How do you feel when you go to a conference? Are you nervous? Overwhelmed? Personally I wonder if I’ll ever get to the point in my career where I feel at ease, looking forward to seeing colleagues from all over the nation I’ve collaborated with on projects.
My advisor runs a weekly breakfast club for his advisees, and with a national conference coming up in the next few months, we wanted advice on how to get the most out of conferences. He came up with a top 10, that I’ve organized and elaborated on below. I’ll expand on a few in my next post (Part II).
All of these tips fall under the category of preparing for your own success They should be done before the conference, and then acted upon. Make a game plan and you’ll return home feeling accomplished.
Click the pic or hit read more for all 3 tips.
TIP: Make sure you read the conference program before registration day, so you can plan ahead and make the most of it! Check out the conference website, too!
Re-evaluating your priorities is a good idea to do at least once a year, but can be especially helpful if you are feeling stale or stuck in a rut.
Orientation brings a tsunami of information crashing down on your head. Administrators and students acknowledge this fact in your meetings with a smile and joke. But by the end of the day, your pleasant expression has twisted and you'd prefer they get on with it.
But it's not their fault - what you really need is for the semester to fast forward a week or two. Diving into course material in class, instead of syllabus review. A routine for your schedule - problem sets due Fridays, lab reports due Wednesdays, happy hour on Thursdays.
Everything fitting in neat little boxes in your head, instead of the nebulous cloud of worry and the frantic feeling you're forgetting something.
To Be or Not To Be
In ninth grade English, one of our first assignments was to produce a book report without using the verb “to be” in any form. The purpose was to expand our vocabulary and make us actually think when we wrote (I think). It was hard, but it shaped how I approach writing. I would even say it helped me find my voice over the past decade.
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A past professor encouraged us to reformat our emails to busy supervisors. Often we start with pleasantries, and hide our true purpose for emailing in a body of text or at the bottom of the email. Get to the point with these templates.
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Transitioning from college to residency, I learned many workplace lessons that ended up being rather traumatic. Any infographic or article you see that lists the differences between Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millenials summarizes many of the challenges that twenty-somethings encounter in the workplace. While we use email and text as a go-to communication tool, more experienced colleagues and supervisors find it impersonal and possibly offensive to address certain topics via email. Similarly, being called in for a one-on-one meeting with your boss may throw a millennial in a tizzy. What did you do wrong? Why are you in trouble?
While everyone can benefit from understanding why and how these different generations function, that doesn’t mean everyone is going to assimilate. Learning how to construct an appropriate email is important. Learning when not to send an email may be even more important.
Email often lacks context, making it a challenging communication medium in general. When Baby Boomers and GenXers view email as impersonal and disconnected, the problem is compounded. As humans, we are programmed to consider facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, and our knowledge of the person. With email, we’re limited to the text in front of us and our knowledge of the person. Some consider TYPING IN ALL CAPS to denote excitement. For others, it’s angry.
Do you find yourself gossiping about a peer?
Is she a woman?
Would you say the same things about a male peer?
Gender bias is persistent on both sides of the gender aisle.
I first heard the term "stretch assignment" in undergrad from a lecturer discussing career development. She encouraged us to identify those opportunities that are a bit beyond our current skill set and comfort zone, and embrace them as an opportunity for growth.
Did you know that women are more likely to apply for a job only if they meet all of the listed qualifications? But men will apply even if that last few bullet points don't describe them. Once I read this statistic, my entire approach to growth transformed. Many of my peers, upon graduation with their Master degree, are job searching. For myself, I am preparing myself for doctoral training, and reflecting back upon these past 2 years. What projects would I like to spend my time on? How will it influence my training and career path?
Whether you are meeting your advisor for the first time, or are interested in revitalizing a placid relationship, these tips can help you not only make the most of your weekly meetings but improve your productivity and success as a graduate student.
Here's three possible scenarios.
In high school, there was a quick change from using Britannica encyclopedias in the library (media center, anyone?) or online, to the tempting world of Wikipedia. Every time we had a paper assigned, the teacher would call out after us when the bell rang, "Wikipedia doesn't count!"
Transitioning into college, Wikipedia became more...consistent? reliable? solid? Or at least gave off the appearance of such a resource. I used Wikipedia as a starting point (it is the first result on Google, after all...) and then use the keywords linked in the articles to find more "reputable" citations.
So do I still use Wikipedia?
Yeah, I do. In the same way I used it in college. Thinking back on it, I use it much less due to the nature of graduate work. I'm well-versed in the topics I study. My time is better spent analyzing newly published research than reviewing a disorganized article on the big W.
What's your earliest memory of Wikipedia? How does it fit into your normal research habits?
Keep on keepin' on