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Being a grad student can get overwhelming—this is why the GSS offers Peer Support, which connects students in need of support, information, resources, and representation with Peer Support Specialists.

Peer Support Specialists are graduate students who provide confidential assistance to individual fellow graduate students experiencing difficulties. They provide relevant information on and facilitate access to university resources, and work with you to ensure that your concerns are addressed fairly and in a timely manner.

Peer Support Specialists offer support for issues like:

  • Housing
  • Personal Issues
  • Funding
  • Debt
  • Academics
  • Supervision

Contact a Peer Support Specialist with your concern at advocacy@gss.ubc.ca

Common Areas of Support

Housing

Comfortable, safe, and reliable housing is an essential aspect of graduate students’ health and well-being. Unfortunately, students often face challenges, including unsatisfactory living conditions, stringent eligibility for housing, and discrimination in residence. Our GSS Advocates are available to help you navigate your housing options to help you feel at home on campus.

Funding

Financial funding is essential for many students’ survival during graduate school. Certain requirements can make accessing these invaluable funds confusing and challenging. Funding that is tied to research and/or teaching assistantships, for example, can become difficult when supervisory relationships become strained. We will aim to learn about the unique challenges you are facing and connect you with available resources to navigate this difficult situation.

Personal Issues

Adjusting to graduate student life is hard. You might be struggling with a large workload, feelings of isolation, or lack of direction. At the GSS, we want to ensure that you are able to fully attend to your mental health and well-being during your time at UBC. We will work with you and support you in connecting with various health-promoting resources on campus.

Debt

It is not uncommon for students to accrue debt in order to fund their graduate education. Students often find this financial position to be overwhelming, leading to a host of concerns that negatively impact their well-being. In addition to informing you of the financial supports that might be available to you through the GSS and the University, our GSS Advocates will also help you attend to the stressors associated with financial instability.

Academics

Graduate school is challenging. Academic expectations can become quite burdensome and are often amplified by unclear or unknown university operations. If you are struggling with any academic-related issue, including but not limited to plagiarism, grade appeals, or academic concessions, please reach out to our GSS Advocates. After learning the nature of your concern, we will work with you and advocate for your right to a just and equitable education.

Supervision

Your relationship with your graduate supervisors can significantly affect your experience during your graduate education. Discrepant expectations, interpersonal conflicts, and supervisor inattentiveness can make this power-laden relationship challenging and frustrating. We will meet with you to learn about your unique supervisory concerns and will advocate for your needs as a graduate student.

“We are a community of one. We help each other. We support each other. We care for each other.”

—Jean De Costa

Jean De Costa is the Dean of Students at California Polytechnic State University, CA, USA.  He is also the head of the Peer Understanding Listening Support Education Program (PULSE) health education program. This program is a nationally (USA) awarded Peer Health Education Program that supports the health and wellbeing of student at said institution. As far we know, the author is of sound character and does not present or represent any conflicting views of that of the GSS’s.

Study Room, Thea Koerner House, UBC

GSS Loft, Rm. 4202 of AMS Student Nest, UBC

Leon’s Lounge, Thea Koerner House, UBC

Thea’s Lounge, Thea Koerner House, UBC

Penthouse, Thea Koerner House, UBC