ACCUTE conference

Annual Graduate Student Caucus Roundtable: “Self-Care and Precarity”

Editor’s note: ACCUTE is gearing up for Congress 2017! We proudly present the next installment in a series of blog posts highlighting special sessions in ACCUTE’s program at Congress 2017. Today we hear from the ACCUTE Graduate Student Caucus, which will be hosting an important panel on self-care and precarity.

How many times have you found yourself discussing hours slept, pages written, or coffees consumed with fellow graduate students? Does it feel like a competition, somehow? How many of these times have you left feeling overwhelmed, inadequate, or more anxious than before? Most articles about graduate students and mental health include staggering statistics, like “[a]bout 60% of graduate students said that they felt overwhelmed, exhausted, hopeless, sad, or depressed nearly all the time. One in 10 said they had contemplated suicide in the previous year” (Arnold). Furthermore, as Margeaux Feldman explains, “academia requires maintaining a vow of silence as you fight to live in this Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest.’” Academia privileges and rewards busyness and mental labour, and suffering is almost a rite of passage in graduate school, but these structures are “mute when it comes to the question of the emotional labour that these acts of mental and intellectual rigour entail” (Feldman). As such, there has been a real push for graduate students to reclaim “being human.” But how do we “be human” within these structures? How do we, as graduate students, take care of ourselves? How do we provide self-care and create an environment where discussing self-care isn’t taboo or seen as a weakness? This roundtable has been put together so that we can learn from each other and break down some of the walls that academia has built around mental health. Panelists at this roundtable will discuss mental health, graduate studies, and may offer self-care advice.

Organizer and Chair: Kala Hirtle (Dalhousie), ACCUTE GSC President


  • Margeaux Feldman (Toronto)
  • Katherine Shwetz (Toronto)
  • Jenna Lee Forde (York)
  • Lai-Tze Fan (Concordia)

This panel will be held on Sunday, May 28, 2017 from 1:45 pm-3:15 pm, in
Victoria 302 at Ryerson University

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