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.
Continue to Do What You Love in Life
- 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.
- Randy Pausch Lecture: Time Management
- Explore Time Management Fundamentals in LinkedIn Learning (free UMN registration)
- Read a books and articles for pleasure
- Read scholarly works both in your discipline and in disciplines that relate to your interests. Remember that often the most significant advances in a discipline occur as the result of importing ideas and methodologies from other disciplines
- 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
- Make a list of organizations for which you would like to set up informational interviews
- Pick a job that interests you and write a draft cover letter for a job application
- Update your CV or Resume
- Explore the career development resources available at sites such as the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity and DoctoralNet
- Explore strategies for aligning your career with purpose, priorities and motivations
- Update your LinkedIn profile
- Get an ORCiD ID
- 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
- Continue to meet one-on-one with your advisor via Zoom
- Keep moving ahead with your group meetings (via Zoom, of course). If you run short of individuals to review current data, use a different format. Do special-topics group meetings
- with your lab, your core staff, or your floor. This is a great way to stay connected
- Reach out to colleagues within and outside of your discipline to maintain and build your professional networks. Others will have time on their hands too, and will likely be happy to engage with you
- Keep in touch with friends and family and other support networks