Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Well, what do you think?

What do you think of the blog redesign? If you like it, please let me know. And if you don't, I'd love some specific feedback -- is it the color, the layout, etc.?

Feedback wanted!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coming soon -- Encouragement Lounge Renovation!

Hi All,

Wanted to let you know that sometime in the next week or two you will see a change in the "look" of the Encouragement Lounge. I'm experimenting with new templates and will launch the redesigned E-Lounge very soon. Stay tuned!


Monday, March 29, 2010

APA style -- how to cite direct quotes

Hi All, This will be a refresher for is a recent APA blog post on how to cite direct quotations. The post reminds us of different approaches to setting up quotes:

Cheering you on in your work!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Re-energize! Finding energy for the short-term

You know that feeling....out of gas. You are tired. And yet, you need to find more energy. You are on deadline, you have work you need to get done. How do you re-energize?

Here are a few things that work for me:

1. Take a short walk

2. Call a friend

3. Watch a half-hour or an hour of TV (this works best if it's a show that I really like, spending that time with characters I know is easy on the brain). This doesn't get me revved- up physically, but it has been a way that I can give my brain a break which then lets me gear up for one more evening work session.

4. Work out

5. Help someone else with their work

How about you? What helps you get that energy boost that you need to keep working?

You can do it!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Intro to the experience of flow

Hi All, Are you familiar with the concept and experience of "flow"? This is when you are so immersed in an activity that you awareness and action blend, you are unaware of time passing, you are not self-conscious but rather completely present to what you are doing.

One of the elements that creates flow experience is that the activity is neither too easy nor too hard, there is a balance between one's capacity and the task at hand. I think this further illuminates the idea that yes, graduate school is challenging... this sometimes creates anxiety for students, but I also believe that if it were less challenging, it would be less engaging.

Here's an intro to FLOW, a concept developed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:

Cheering you on in your work,

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reading Tip -- Explain it!

Hi All,

Are you dealing with difficult reading... or something you want to understand more deeply? If so, one good strategy is to explain the reading to someone else. Talking through the reading with someone (a friend, partner, or family member) who isn't in your program of study can be particularly effective... explaining it to someone who doesn't have the same background as you will focus you on the basic elements first and then you can delve more deeply into the material.

Another strategy of course is to discuss the reading with someone from your class. Our classmates can be some of our most important colleagues on this school journey.

Good luck with the work!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What do you love about learning?

I spend a lot of time on this blog addressing the challenges that we face... not enough time, too much stress, writing difficulties, and so on.

So, tonight, I ask the question -- what do you love about learning?

To get the conversation going, here are a few things that I love about learning:

1. Feeling challenged intellectually.
2. Working with ideas creatively.
3. Finding theory and research that expands my understanding of the topics that most engage me (relational practice, mentoring, positive psychology, etc.).
4. Receiving feedback on my writing, and then anticipating that I can become a stronger writer.
5. The energy of working one-on-one with an inspirational professor or student.

What do you love about learning? Please respond via "comments" below!

All the best,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sunshine Award!

Big thanks to Sarita Rucker, a reader and frequent commenter here at The Encouragement Lounge for nominating me for a "sunshine award" -- a DIY blog community award. Sarita publishes her own blog, A College Girl's Days.

The rules of the award:

1) Place the award on your blog or within your post
2) Pass the award on to twelve Sunny Bloggers -- those whose positivity and creativity inspire others!
3) Link to the nominees in your post
4) Tell the nominees they've received the award by commenting on their blogs
5) Share the love and link to the person from whome you received the award

I'm going to nominate just a few other blogs... I read several, but these are the ones that fit the description "those whose positivity and creativity inspire others." I read a few that are political, etc.... and may not fit this description even though I think they are well-crafted. Anyway, here are a few blogs that add cheer to my day:

A Collection a Day -- I love this blog... it is purely visual... the blogger posts a photo a day of a collection, the photography is cool, the collections are fun, and it's just a quick quick study break! Thanks Lisa Congdon!

Stories from the Road -- This is a day-in-the-life blog written by my good friend Judi Mancuso. Judi writes about her experience with her lapband, life with her kids and husband, and a range of other every day observations. Judi is smart, has a wicked sense of humor, and great taste in music. Rock on Judi!

Prattlenog -- Melanie Booth is an educator in the northwest and a terrific colleague! We met online via blogging and went on to do a conference presentation together. Melanie's blog offers perspective, encouragement, and advice for adult students. She and I have frequently referenced each other's posts -- it's a wonderful online collaboration. Thanks Melanie!

So there you go, three blogs that often bring a smile to my day. Thanks again Sarita!!

Have a good day all!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Writing tip -- which vs. that

Hi Friends,

Confused over whether to use "which" or "that"? Here is a four-minute podcast from Grammar Girl, that will answer the question:

Good luck with the work!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday morning video - T-shirt war!

Hi Friends,

This is clever and fun! Hope it puts you in good cheer as you get to work!

Cheering you on!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New applications for your key strengths!

In the following brief video, Dr. Martin Seligman discusses the importance of applying our key strengths creatively, check it out:

Cheering you on!

P.S. The video listed above seems to not be working consistently. Here's an alternative in case that won't work:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Improve your presentations with "Presentation Zen"

Hi Friends,

If you are looking to improve your presentations, then Garr Reynolds is your go-to guy. His book "Presentation Zen" helped me improve my presentations significantly and this has served me well in my doctoral work and at conferences. Here is a link to his site, and a page with his top ten tips for creating more effective slides:

And for a useful (and fun-to-read book), pick up a copy of "Presentation Zen."

cheering you on in your work,

Sunday, March 7, 2010


"Improvisation can be either a last resort or an established way of evoking creativity."
-- Mary Catherine Bateson

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday morning video - Ok Go - This Too Shall Pass

Hi All,

Happy Spring Break for those of you on break.... and good luck with the work for the rest! Here's your Saturday morning cheer:

Be well,

Friday, March 5, 2010

A light post for a friday!

Hi All,

Special thanks to Jorge Cham, for the comic! You can subscribe to his academic-themed comic series at: PHD Comics. And thanks to TM for pointing me to Jorge's site in the first place!

Cheering you on!

credit: "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Motivation tip - ask key questions

Hi All,

I realize I'm posting frequently about motivation these days. I think that it is because for me, and many of my friends, students, and colleagues, this stretch of late winter is a tough time during which to stay motivated. We're well into the school year, some of us have been dealing with a lot of winter weather... by this time of year, it seems folks get tired and crave a break. So how do we stay motivated? Here are two questions in a short video that may help:

Cheering you on!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Stress management -- excellent resource on coping

Hi All,

Here is a terrific handout from the Graduate School at Michigan State University. You can skim this for quick tips, or read more closely for the details. This is good stuff!

Be well. Cheering you on!

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