On a whim and while struggling with the challenge of finishing my doctoral dissertation, I purchased a flask with the following quote engraved on its leather sleeve: “The problem with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass.” I thought that was quite a hoot given my current state of mind and long-held belief that running could never be something I would enjoy. The notion of running for fun also contradicted my memories of eighth grade and running suicides in the Moore Junior High School gym.
Anyone who has had the chance to work in more than one psychology department – either as undergraduate, graduate, or faculty member – comes to realize that every workplace is different. There are different norms, different dress codes, different colleagues, and different leadership styles. But whatever work setting you end up in, you are guaranteed to find one strong commonality:
everyone is so busy.
And you will find this commonality immediately because everyone will want to tell you how busy they are.
Last month I gave a conference talk where I was one of several invited, keynote speakers. The audience was around 300 people, and I felt prepared, but a bit nervous. Giving talks like this are not necessarily new for me, but only a few times have I been featured in such a prominent role. Once I got going with the talk two things happened that I was unprepared for. First, there was a technical issue with my some of my PowerPoint slides where the words were misaligned on some of the figures. My guess is that whatever version of PowerPoint the conference was using must have been different from mine, which I didn’t notice until I was well into the talk. Second, I ended up getting through my talk much faster than anticipated. I was slotted for an hour and planned to talk 40 minutes and then take questions, but ended up only talking around 25 minutes. Questions did fill up the rest of the time, but still, it wasn’t what I planned, and I wondered if people would feel disappointed.
For Third-Year Students: This year is all about knowing when to plug in and when to unplug. With two years under your belt, you can not only identify your strengths but are also likely to be able to identify the people and places that make you stronger. Make this year about capitalizing on the connections you’ve made, and don’t forget to add a little something new along the way!
For Second-Year Students: One year into graduate school, you are likely to meet feelings of adjustment with recognition that you are (somehow) only getting busier. Here are some tips on how to manage your new-found groove while facing even newer challenges and tasks–you can do it! (View Part 1 of this series, dedicated to the first-year graduate school experience.)