Find Your Squad

A new semester is starting. If you have not yet, consider this the time to find your squad. In graduate school, more minds are better than one. They have to be the right folks, of course: smart, accountable, ready to work and collaborate, and someone you will enjoy spending time with. And remember that BOTH being the “teacher” and being the “taught” in any given interaction, have tremendous value to you.

I remain so very grateful to my squad during my doctoral studies. We divided up complex programming work for a course (when permitted) to knock out the work more efficiently. We would share code, teach each other, grapple verbally with complex concepts, and studied hard and frequently for our methodologic qualifying exam. It was more than the academic supports that we gave each other, of course. Graduate school can be isolating. Having others disclose their understanding gaps, celebrate your successes, and simply be there for a walk or a break, helps keep your entire mind-body ship afloat and sailing toward that PhD. I never would have learned epidemiology so deeply and clearly without them, nor enjoyed my time in doctoral studies, without my squad. I stay in touch with them to this day.

With deep gratitude to CHD, CA, and JL