UW Graduate School

August 18, 2016

Making the Most of Seasonal Transitions

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Greetings! How has your summer been? If it’s been like ours, there’s been some hard work, some good play, and continual reminders of why we do student affairs work in the Graduate School. Every time we have the privilege of talking with graduate students, we are in awe of your tenacity and creativity.

Some of you may be winding up summer quarter, some may be deep in research mode, others may just be getting started.  We at Core Programs just wanted to check-in and offer a few thoughts for making the remaining month before fall quarter work for you. What do you need most right now?  Is it a real break? Some play time? Some focused effort towards work? Some reflection about what’s ahead for the year?  Although the fall quarter is a little more than a month away, we thought we’d share some helpful tips to help you feel more prepared and ready to hit the ground running.

Set goals.  Make a list of goals that will address your interpersonal, wellness, intellectual, and professional needs.  Break your goals down into manageable tasks.  Deadlines can be self-imposed, but realistic.  Deadlines can also be external depending on whether you are applying for research funding, preparing for your qualifying exams, applying for a job, or ensuring that you block out time for self-care and relaxation.  Remain open to your goals and deadlines shifting, depending on your circumstances.  An individual development plan (IDP) can help you think through, and map out, your goals.

Write.  Maybe you’d like to start writing your thesis, plan to work on another dissertation chapter, or interested in revising that seminar paper so it’s publishable.  Get in the habit of doing structured, timed writing.  Set a goal to write for 30 minutes a day, or every other day, using a timer.  Choose a work space that will enhance your productivity.  For some, it’s the quiet of the library.  For others, it’s a bustling café.  Turn off your web browser and phone (unless you need your phone because of family or work-related responsibilities).  Also, it’s helpful to reach out to peers and have a writing partner or two.  Rely on one another to keep each other accountable to your work.  Here are more general writing resources.

Grow your networks.  Get an early start on your career development and network with professionals in academic, non-profit, private, or governmental sectors.  Your chances of finding, or getting, the job you want increase when you develop and sustain connections with industry professionals.  One strategy is to join LinkedIn (check out this tutorial, if you haven’t joined).  Use its search engine to look up individuals by job title or industry.  Peruse profiles to get a sense of how individuals describe their work, tasks and responsibilities, previous work experience, and the verbiage of their field.  Message individuals whose careers, companies, or industries pique your interest and set up an informational interview.

Find some space to release, reflect, or rejuvenate. While summer is busy for many of us, it also does offer more spaciousness as email inboxes are lighter and the sun is shining high.  Take some time for yourself – alone or with friends – to do something that is solely for you. Set yourself up for fall quarter by “filling your tank” with energy you can draw on as the months ahead get ever more full.  Perhaps start some refreshing habits that could keep you going into the fall.

We hope you find these tips useful as you prepare for the coming year.  As we get closer to the start of the fall quarter, we’ll be announcing an assortment of tri-campus welcome events, career-related programming, and more!  So stay tuned to this newsletter.

And let us know what you are up to!  #UWGradSuccess on Twitter or Instagram, or check out our Core Programs Facebook page.


Kelly, Jaye, Ziyan
Core Programs Team
UW Graduate School