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Peer Advice: The Power of Perseverance

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So, you made it to graduate school. Congratulations, that’s amazing! Making it this far already says a lot about your determination and you should be proud.

As we go about the school year, you’ll experience a ton of great times and a lot of challenging ones as well. You’ll come to find that this is the nature of grad school–it’s not easy. But just because it can be hard, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! The most important thing is to keep going! To help, here are some of the things I’ve found that keep me focused and determined.

Get “Distracted” (Intentionally)

It may sound contradictory and that’s because it is, but for good reason. If your life consists entirely of school and you’re only ever doing assignments, studying, or practicing clinical skills, chances are you’ll run into burnout pretty quickly. And believe me when I say, recovering from burnout is often a challenge itself.

My advice: go out with friends! Go on a walk, play a game, watch an episode of your favorite show, whatever it is that’s going to help take your mind off of school and get you recharged. You’ll find that in the long run, you’ll be thanking yourself for these mini-breaks. Even though we are students, we’re not only students.

Photo of SCCO students at an arcade

Baby Steps and Small Victories

This even applies to things outside of school, but I’ve found portioning out study time into manageable chunks has greatly increased my productivity by making it easier for me to start studying and keep studying.

My advice: give yourself 10 mins of dedicated time for each subject you’d like to study, without distractions. Chances are once you’ve finished those 10 minutes, you’ll want to keep going. And even if you don’t, you accomplished 10 minutes of studying at the very least.

Accept Failure, not Defeat

Performing poorly on an exam, assignment, proficiency, or whatever it may be is likely at some point in our academic career. Our programs can be tough and that’s expected. But the University believes we are able to complete the curriculum, because we are!

My advice: don’t let a bad score define your capability! Do your best to figure out why you didn’t perform well. Whether that’s discussing with the professor (who is eager to help you), changing how you practice a skill or study, or even being candid with yourself if you didn’t study enough (I’ve definitely been there). It can be tough to move forward from this, but you are capable and you’ve got what it takes!

Plan Rewards

I don’t know about you, but I love rewards. And having a reward to look forward to is a huge motivator for me.

My advice: have something to look forward to in as many increments as you need! Whether that’s every day, week, month, etc. I like having a couple for each (like I’m playing a videogame), so if I finish a chunk of studying, I’ll grab boba at the end of the day. If I was productive throughout the week, I’ll plan a weekend trip with friends and so on.

As you continue navigating grad school, you’ll find the tips and tricks that help keep you going. The great thing about perseverance is that the motivation can be in anything or come from anywhere. If you’re able to harness what works for you, then you’ll be unstoppable!

Photo of SCCO students in the desert