Things that Can Go “Wrong”: Finding Our Own Way in Graduate School

03 March 2022, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


Graduate school was not designed for most of us. Students from marginalized backgrounds (BIPOC, LGBTQ+, certain socioeconomic backgrounds, those with disabilities) are less likely to have information about graduate school and academia, making them more likely to face challenges in navigating gatekeeping and moving through program requirements. While facing these obstacles, it might feel like something has gone “wrong.” This chapter challenges that framing and guides how to make choices when: changing your dissertation, subfield(s), and advisor; transferring programs; working additional jobs; taking a leave of absence; and caring for your mental health. This manuscript is part of Strategies for Navigating Graduate School and Beyond, a forthcoming volume for those interested in pursuing graduate education in political science (Fall 2022 publication).


Strategies for Grad School


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