Presentation on theme: "2013 CRA-W Graduate Cohort Workshop Balancing Graduate School and Personal Life."— Presentation transcript:
2013 CRA-W Graduate Cohort Workshop Balancing Graduate School and Personal Life
A.J. Brush Senior Researcher Microsoft Research Thanks to Andrea Danyluk, Tiffani Williams (GHC 2011 on this topic), Padma Raghavan (GHC 2012 on this topic)
Everyones Definition of Professional-Personal Balance is Different Your definition must be unique to you and your situation. Without a definition or some type of guidance, how will you know you are out-of-balance? Being out of balance causes even more stress, etc.
Question #1: What does Graduate School and Personal Life Balance Mean to You? AKA I feel in balance when _______. I feel out of balance when ____.
Moved to St. Louis, 1 year leave from graduate school Human Computer Interaction
Returned to Graduate School Human Computer Interaction
Finished Ph.D., internships, had a kid, post-doc
Joined MSR in 2004, husband found job, had another kid
Question #1: What does Graduate School and Personal Life Balance Mean to You? AKA I feel in balance when _______. I feel out of balance when ____. Take a few minutes now to write down your answers
A.J. feels Balanced when I Minimize work in the evenings/weekends Spend time in my kids classrooms Exercise A.J. feels Un-Balanced: Email inbox gets large Too many meetings back to back 6 month/year professional goals arent well defined
Question #2: When do you feel in and out of balance?
Session Take-away Balance takes effort Can we each leave with 2 balance goals? Next week goal (short term) 6 month goal (longer term)
How we get out-of balance: General Academic Stresses The nature of grad school itself – Open-ended – What it means to complete a milestone more vague once course requirements complete – No obvious finishing date Were high achievers – We tend to be goal-oriented perfectionists – Theres always more to do – Can feel as if its a competition for who works the hardest We all have insecurities We cant manage an insane pace forever – Burnout, poor productivity Demands come from many directions
How we get out-of balance: Some Specific Academic Stresses Courses – Want to learn the material and to do well – Need to learn that sometimes doing well enough is ok Research – Might be a new experience – Requires a new level of independence and confidence (paper submissions, rejections….) – Need to push through the times when youre just stuck – Requires dealing with group dynamics – Requires learning from but also managing your advisor Advisor/Thesis Topic Service – Its fun (and easy!) to get involved in departmental and other service – Extra demands placed on women Work as a TA, RA, etc.
How we get out-of balance: Personal Stresses Many people in our lives (partners, parents, friends, children) – A source of happiness, but – Their stresses can be our stresses For many, a time for finding a partner, starting a family Managing finances on a grad student stipend Logistics of caring for a home (even a small shared apartment), a car, etc. Health issues
Achieving balance: Goals and Expectations Know your own goals – Prioritize them – Post them where you can see them, if needed Understand others expectations – Know which expectations are self-inflicted! Understand whats required to achieve a goal – Know why you want to achieve it – Be sure (to the extent possible) that its achievable – Know how to evaluate your progress – Talk to your mentors and others Learn to enjoy the process – Focus on the present – Appreciate your achievements before moving on
Tip 1: Time Management!!!!! Treat graduate school like a job – It doesnt need to be/shouldnt be 24 hrs/7 days a week Know when its time to stop – For many tasks, 1-hr increments work well – Keep the perfectionist in you under control Get organized – To-do lists: short, medium, and long term – Keep a calendar – Set aside time each day to review your schedule Avoid distractions – Make a list of your bad habits – Set aside quiet time; pick a time to work when others arent there – Set aside time for email – If a stray thought pops into your head, write it down. Save it for later. TIME SPENT != PRODUCTIVITY
Tip 2: Cope with Insecurities Seek out a support system – Mentors – Family and friends Realize that we all have insecurities Do your homework to minimize your chances of failing – But everyone will fail once in a while. Its a natural consequence of doing something hard. Learn to enjoy your successes – Dont belittle your own accomplishments – Keep a good file of positive feedback
Tip 3: Choose activities carefully Saying yes to one thing means saying no to something else – Or at least it means having less time for what youre already doing Take some time before you decide – Thanks for the invitation let me think it over and get back to you by X Does it fit your goals and priorities? Dont do anything out of guilt – Say yes or no to the task, not the person
Tip 4: Managing Others If you plan to say no to a request to take on a new responsibility – Do it as soon as possible – Suggest someone else who might be available and want to do it – If you really wish you could do it, say so; ask to be invited again Set boundaries, parameters – Explain why you believe it will take longer – Communicate about the resources you need What to do about the advisor, student (if youre a TA), fellow grad student who needs you now – Id be happy to talk/help you/etc. Can we schedule a time (in 5 min, an hour, next week….) do do that?
Tip 5: Making time for yourself Schedule time for yourself – Free time wont magically appear; you have to make it Exercise. Share responsibilities with friends Throw money at responsibilities (when you can afford it; can be tough as a grad student!) Streamline Dont apologize for the fact that you have a life outside of grad school!
Tip 6: Learn what motivates you! Figure out how you are motivated – Fear – e.g. sign up for half marathon – Big reward – trip/clothes/stuff – Publicity – tell all your friends – …. Use that to achieve your goals REWARD YOURSELF!