Coping with Academic Life

Grad Students

Grad school and academic life impose their own significant challenges. I know. I’ve got two Masters degrees so I’ve been through the drill. I also have a spouse that is a professor, so I have an insider’s view of the “academy” side of this experience.

student academic life therapy page rutledgeStudents grapple with issues like imposter syndrome, procrastination, perfectionism, comparisons to others, and juggling time/financial/social demands.

Some of you are managing a family as well, in addition to a necessary job. Then there is your committee, your thesis project, and the relationship with your advisor to consider.

The demands of academic life are real and pressing.

One other concern I frequently hear expressed is a pervasive existential worry about your future. Will my chosen field will be fruitful—both personally and financially?

Finding a path that navigates both passion and financial reality is a worthwhile goal.


Undergrads also deal with stressors, anxiety, exhaustion, and emotional issues. Sometimes these stresses can become overwhelming, and impact your academic and social life. It’s hard to be successful when you are stressed out.

Whether it is adapting to university life, dealing with separation from your family, the pressures of adulthood, or adapting to the rigors of academic lifestyle, we all need a network of support.

The healthiest people I meet are the ones who decided to utilize counseling services at some point in their lives.

I’m as biased as can be, for sure, but I remain puzzled by implied societal criticisms and self-imposed shame around seeking help when you need it. Most who see me find they feel better and have a calmer perspective about any or all of these worries, and generally this feeling comes about in the first few sessions.

student academic life page rutledge therapy

Male Students, too

As an aside, I want to give a special shout out to the men out there.

Men can feel dismissed as weak when they talk about their mental health. Sometimes you feel like those in hearing range back off or tune out—as if they fear your “feelings” might be contagious.

Talking about it is a lot better than stewing about it. And you don’t have to know how to fix everything.

Talking it out with a caring listener who asks you the right questions to cope with academic life really does help.

Let’s tackle your stresses together.