Monthly Archives: September 2016

Your Bag of Apples | Set Realistic Goals

People who have the drive to get a PhD tend to be the people who try to pack 10 pounds of apples in a 5-pound bag. It can be tempting to carry that many apples, but sooner or later the bag will burst.

Grad students are super-high achievers. Taking on more research projects, saying “yes” to exciting opportunities, learning new skills, stretching in new directions. And doing everything extremely well. Meeting your own high standards and meeting the expectations of others. Each is an apple. Your bag gets more and more stretched.

Then it bursts!

If you are limited to those that fit into a 5-pound bag, how do you pick the best apples?

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Feedback for Continuation | Keep Doing the Right Things

“How am I doing?” Too often grad students have no idea how to answer this question. Am I doing well? Am I doing what I should be doing?

Most of the time, it is hard to be sure. We go through the day without much feedback. When we do get feedback, it usually emphasizes what is wrong. We learn what we should change and do differently.

But it is equally important to get feedback about what is going well. What should NOT change. What should continue. I call this “feedback for continuation.”

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