Assmus: The problem with graduate student appreciation week

Thoughtful Considerations


Kushagra Gupta/Observer

A cubicle in the newly renovated Lillian F. & Milford J. Harris Library in the Mandel School of Social Sciences. Graduate students often have more work near the semester’s end.

This week is graduate student appreciation week at Case Western Reserve University, a week of planned events meant to celebrate the 5,860 graduate and professional students.

Plenty of emails have been sent out over the past few weeks about the various events going on throughout the week that are supposed to be fun for all graduate students. However as a graduate student, I personally do not think that this is the best time of year for this appreciation week and that the events are somewhat lackluster.

The first event was a pizza party on Monday night, something I could not attend because I work a part-time job every Monday night. Another big event was an alumni networking event that, although potentially beneficial, is not something I had time for because I had to work. It also seemed to me like it would take more energy rather than being a relaxing social event that I could enjoy and feel appreciated at.

Although events throughout the week are meant to bring graduate students together, it is difficult to fit these into my busy schedule and I would imagine it is the same for students in other graduate schools. When asked about these events, some of my classmates at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences agreed that they simply do not have time for these events. We have to complete final papers, projects and exams in the last short three weeks of the semester, in addition to finishing up the field hours we are required to do by April 22.

The finale of the week is a masquerade ball at the Great Lakes Science Center downtown. I would have loved to go to this, but I simply do not have the time when I am already volunteering all morning and work that night. My only opportunities to work are on the weekends and a few week nights. Some of my fellow students decided not to go because of the ticket prices and the fact that they have final projects to be working on this weekend.

Appreciation week for the graduate students is a great gesture, one that I truly do appreciate. However I feel that there should be more than simply a week of events that the graduate students being honored cannot attend. There is a larger number of graduate students at CWRU than the 4,911 undergraduate students on campus.

I suggest that these events be moved up a week earlier, when students are not as swamped with school work.

As an alternative, more events could be spread out and integrated with those that already occur during the year, such as the monthly graduate student happy hour at the Jolly Scholar.

Graduate students are already cramming. I propose that we don’t pack more into the week.

Abby Assmus is a graduate social work and bioethics student.