Friday, January 27, 2012

Saturday morning cartoon - Snoopy and Lucy

Here it is a day early... a short cartoon to give you a smile as you move through your work:

Cheering you on!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thank your mentor day!

Today is Thank Your Mentor Day!

Thanks for guiding, teaching, and encouraging me! With your help, I have aspired to and reached places that I had never imagined for myself. Thank you.

((send this post to your mentor(s)))

Photo by HLS

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tips for returning to school

This post is a repeat, however I'm posting it again for those who are just starting their programs, back to school after a long time away. The following tips are based on my own experience as well as that of colleagues in my PhD program and more recently, my own students.

A space of your own. Carve out a space at home, a desk or work area where you can leave your materials, so that you know where everything is, and can resume work without having to reorganize.

Determine an overall work schedule as to which days/evenings you will do homework and which you will not. Be intentional about carving out work time, rather than imagining you’ll fit it in when you have time. And this leads us to….

Take something off your plate. By committing to this master’s program you are taking on significant work that also requires time to think and reflect. Now is the time to make a shift: ask for help with responsibilities at home, put a hobby aside, say “no” to additional commitments, etc. You don’t need to give it all up, but something has to give, temporarily, to make room for this new gig.

Do something, anything, even when you think you can’t. Even though you have carved out your work times, there will be plenty of days/evenings when you had planned to work and feel too tired or distracted or whatever. Do something! Read the most accessible chapter, read half a chapter… do something, anything to get even a little work done and keep the momentum going.

Get to know your rhythm and honor it! Observe yourself in your first few weeks… what time of day/week do you most effectively read, reflect, write, work online? Get to know when you are at your best for the various kinds of work and then work strategically in those times. If you notice that you write best in the morning and read best in evening, honor that, and so on. Also, how long can you effectively read or write and what kinds of breaks best keep you going? Figure this out and do it.

When you are in the water, swim! Graduate students sometimes expend significant energy worrying about school, feeling guilty if they aren’t working etc. I believe this ultimately makes people less effective when they are working. When you are working, be present with it and try not to let thoughts about other responsibilities creep in. This is your time to work, honor that time – you deserve it and you will work more effectively. When you aren’t working, for whatever reason, don’t expend energy worrying or feeling guilty – be present to whatever responsibility you are dealing with, or if you are taking a break, take a break and enjoy it. You will return to your work refreshed and ready to be productive.

Step away from the desk. When you find yourself getting frustrated, not able to make sense of a reading or unable to write, perhaps your head is too full and the ideas need time to simmer. Take a break and perhaps you will gain clarity by giving yourself space.

If you get overwhelmed, break it down. If thinking about all the work that you will need to do for a course, or in the next month, or in the next week, feels overwhelming, focus on the next step. Sometimes it is helpful to break work down into small chunks – try to focus only on what you are working at the moment and get through that, and then on to the next chunk.

Take good care of yourself. While I encourage you to put something down (an extra area of responsibility, etc.), I’m also encouraging you to hold on to something that is good for your well-being. Exercise, meditation, walking – do something that will get your body moving and help you clear your head. Also, this sounds simple, but eat right (make sure to eat before class) and try to get enough sleep.

Get to know your faculty and advisor. These people are here because they love to teach and are committed to your growth and development. Great conversations await!

Have fun. Enough said.

Cheering you on!


Photo by HLS

Monday, January 16, 2012

School is hard...

I love this quote and think it applies to school as well as baseball!!!

“It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great.” -Manager Jimmy Dugan as played by Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Spring semester -- 3 tips for getting started

Whether you are returning to school after winter break or beginning a new program (and thus starting your first class), here are a few tips to help you get off to a good start:

1. Do you have a good work space? If you will be doing your school work at home, do you have a quiet place to work? If so, have you reduced the clutter? And can you leave your school materials there? Ideally, you have a dedicated work space, so that you can leave papers or books there and ready for you to pick up where you left off in a previous work session.

2. Have you asked for help? If you have a partner or kids, ask them to take on one of your household responsibilities to lighten your load and help you make room for school.

3. Do you have a good study buddy? I'm not talking about someone who will quiz you on the work, but rather, someone in your program or perhaps a friend who is also doing graduate work, with whom you can vent when things get stressful, problem-solve when you get stuck, and recognize even the small accomplishments? If you don't have someone like this in your life, look around your first classes and see if there is anyone you think you might connect with and if so, get to know that person.

Long-time readers -- any other ideas for starting the semester successfully?

Cheering you on,

Photo by HLS

Friday, January 6, 2012

Back from break -- welcome to the spring semester!

Hi All, I hope that you had a good break. Like many of you, I got some downtime but also had a lot of work to do (more on that in future posts). For now, here's a video that I find totally energizing -- I hope it gives you a good boost as you start the next semester:

All the best,

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