Name One Thing with Dr. Jeanne Stanley | Advice for graduate students from those who’ve been there.

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Name One Thing: Advice for graduate students from those who’ve been there.

Welcome to Name One Thing the interview series where I do exclusive interviews with academics, researchers, postdocs, and other professionals to discover what they wished they’d known in grad. school. Today’s guest is Dr. Jeanne Stanley, a licensed psychologist, CEO, and author who has served as a graduate school administrator, coached current and aspiring graduate students, and created the Belonging and Sociocultural Identities Training (BASIS Series) for training and development in education. She’s joined me to talk about how perspective shifts during graduate school, how graduate school advisors can better support the modern graduate student, and how students and administrators can better support transgender college students.

Dr. Jeanne L. Stanley (she/her)

Name One Thing Placeholder for Photo of Dr. Jeanne Stanley. Photo not provided. Image shows nondescript basic icon of a graduate student in cap and gown.

Degree: Ph.D., Psychology
Current role: CEO – Watershed Counseling & Consultation Services
Find her at:

1) Name one thing you wish someone had told you when you were a graduate student.

This is one of the rare times in your life that you are not expected to know all the answers. A great amount of your time in graduate school is for learning, embrace and enjoy this. I know, papers, exams, and dissertations “test” you on what you have learned and that can be stressful. But do not let being “tested” mean that you do not enjoy learning. I talk with my graduate school coaching clients about the “2 am tell.” It’s 2 in the morning, and you have been reading, writing, and studying – it’s late and you are exhausted, yet still, a small grin comes across your face because you actually enjoy learning in the area of study that is important and meaningful to you. That feeling will take you far in your success in graduate school.

2) Dr. Stanley, you’ve directed three master’s programs and have extensive experience in supporting transgender gender diverse (TGD) students in schools. Name one thing you wish graduate students knew about supporting their TGD colleagues.

Transgender gender diverse (TGD) students, just like cisgender students, attend graduate school to learn and grow and deserve all the opportunities to do just that. You can support colleagues by working to eliminate barriers for TGD graduate students by speaking up and through your actions. For example, advocate for gender-neutral restrooms across campus or share your pronouns when introducing yourself in a new class. TGD students may or may not choose to share their pronouns, but by sharing yours, it lets others know if they like, they may share theirs too. Use gender-neutral language when referring to people you do not know or when referring to groups of people. For example, instead of “ladies and gentlemen” use words such as “colleagues.”

3) Having seen graduate school from the administrative side and the student side (being one and coaching them), name one thing you wish more faculty would do when mentoring graduate students in general and TGD students in particular.

Mentoring happens on both the micro and macro levels of our work in academia. On the micro-level, an openness and willingness to engage in ongoing learning and growth is essential. Knowledge, skill building, and familiarity with resources as well as working to understand generational shifts are key. Do not assume what worked in the past will automatically be useful in your mentoring of graduate students today. On the macro-level, engaging in strong leadership on your part makes it clear your program/department/school/university supports all graduate students of various sociocultural identities, including TGD students, alum, staff, and faculty. Your efforts in policy decisions, hiring, support for new courses, speaker series, etc. benefit strongly from having the needs of TGD people taken into account and supported. For academic mentors to do this well, we need to stay current by attending workshops, professional development seminars, conference talks, university workshops, as well as reading articles/books related to supporting and affirming TGD individuals. To assist in this, I provide a free TGD Resource Guide that is updated throughout the year and has an index to assist you in accessing information in general or specific to supporting TGD individuals in your work.

Thank you Dr. Stanley for sharing your perspective on how the student mindset shifts in graduate school, mentoring graduate students in the modern age, and the ways in which students and administrators can better support their transgender colleagues! We appreciate it!

Wishing You All the Best in Your Academic Success.
Dr. Cristie Glasheen, Your Graduate Student Success Coach.

Interview Disclaimer

We aim to share diverse perspectives and experiences. The views, opinions, and experiences shared by our guests in this interview series are solely their own. Their participation is not an endorsement of our services, products, or views, nor does it imply an endorsement of their services, products, or views by us.