This page should be taken with a grain of salt. For university-specific resources, please see the class tab for whichever one of my classes you may be enrolled in. The rest of this page consists of just general student resources and academic or career advice that I’ve found works well for me. This page is not endorsed by ASU, GCU, SCC, SMCC, MCC, LLNL, LANL, GSFC, etc. etc. these opinions are my own.
In general, remember that college is hard and standards are set high. It is ultimately your responsibility to get help to deal with any issues you have outside of class that may prevent you from getting the work done. Many professors may empathize with your struggles, but your conditions are not a “get out of jail free card.” Some things you can do preemptively, include going to your university’s disabilities resource office and getting any individual conditions you may have on file with the university, and being on top of sending out emails when you do end up with an unexpected event or illness occurring (email your professors or student services office ASAP!).
I struggle with procrastination A LOT (I’m currently procrastinating grading labs AND working on my dissertation by doing this instead). The best description I’ve found is from Tim Urban and his blog. Welcome to the dark playground!
- Tim’s YouTube TED Talk is a MUST WATCH.
- Tim’s blog write-ups on Procrastination are incredibly helpful and layout a plan to figure out how to manage procrastinating! I suggest reading through at least the first 3 posts.
- https://www.reddit.com/r/getdisciplined/ – some good advice can be found here… sometimes.
- A simplified guide to managing stress & transforming your life – A reddit post, take with a grain of salt.
- For those who suck at delaying gratification – Another reddit post, again grain of salt.
- Key ideas from Atomic Habits by James Clear – Pretty good book on building better habits.
- Personally, I use sand timers on my desk and have an appointment book that I fill out every Monday.
- Pomodoro techniques for time-blocking (why I have sand timers).
- A suggestion from one of my GCU students: The app Forest is excellent for motivating you to not touch your phone!
The 2018-2019 academic year was a struggle for me. My best friend since childhood passed away in an accident, I had to manage a space-flight hardware calibration campaign, I had to pass my PhD qualifying exams, and I spent the summer managing and implementing an experimental campaign in Maryland. I burned-out very, very badly halfway through the summer experimental campaign and almost lost all of my data to boot. Burn-out is now considered a diagnosable syndrome by the World Health Organization. The sooner you recognize it and deal with it, the sooner you can get back on track. Happy to say I’ve fully recovered from this latest incidence of burn-out!
- “Understanding Burnout,” YouTube lecture by Prof. Christina Maslach (U.C. Berkeley).
- Psychology Today’s Tips to Overcome Burn-out.
- https://www.reddit.com/r/aww – because sometimes we just need to see some positive content.
- https://www.headspace.com/ – free mindfulness sessions can help a lot (and there’s an app!).
- The book “Happy Brain,” by Dean Burnett covers the science behind what can also contribute to burn-out ($0 w/ Audible free-trial). “A problem that’s defined is half-way solved.”
- For women/female-identifying students in particular, the book “Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle” is pretty good. One of the authors has a free worksheet for helping with stress.
- There’s a ton of positive instagram accounts out there that will share uplifting daily messages, I suggest that if you insist on having an instagram you follow some of those accounts.
That COVID feeling
This New York Times article may be helpful for giving a name to what many people are feeling during the pandemic. The term languishing is defined as “failing to make progress or be successful.” In the mental health world, it is characterized by (1) moods that are not too high or too low (you’re not happy but you wouldn’t say you’re sad either); (2) feeling unmotivated more often than usual; (3) feeling unsettled but not highly anxious; (4) difficulty focusing on certain tasks, especially some days more than others. Languishing is also related to malaise: a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify. More than 30 years ago former President, Jimmy Carter, gave his Crisis of Confidence speech in an attempt to rally US citizens to the future problems they would be facing (in particular, environmental destruction and climate change). This speech was coined by the media as Carter’s Malaise speech.
Misc. Helpful Career and Academic Blogs/Books
I 100% specifically do not endorse Cheeky Scientist, though their free resources may be helpful. A lot of career counseling services prey on the insecurity that PhDs have as they are in the process of finishing their degrees and trying to find a job. I promise I will never do that.
How to do Research
Check out this article: https://www.beaglelearning.com/blog/improve-research-skills/
Check out this resource: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/910043/modules
- Determining what to research
- Asking Good Questions (check out the QPI)
- Mind-mapping can help direct your research questions to sources for answers, it can also narrow in on keywords!
- Best practices
- How to read an academic paper
- Figures are your friends
- Summarizing research papers
- Bringing summaries together
Creating new research
- Outlines? Try storyboards!
- Revisiting how figures are your friends
- Writing is hard
- What is primary research?
Helpful Resources for Research
- https://app.grammarly.com/ – for grammar and writing help
- https://www.easybib.com/ – for bibliography help
- https://www.mendeley.com/reference-management/reference-manager – for more professional-based reference help
- https://www.overleaf.com/ – LaTex online editor for writing papers
- https://cvmkr.com/ – for generating nice CVs & resumes
- https://www.smartsheet.com/ – Project management
- https://monday.com/ – Project management
- https://trello.com/ – Project management (one I currently use)
- https://en.beaglelearning.com/ – Beagle Learning