Being a graduate student is different from being an undergraduate student.
Some students earning master’s degrees balance school with full-time jobs. Others are also caring for families. And others may be immersed in accelerated programs in which they can earn a degree in one year of additional study instead of two. Finding balance and feeling connected to the Adelphi community, including fellow graduate students, can be difficult. Adelphi’s Graduate Student Council (GSC) aims to provide graduate students with opportunities and encourages them to connect with one another and feel part of the Adelphi community.
Students can turn to the GSC for academic support, such as getting study tips during finals. The GSC helps them get ready for post-graduation careers by assisting with résumé writing or partnering with the Office of Career and Professional Development to host a LinkedIn networking workshop.
The GSC also gets graduate students involved on campus. The organization distributes a monthly newsletter outlining activities and clubs that they can participate in, as well as community service opportunities. One such opportunity was the recent Random Acts of Kindness event, which was co-sponsored by the GSC, the Center for Student and Community Engagement (SCE) and the Student Government Association. Through their unified efforts, they were able to collect over 800 nonperishable food items for the Mary Brennan INN Soup Kitchen. “We want to give graduates a sense of belonging,” said the GSC’s current president, Helen Kouridakis ’20. “We want their lives to have balance.”
Kouridakis knows all about the hardships of balance. While getting her bachelor’s degree in natural sciences, Kouridakis was a student worker at the SCE. Now, while pursuing her graduate studies, she’s working there again as a graduate assistant, handling such tasks as tracking the progress of student organizations and ensuring that events are approved on the MyAULife page and follow University guidelines. “I wouldn’t have been the leader I am today without them,” she said when referring to her colleagues at SCE. “They pushed me to strive.” She was also the vice president of the Commuter Student Organization.
After taking a year off after graduation, Kouridakis returned to Adelphi in Fall 2021 to pursue a master’s degree in adolescent education with a concentration in biology. In addition to serving as GSC president, she’s working as an emergency medical technician (EMT). “I was very involved as an undergraduate,” she said. “I knew that if I came back to campus, I’d want to remain involved.”
Part of her responsibility as president is participating in executive leadership committees and brainstorming on what can be improved. One project that they’re currently working on is creating more parking spaces for graduate students. The GSC also takes feedback from graduate students and tries to implement it. For example, the council meets regularly with the Dining Advisory Committee to communicate students’ thoughts on meal plans and food options. “We aren’t just a council,” said Kouridakis, who hopes to be elected president again in Fall 2022. “We’re students too, so we understand students’ concerns.”