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By Sean Graham
Over the past couple years, the issue of mental health within the academy has become, like mental health in all aspects of society, an increasingly visible issue. From public awareness to increased resources for grad students, there is a greater acknowledgement of the challenges associated with isolation, burn out, and maintaining a work-life balance. It wasn’t that long ago that I was a grad student and yet while I was working on a PhD I was completely oblivious to these issues.
About a year ago, I saw a Twitter thread from my friend Madeleine Kloske reflecting on time in grad school through the lens of maternity leave. I was a little taken aback when I read the thread because, despite being at the same school at the same time, our experiences were so different. Knowing that there are students still struggling with these issues, including students that I interact with regularly, I wanted to learn more about the environments that are created in higher education and how we can built better support systems.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with the great Madeleine Kloske about our grad school experiences. We talk about the grad school environment, managing stress, and promoting positive mental health within the academy. We also talk about strategies for grad students to manage their time, the need for work-life balance, and how to set up new grad students for success.
Sean Graham is a historian with Parks Canada, an Adjunct Professor at Carleton University, and a contributing editor with Activehistory.ca
Thank you for doing this episode. I’m a first year MA student and am experiencing a lot of the things that you talked about. I really listened to some of your tips as I have been thinking about how to overcome stresses like being able to just let go of work, for example this past weekend at Thanksgiving. I appreciated what you had to say