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Three Pieces of Advice for New Graduate Students

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There’s no shortage of advice for graduate students — whether you need practical guidance on how to choose your classes or more personalized tips for managing stress. But there are some aspects of earning a graduate degree that only someone who's been there can truly understand. 

If you’re looking for words of wisdom about becoming a successful graduate student at Bastyr, here are three pieces of advice from one of our students:


This is your journey. 

You are choosing to be here, so be here. It’s easy to get caught up, to compare, to assess your worth based off your colleagues. Almost too many times did I notice myself getting frustrated for not doing as well as another student on a biochem exam or not having the same level of enthusiasm toward a modality. I would question myself, “Am I worthy of being here? Am I smart enough or talented enough?” These thoughts plagued my mind and little did I realize, most of my colleagues were also feeling this way. And that’s when I remembered a piece of advice – learn your strengths and weaknesses. When you know where you excel and where you struggle, you know when to help and when to ask for help. 

  • Remember we all have a common goal – to promote the well-being and health of each individual via mind, body, and soul.  
  • Remember you are a gift, you have gifts, and they are unique to you.  
  • And lastly, remember, stay in alignment with who you are, it will carry you through this journey and every journey forward. 

We are human, we are prone to insufficiencies, and imperfections make us us.


Financials are scary AND inevitable. 

Yup, the over-lingering stress of finances are undeniable and prominent. Most of the students are in the same boat ~ made of federally funded money barely keeping you afloat. But what can you do! If this is your passion, remind yourself of the fragility of life – will you let the inescapability of financials take away your today? There will be days you want to say yes (so normal), but how much is money worth when your passions are stripped, and your soul is not being fulfilled?  


Don’t be overly consumed in school. It is a part of you, not the whole of you. 

You will burn out, you will become unmotivated, you will be overwhelmed. It’s like if you loooove chocolate cake: you eat a slice, and then another, and then another; next thing you know, the whole thing is gone – how do you feel now? Satisfied? Or like Bruce from Matilda, nauseated and never wanting it again? But in increments, oooh, who doesn’t love themselves a nice slice of chocolatey, decadent goodness? Yeah, sometimes we have to eat that second slice (like pulling all-nighter for a gross lab exam) but happens in moderation. Moral of the story – don’t lose yourself. Because that partially dismantles advice #1 and we just can’t have that happening. Even when taking 30+ credits a quarter, you still have a life. Don’t forget that. Don’t forget to checkup on your mom. Or dad. Or hamster. They love you and they are a permanence in your life.  

By Ciara Lumaj, Bastyr student


Written by Bastyr

Bastyr University's academic and research programs have received international recognition for pioneering work in science-based natural medicine. We offer a learning environment that fosters serious inquiry, professional dedication and lifelong relationships. Your career begins here, where comprehensive training makes the difference.