship issues, you can count on either of these numbers to be potential lifelines for you, a friend, or a family member. You are not alone.
Did we miss something? Let us know what else should be on this list by commenting on the article or sending us an emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your voice will help the UTGSU advocate for better, more diverse and accessible mental health services, improve existing programming, and add content to an upcoming School of Graduate Studies Mental Wellness resource portal for 2018!