At times, graduate school might feel like a never-ending battle. In fighting with your dissertation, coursework, grading papers, and any attempt to have a life outside of graduate school, you may feel overwhelmed at times. You probably have some friends and family members who have been supportive, but unless they have been to graduate school, they probably have no idea how hard you really have to work. The only people who will truly be able to understand and empathize with what you are going through are your fellow war buddies, your grad school friends.
From the time you start to the time you end your graduate program, you should use your grad school friends for support. Additionally, let these peers use you for support when they are feeling particularly down. Having a set of core friends/supports within your program can be very helpful in many aspects. First, having friends in your program can give you someone to whom you can vent and complain, which can be very cathartic for graduate students. Additionally, you can use your friends in the program as accountability partners, which are people who can help hold you accountable for everything you need to get accomplished. Lastly, fellow graduate students can also be good social outlets. You will likely be spending more time with fellow students than with people from most of the other relationships in your life, so have fun with your grad school friends. Just because you’re a graduate student doesn’t mean you have to be serious 100% of the time; joking around and being silly from time to time never hurt anyone.
One way to easily meet new people in your program is to reach out to your cohorts, which are other students who will start the program at the same time that you will. Depending on your program, your cohorts will likely be the students with whom you will be spending most of your time in graduate school class. Reach out to these students to make some grad school friends, and try to get to know them better on personal and professional levels.