Graduate School / Focusing on Your Academic Health

Focusing on Your Academic Health

We offer suggestions for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers whose regular routines have changed. Whether it's related to self and family care, or research and career advancement, we want to help you navigate your new situation. 

  • Your hobbies, interests, and curiosities both in grad school and beyond matter now more than ever. Focusing on what gives you joy will help maintain a sense of balance as we navigate this new reality together.
  • Be playful and attentive! Engage with the art, music, recreation, and spirituality that are important to you.
  • You are in graduate school for a reason. The intellect and talent that you and the people around you possess inspires others, and will create solutions for change.

For most of us, developing good habits for working at home - where we are used to relaxing and where there are frequently many distractions - can be difficult.  Spending the effort to master time management will serve you well not only during the coming weeks, but throughout your career. 

  • Search for grant or fellowship opportunities and write proposals
  • Write research briefs or review articles, by yourself or with some colleagues. There are lots of places to publish them these days!
  • Work on manuscripts and other writing projects - close-at-hand projects and projects that are further out
  • Start outlining or writing your thesis, wherever you are in the research process
  • Start an online writing group with other students, postdocs and colleagues
  • Continue to explore your scholarly writing ‘voice’
  • Develop and practice presentations (online using Zoom, FaceTime etc…):
      • For an audience in your specific specialty (e.g., a conference contributed talk)
      • For an audience in your general discipline (e.g., a job seminar or departmental seminar)
      • For policy makers
      • For a lay audience
      • For a third-grade class
  • Compile and analyze your data more deeply than you could have when you had on-campus responsibilities
  • Plan for the experiments that you will do when you are back on campus. Think them all through as thoughtfully as they should be (and often aren’t)
  • Learn about new techniques that you might be able to use when you return to campus
  • Read about and learn new data analysis methods, including computational methods. Set up online sessions to teach each other these methods
  • Have a thesis committee meeting via Zoom. Your thesis committee members may have more scheduling flexibility, and this would be a good time to get committee feedback on your research.
  • Remember that University policy allows for remote participation on preliminary exams and thesis defenses