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Showing posts from February, 2011

Stay out of the Comparison Gutter!

Staying out of the comparison gutter is much, much harder than it sounds.  Comparisons come and find you, even when you’re being strong and not seeking them. People, like your “nice” senior colleague, ask you such questions as, “How’s your book going?  Did you know that our other junior colleague just published an article and a book this month?”  Your neighbor or your aunt keeps saying, “My son finished his dissertation last year; aren’t you done yet?” These are the questions that drive academics crazy, and frankly, make them feel really anxious, depressed, or both. By Rebecca Schwartz-Bishir, Ph.D. It is a part of human nature to compare things. Comparisons are helpful: they allow us to take measurements, evaluate for truth, and create expectations. They can make us objective in our thinking, and that thinking can result in beauty and invention. When used to measure our achievements against those of others, however, comparisons can be unhelpful.  They often tap into o

What are you waiting for?

Are you waiting around for something to change before you take scary, but important steps? Get inspired to really live your life and stop being so afraid to step into what you were meant to be. Pretend that you were fearless. What is one quantum leap that you could take that would move your life trajectory forward? Contact a well known academic in your field and tell them about your similar line of research Actually write that article and send it to a valued colleague to read. Then submit it. Realize what you're really trying to say in your dissertation, stake a claim, and come right out and say it. I'm sure there's something you could do. Do it. And watch this video.

Discussion on depression in grad school

There has been an interesting discussion on depression in grad school going on the "Discussions" section of the Academic Ladder fan page.  The initial question was: Do you think that the grad school experience can lead to depression? How and why, in your opinion? I'd love to get more input into what you think makes grad students prone to depression.  Or are they (you)?  I know that I've seen students with depression, whose symptoms went away once they were able to write.  The shame of writers block and lack of progress combined with the critical, competitive atmosphere of academia leads to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. But that's just my opinion -- those of you who are going through grad school or who have survived it probably have better insight into what makes the experience so difficult. Please put your two cents in!