A woman is sitting in front of a boulder smiling at the camera. She is wearing glasses and a red jacket and has curly blonde hair.

My name is Melissa, and I’m a PhD candidate in French literature. In my free time, I like hiking, biking, and reading novels. In my research, I work on narrative identity, and I’m particularly interested in how the stories we tell about ourselves impact our collective wellbeing. While I work in the realm of fiction and theory, my research has coloured how I think about the non-fiction issue of mental health. I know too many friends, colleagues and acquaintances whose graduate school experience has been defined by anxiety or inadequate support for mental illness.

I’m excited about AMHC because I believe that together we can make positive change on individual and institutional levels. My hope is that by sharing our own stories and recognizing ourselves in the stories of others, we can create an online community that reduces isolation and encourages graduate students everywhere to reach out, seek help, and promote policy change. Together we can challenge the unhealthy myths that are ingrained in academic culture, such as the belief in effortless perfection, or the belief that successful scholars work all the time.

I hope you’ll read along and consider contributing your own voice, even anonymously. Chances are that your experience will resonate with many other graduate students across disciplines and schools. The greater number of stories we share, the better AMHC can serve and advocate for all graduate students. Together we can work to make our universities supportive, nourishing spaces that bring out our best teaching and research.