"Ma vie en graduate school": Advice for future students and for student futures

Aspiring graduate students are advised become active in campus life, especially within their academic programs.

By Lavina Y. Ho

Graduate school marks a time for academic and personal growth, as graduate students are given greater responsibility and autonomy in deciding their future plans in addition to ultimately determining their unique career path. My greatest advice to future graduate student applicants is to keep an open mind and to take advantage of all the opportunities around them.

Future graduate applicants usually have a set of plans laid out, and in instances where these plans may not work out, students may often lose faith in themselves and ultimately, their aspirations. However, the most important lesson that I have learned thus far is that hard work will yield results, but only after continued determination.

While it may seem as if the delayed gratification of graduate education is often overwhelming, careers take unexpected turns and often result in a deeper understanding of the self and an individual's capabilities. What's important to remember is that the unexpected nature of life creates opportunities for personal and academic growth.

Graduate life simply never ends. Knowledge begets greater knowledge, and an understanding that graduate students never cease learning in multiple facets of their lives. I highly recommend that graduate students get involved in their campus life, especially within their academic program. As graduate students, we have the ability to facilitate positive change on campus as well as promote the mental welfare of underserved communities in psychology. Acting as role models on campus also inspires greater community change, promotes undergraduate students to perform at their optimum abilities, and ultimately, to pursue graduate education.

Lavina Y. Ho is an advanced student on scholarship in Penn State Harrisburg's (PSH) applied clinical psychology master's program. She is a teaching assistant, a research assistant and an officer and community leader in Psi Chi and the Applied Psychology Association of PSH.