Summer is the perfect time to make room for activities and experiences that will help you be—and feel—prepared for the coming academic year! The pace can feel slower during this time of the year, and there’s a little more wiggle room to be intentional about visualizing and achieving your intellectual, professional, and interpersonal goals. Maybe you’re starting from scratch (or already have some initial goals) and just need a plan of action. Maybe you need some structured time and support to work on a writing project? Or maybe you’re interested in career development activities?
No matter where you’re at, below are some initial strategies that can help you create intentional space for productivity this summer!
Create a plan to meet your goals. As graduate students—and as whole people with complex lives—we know that completing your graduate degree is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to meeting your goals. And we know it takes time to reflect on the skills you already possess—and the academic, professional, and interpersonal competencies you’d like to develop in the future. Creating an Individual Development Plan (IDP) can help you map out realistic, achievable goals for your time in graduate school and beyond. Use your IDP as a roadmap for meeting with mentors and advisors. What’s great about an IDP is that you can adapt and revise as you see fit!
Make progress on your writing. Whether you are working on a thesis, dissertation, or an article for publication, set achievable and concrete writing goals for yourself this summer. In past Core Programs newsletters, we encouraged you to start out by setting aside 15-minute blocks of time to write each day. Then try working your way up to 30-minute chunks of time. You’ll eventually see that you’re making progress. Reach out to peers (they can be peers outside of your graduate program too) to schedule skype and/or in-person writing support group meetings. You can receive and share constructive feedback on writing projects and hold each other accountable to getting tasks done. Finally, here are great tips on how to move past feeling stuck in a writing rut from Dr. Kerry Anne Rockquemore, President of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity.
Get involved in professional development activities. There are many ways to brush up on your professional development this summer. 1) Update your CV or resume with skills and professional experiences you have gained from 2016–2017. 2) Identify conferences you’d like to present your work at for the coming year and mark those proposal and registration deadlines on your calendar. 3) Set up informational interviews to network with professionals currently working in fields or companies you’re interested in working for. 4) Volunteer in your local community to gain skills and to give back. 4) Contact your UW career center at Bothell, Tacoma, or Seattle for guidance with your internship or job search. 5) Check out just a few of our Core Programs newsletter links below on professional development:
- Tips from Employers to Guide Your Career Search
- Your Elevator Pitch
- Exploring Careers the Non-Linear Way
Research funding opportunities. Whether you are seeking travel funds to participate in an academic or professional conference or grants to fund your research, start by learning about the breadth of possible funding opportunities available to you. Because application deadlines and eligibility requirements vary widely—and can sneak up on you when you’re busy during the academic year—it’s always a good idea to plan in advance.
Funding Information Resources
- If you’re in the beginning stages of searching for ways to fund your graduate education, connect with the Graduate Funding Information Service (GFIS). GFIS is available to all UW graduate students via e-mail, online chat, or in-person appointments.
- Subscribe to the GFIS blog to receive the latest funding information alerts.
- Seek out funding information for all UW graduate students.
- Learn about funding opportunities for UW international graduate students.
- If you’re interested in learning about fellowships administered by the UW Graduate School, contact the Office of Fellowships and Awards.
- Learn about travel funds for academic or professional conferences available to you at UW Bothell, Tacoma, and Seattle.
- As always, check in with your Grad Program Advisor regarding a departmental application for the Graduate School travel awards. All tri-campus graduate students are eligible, and the request comes to the Graduate School from your GPA or designated staff in your department.
We hope you find these strategies useful, and please let us know of tips that worked for you!
Core Programs Team