Graduate School: Overcoming Barriers to Success

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Graduate School: Overcoming Barriers to Success
Kasey Kiesler
September 24, 2012
Professor Brenda Harton

Graduate School: Overcoming Barriers to Success
The decision to attend graduate school can be one of immense commitment and responsibility. Success requires rigorous planning and well-defined goals, both short-term and long-term. Exceptional communication skills are also necessary to interact effectively with fellow classmates and faculty. Although completion of a Master’s program opens doors to many professional career opportunities, it does not come without challenges. One also must have several strategies in place for dealing with these challenges when they arise.
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Keeping a personal schedule or calendar can assist in prioritizing important dates, deadlines, and goals (Martinez Tucker, 2002). Asking for assistance from friends, family, and neighbors can also provide support. Finally, engaging in various stress relieving activities may prevent students from feeling overwhelmed.
Another obstacle that threatens success is health and emotional issues present prior to attending school. Fogg (2009) reveals that graduate school has a reputation for triggering and amplifying depression and mental illness, especially in those already afflicted by mental health issues. Depression may prevent the individual from fully engaging in discussions, completing assignments or even reaching one’s full potential. Strategies to overcome these obstacles include complying with prescribed mental health medications, seeking support from the university’s free resource center, and focusing on self-care activities.
Improving Communication Skills
Within the graduate school setting, strong communication skills are vital when interacting with classmates and faculty. Perfecting communication skills in the classroom setting prepares students to communicate effectively with fellow colleagues and professionals (Fisher & Zigmond, 1996). An essential strategy to improve one’s communication skills lies in the ability to be an excellent listener. Klein (2009) asserts that effective listening involves more concentration and focus than any
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