‘I’m Going to Need a Lot of Therapy for This Someday:’ Finding Your ‘Grit’ in Graduate School During COVID

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Completing a social work graduate degree can be an exciting and a challenging time for students, but the addition of a global pandemic is likely impacting their educational experiences. Using a modified version of Photovoice, a photography-based research methodology, and reflection essays, this exploratory study sought to elevate the voices of graduate students’ (N = 16) perspective on learning during COVID in an American university. Findings from the qualitative analyses of the photographs and their captions and the reflective essays suggested that many students realized their inner strength by persevering when life got very hard. Themes from these analyses were slightly more positive (i.e. support from others; developing coping strategies; improved graduate experience) than negative (i.e. loneliness; emotional; being sick). Students’ viewpoint on learning during COVID provides insight into how instructors can develop creative pedagogies and support students as they persist in their pursuit of a social work degree.