Going to school is an intense experience. I don’t say this from an attitude of “oh it must be so hard for students”, but from recent, direct knowledge. I was a non-traditional, later-in-life student who went back to college to pursue a doctoral degree. I went into this thinking I was prepared but was shocked at how many coping strategies I had to learn and re-learn. New skills included figuring out how to use an online educational platform (Blackboard, similar to Canvas) which was quite the challenge. I realized I had to do a little bit on a big project every day…stop working an hour before going to bed (didn’t usually make that goal)…eat well…exercise…whenever possible read ahead for a class…. I also created sacred spaces of time for family and personal rejuvenation.


These approaches helped me not just survive graduate school, but thrive. I found myself enjoying all the various aspects of being in the classroom and challenging myself to learn, grow, and change. I loved the scholarly exchanges with other students and the projects we developed. My mind seemed to soak up every bit of knowledge! I do have to admit, however, that I was seriously tested when I took two successive statistics classes. It felt like I had to become fluent Mandarin in a very short amount of time—my brain hurt. But I went to every office hour the professor had posted, got an extra TA job to be able to hire a tutor once a week, and found a study partner who was as confused and dedicated as I was.


Winter term is especially exciting for many students—it is either the term that solidifies the desire to continue on an educational path, or the term that signifies graduation really is approaching. I hope this Winter term is exciting and rewarding for you. Please know I am with you in spirit, and be sure to let me know how I can best support you as you fulfill your dream of education here at Marylhurst University!


Laura Beer