Virtuosity 11.11

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Archive for the category “Grad school”

What to do when you’re waiting for feedback on your comp

220px-montregousset001Each time I submitted a large assignment, like my comprehensive exams or my dissertation proposal, it took several weeks before I received feedback from my advisor and my committee. While I waited for feedback, I worked on other things. Here’s some suggestions on what you can be doing while you wait for comprehensive examination feedback:

  1. Write a memo about the process. Note the work you did, what you were thinking at the time, and take stock of how you’re going to take things forward.
  2. If this is not your last comprehensive exam (all institutions are different when it comes to the doctoral process), start on your next comp. You can begin outlining, framing key ideas, look for exemplars, etc.
  3. If this is your last exam, start working on the research question. Two books that I highly recommend are Terrill’s (2015) Writing a Proposal for Your Dissertation, and Bloomberg and Volpe’s (2015) Completing Your Qualitative Dissertation: A Roadmap from Beginning to End. Read example proposals from your department, and study how they are put together.
    1. Work on your conceptual framework. An excellent book to help you understand the different theoretical framings for your study is Ravitch and Riggan’s (2016) Reason and Rigor: How Conceptual Frameworks Guide Research.
  4. Check your transcripts, and talk with your advisor to make sure you’ve got the credit loads that you need. If not, now is a good time to make up work and tie up any loose ends.
  5. Update your CV, your websites, your portfolios, etc.

Take some time to relax, and unwind! Do yoga, exercise, or just lay down and breathe while you relax your muscles. When I was working on my exams, it felt as if I was on ultra stress mode every day for months. This takes a lot out of you, so remember to breathe and go slowly. You need to recover because the next big step is coming up!

 

Scrivener and Nonlinear Writing

I find that the beginning of any academic paper is an intimidating place to start writing. For some reason, blank screens constipate my mind, and the ideas stop flowing. I can barely get past the second word on my first sentence before I feel like blowing the whole thing up — except there’s nothing there to blow up to begin with!

To solve this rather peculiar problem, I write the findings first. It’s easier to write what has already been said, rather than (how I feel) making things up in the intro. Although programs like Word almost force you to write from the beginning, I’ve found that Scrivener’s nifty way of breaking each part of the paper down, so that you can start at any section, and go for it!

You can read more about how grad students can use Scrivener by checking out the DoctoralWriting SIG blog, which is chock full of helpful tips.

Happy Writing and Researching!

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Find your inner warrior

Warriors create themselves through

trial and error,

pain and suffering,

and their ability to conquer their own faults.

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Control the enemy

Your enemies are the things that keep you down. They are also the things that can make you strong, if you control and defeat them.

Enemies such as fear, procrastination, inadequacy, and low self esteem do not stay dead. Instead, they come back stronger and more clever. Do what you must to defeat them. It is the doing that makes you stronger and better than you were before.

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Cut your enemy

You’ve identified your enemies. These are the things that keep you from your destiny.

Cut them. Face every day with a plan to fight against the things that keep you from your goals. Cut your enemies. With every dragon you slay, you grow stronger. Sometimes, that enemy is the fear that lies within yourself.

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Live

Do things. Do simple things that make you feel grateful to be alive.

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Be fearless, or at least fake it ’till you make it

As long as it doesn’t hurt other people, don’t be afraid of being yourself. You were born uniquely you, but that’s a moving target.

Learn to face the fear, and be courageous. If it’s worth doing, than do it.

You can be afraid. Most of us are. However, don’t let that stop you from reaching your goals.nik_wallenda_trains_for_june_23_2013_grand_canyon_walk_at_nathan_benderson_park_sarasota_fla-_june_7_2013

Tomorrow never comes

You have today. Tomorrow is always just a dream. However, we do today to the best of our abilities, with the hope and dream of tomorrow.

Make today a present. Make today present. …Get my meaning?

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The present

todayToday is a gift. What are you doing today that is getting you closer to your goals?

What do you plan on doing tomorrow?

 

Resources for free graphics

information-1015297_640It is highly advantageous to know how to use graphics in your presentations and reports. Sometimes, building a model is far better at illustrating what you want to say than simply words. To help, here’s some places you can go to get free graphics, and to edit graphics for free:

Picmonkey – Is a really fast, down and dirty graphics editor with clip art and templates, along with photo filters to help. The paid version unlocks more features.

Canva – Is a great way to create cards, brochures, and posters with professional-looking templates to get started quickly.

Blender – Is a free and very powerful open source graphics program that can help you draw graphics, diagrams, etc.

Pixabay – Offers royalty-free graphics that you can easily pop into your presentations. There’s a lot to choose from here, and you’ll notice some of my past blogs use many of the graphics offered from this site. One of my favorite artists is 3DMan, who has a series of figurines that can be fun and very useful.

Freepic – Has some really great looking graphics that you can use in your presentations. The only disadvantage is that many of these come as packages, and will require graphics software (such as Blender) to get them looking how you want them to look.

Also, as I mentioned before, Microsoft SmartArt is a great feature to the Office Suite, and Google Images (choose, under “Tools” –> “Usage Rights” –> Labeled for Reuse).

Happy Presenting!

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