Addressing Graduate Students’ Feelings of Stress

This Friday, Dr. Robert Deluty (UMBC’s Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Associate Professor of Psychology) will talk with graduate students about stress. This is an important seminar that is back by popular demand. Each year, following the seminar, students have said that their stress was reduced, that they felt that anxiety had been reduced, and that they were given encouragement to continue to press forward.
Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
UMBC Campus
Public Policy Building, Room 206
This seminar is for all graduate students, at all levels. We will be serving coffee, tea, fruit, and cookies. Please plan to attend. Graduate students who attend any school within the University System of Maryland are invited attend.
UMBC students:  RSVP here:
If you are from another school in the USM and can’t access the link above, you may RSVP with a comment to this post. This post will also appear on our PROMISE AGEP Facebook page.
Special note: Dr. Deluty generously provided some of the resources that we used for our research when we wrote the PROMISE AGEP-T grant proposal to the National Science Foundation for our current round of funding. His insight was instrumental with respect to our studies on providing community and outlets for good mental health. 

Published by Renetta Garrison Tull

Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull is the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at the University of California Davis. She previously served as Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at The Graduate School at UMBC, and was Professor of the Practice in the College of Engineering & IT. She was Special Assistant to the Sr. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Director of Graduate and Professional Pipeline Development for the University System of Maryland (12 institutions). She is the Founding Director of PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) –, and Co-PI for the USM LSAMP. Her research on global diversity in STEM continues, and she is an international speaker, covering nearly all continents, for groups and conferences such as the World Engineering Education Forum, the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, and the Pacific Sciences Congress. Her personal website is: Connect with her on Twitter: @Renetta_Tull;

4 thoughts on “Addressing Graduate Students’ Feelings of Stress

  1. Cherre Jefferson
    Applied Mathematics
    This talk particularly hit home for me. It was pertaining to dealing with the different stressors of graduate school, and introducing us to different coping methods when these situations would arise. I was able to get advice on books to read to handle my stress and anxiety as well as advice on how to deal with not so welcoming professors. One thing that really caught my attention was when the speaker talked about the power behind helping someone feel competent. This comment opened my eyes to a lot of what my stress from this semester stemed from… not feeling competent. I find myself beating myself up after exams or while trying to complete difficult homework assignments. This talk was like a breath of fresh air because not only did it help me confront my problems but it also showed me that I am not the only one going through these grad school complications.


  2. This talk was very helpful for me. One word that I learned in this seminar was the word “catastrophize” — i.e. perceiving small unpleasant occurrences as catastrophes. Listening to Dr. Deluty’s talk, I realized that I tend to “catastrophize” every little unpleasant thing that occurs, especially in this first semester graduate school. Dr. Deluty really demonstrated to us how detrimental this mindset can be to one’s success. His talked definitely helped me reflect on how I had been perceiving things, and accept the fact that every time an experiment doesn’t work or a presentation doesn’t go well, it’s not the end of the world! Also, it was nice to be around a smaller section of the graduate student community and see that everyone from new graduate students to those who are well into their programs still experience stress, time management problems, etc. Overall, this seminar gave me a bit more perspective by allowing me to take a step back, laugh at myself a bit, and think of ways to view the situations I find myself in in a more positive way.


  3. This talk given by Dr. Robert Deluty, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the Graduate School, and also an accomplished clinical psychologist is one of my favorite recurring talks at UMBC. Dr. Deluty is engaging and energetic as a speaker and somehow manages to make a talk on dealing with stress upbeat and positive.
    Dr. Deluty warned students that often times cognitive distractions over schoolwork can lead to anger which in turns causes stress. He cautioned students about “catastrophizing” problems, basically blowing up issues and challenges that are minor into huge, un-reversal issues. Students also have a tendency to see things in black and white. Sometimes we just have to accept not being able to please everyone. One of the major causes of stress is not feeling competent though. The only way to overcome that is to be honest about your abilities and work on deficiencies.

    Source – William Easly MS Human Centered Computing- Information Systems


  4. I was very happy with Dr Deluty’s presentation about stress, in particular the way that he addressed it. I was expecting a self-help “5 steps to reduce stress”, but what I got was a big picture look at happiness and misery, the expectations that society has for us, and the expectations that we have for ourselves. I thought that the talk was very realistic, and I agree with Dr Deluty’s sentiments about not everyone is going to earn a 4.0 gpa. My take-away from the presentation was that we should each find our own path that results in a “4.0”. That is, maybe not everyone will earn a 4.0 gpa, but it’s possible to earn a “4.0 gpa” in projects, or using interpersonal/intrapersonal skills to create a “4.0 gpa” environment in which colleagues are able excel in the lab. The bottom line: knowing your strengths and limits will allow you to create realistic, attainable goals that will result in higher self-esteem, higher competence, and reduced stress.


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