Graduate Student Academic Success Workshop Series

The overarching aim of this slate of workshops is to equip graduate students with skills, strategies, and tools which will help them meet the new expectations and demands of graduate education at Princeton and foster their development as productive and purposeful students and scholars. Graduate training makes new demands on students with respect to mastering content, to be sure, but it also offers opportunities to further develop skills of managing time and energy, planning large research projects, writing and publishing, collaborating effectively, achieving a balanced lifestyle, and a host of other skills that are not taught explicitly. These practical, hands-on workshops will address these untaught, but essential areas of development so that Princeton graduate students can achieve their goals with less stress and greater efficiency. 

Princeton Students can meet with a McGraw Center Learning Strategies Consultant to work on any of these topics. Daytime, evening, and weekend appointments are available.


Summer 2019 Sessions

Writing Fridays

Every Friday from June 28 to August 30, except for July 5.
10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. New South, Training Room, 7th floor

Breakfast and light lunch will be served. Space is limited!
Please sign up for the upcoming session.

Does your writing project desperately need your attention, yet you find yourself postponing writing again and again? Consider doing it differently!

This weekly writing series was created with the specific needs of graduate writers in mind. Modeled on the Writing Center Dissertation Bootcamp, the series helps you set aside time dedicated solely to writing and offers a system of support. Each session is framed by a goal-setting conversation in the beginning and a reflection at the end to help track writing progress.

When you sign up for the workshop, please have in mind that attending these briefings is mandatory. They offer a chance to battle the isolation that writers often find themselves in, and introduce an accountability element so that it's easier to deliver on your plans. If you ever think that you are too slow or your writing task is just too daunting, come and get the support of your peers. It's easier when you are not alone! 

If you have questions, please contact Elizaveta Mankovskaya at em18@princeton.edu

           


          Previously held Academic Success Workshops

          Please note that these sessions cannot be applied toward the Teaching Transcript pedagogy workshop requirement or the AI Orientation make-up.

          Advanced Reading Strategies: Efficient Reading of Scholarly Research

          Many graduate students and post-docs are challenged by the duration and difficulty of academic reading. Fortunately, there are straightforward ways to increase the efficiency with which you identify, locate, and evaluate relevant information. In this workshop, you will learn how to:

          • Identify and troubleshoot the many non-reading hindrances to efficient reading
          • Sharply define the objectives for the reading task at hand to increase your efficiency
          • Maintain strong focus as you hunt through difficult, “unfriendly" text

          The Art of Saying “Yes” Strategically

          Are you interested in and good at lots of different things? Do you like to get involved in multiple activities?  And do you tend to say “yes” whenever someone asks you to do something, or an opportunity presents itself? Being involved, engaged, and open to new experiences can be wonderful, but sometimes the tendency to say “yes” leads to taking on too much and feeling overwhelmed. In this workshop open to all graduate students and postdocs, we will explore and practice strategies for how, when, and whether to say “yes” to taking on tasks, as well as how to artfully relinquish responsibilities that are no longer fulfilling.

          Balancing Scholarship and the Rest of Your Life

          Can scholarship happen while also nurturing health and happiness?  How might you achieve academic goals while also attending to other interests, relationships, and priorities?  And what does it even mean to be “successful” in graduate school? In this workshop for students across disciplines, we will explore skills and strategies to promote work-life balance, manage multiple responsibilities, and reduce stress while simultaneously working toward meaningful personal and professional goals.

          Building an Effective Working Relationship with your Advisor

          Do you sometimes struggle when communicating with your advisor or PI, or feel that s/he doesn’t entirely understand or respond to your concerns?  Or do you have a collegial and productive relationship in which you feel satisfied, encouraged, and heard? Either way, shaping and improving your evolving relationship with your advisor(s) can have a profound influence on your scholarship, productivity, healthy development, and sense of fulfillment. Come to this workshop open to all grad students and postdocs to explore strategies to effectively communicate your needs and expectations to advisors; ask for assistance when “stuck”; navigate conflict; and “manage up” so that all parties feel empowered and supported. CPS Outreach Psychologist Jess Joseph will co-lead this workshop, offering cognitive and emotion-regulation strategies tailored to managing “hard conversations” and challenging interactions.

          Collaborating Effectively

          "It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed." - Charles Darwin

          Although graduate school can often feel solitary and myths of the lone scholar toiling away “in the ivy tower” persist, the truth is that academic work - like most work - is collaborative.  In this workshop for all grad students and postdocs, we will think through the many ways that graduate students, scholars, professionals, and even “independent researchers” work in teams large and small to experiment, create, write, learn, and innovate both on campus and around the globe.  Next, we’ll discuss and practice some essential skills for promoting effective collaboration, group productivity, and positive partnerships going forward.

          Effective Communication with Advisers and Faculty (part of the Navigating Graduate Education in the United States series)

          Ever wish you could get feedback or direction on a research or advising conversation that hasn’t gone the way you expected?  Well here’s your chance!  This session will focus on providing answers to your questions about how to navigate conversations with your faculty advisers and practical steps you can take to make sure you’re more effectively communicating with your adviser.

          The Davis International Center, the Graduate School, and the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning have partnered to offer a three-session series entitled, “Navigating Graduate Education in the United States” to our international graduate students. The series is designed to assist first and second-year international graduate students in their transition from undergraduate training to the graduate education system here at Princeton, and to address the most common issues that international graduate students encounter during their enrollment.

          Feedback: Back to Basics

          In this lunchtime workshop for graduate students across disciplines, you and your peers will learn how to give constructive feedback to classmates, colleagues, lab-mates, and assistants; gracefully hear and implement feedback from others; and ask your peers (and advisor!) for useful and timely feedback on your own scholarship.  You’ll practice simple strategies to conquer the anxiety that can often come with “critique,” and will leave armed with tips and tools to give, receive, and elicit feedback positively, productively, and with purpose. Pizza will be provided.

          Finish Summer Satisfied: Planning and Scheduling to Keep You On Track

          The purpose of this workshop is to help you plan realistically for a balanced, productive summer. To plan effectively, it helps to realize the particular challenges of summer productivity. The first part of this workshop is about raising awareness of the challenges of summer. You’ll have a chance to identify challenges particular to you. The second part is the nitty-gritty. You will actually focus on a major academic goal, break it down, and plan it out.

          Grad School: It’s Different!

          In this lunchtime workshop for new graduate students across disciplines, you and your peers will explore what makes graduate school unique from other learning experiences, and why these differences are important to identify and address early. Next, you’ll reflect on the personal strengths and resources you bring to Princeton, as well as areas for growth and development during your time here. With these insights, you will leave better prepared to access supports available on campus to help you meet your goals and thrive.

          Giving, Receiving, and Eliciting Feedback

          In this workshop for graduate students across disciplines, you and your peers will learn how to give constructive feedback to classmates, colleagues, lab-mates, and assistants; gracefully hear and implement feedback from others; and ask your peers (and advisor!) for useful and timely feedback on your own scholarship.  You’ll practice simple strategies to conquer the anxiety that can often come with “critique,” and will leave armed with tips and tools to give, receive, and elicit feedback positively, productively, and with purpose.

          Harnessing a Growth Mindset

          “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

          In this workshop for all grad students and postdocs, we will discuss Stanford Psychology Professor Carol Dweck’s “mindset theory” and explore how it applies to our lives as emerging scholars and professionals. According to the theory, many of us have either “fixed” or “growth” mindsets; the former is a system of beliefs that talent and ability is fixed and immutable, while the latter holds that anyone can improve in any domain with effort and commitment, and that “ability” at a given point in time is simply a starting point for growth. After learning about the theory, we’ll reflect on our own mindsets, and then discuss strategies to cultivate a “growth” stance that highlights practice and persistence and values “failure” as a valuable element in continuous learning and improvement.

          Home Stretch to Generals: Making the Most of your Final Weeks of Prep

          In this workshop for Ph.D. students across disciplines who are planning to take Generals this January, we’ll explore ways to make the most of your remaining weeks of exam prep while also getting some sleep! In addition, we’ll discuss ways to tap into the “institutional memory” of your department, as well as strategies for making committee members’ roles, as well as their expectations of you, crystal clear.

          Learning Partners: Harnessing the Power of Peer Supports for Academic Success

          Do you wish that you had someone to “check in” with on a regular basis regarding your scholarly goals, time management efforts, and progress toward degree completion?  Would you like to be held accountable for completing tasks and meeting deadlines in a supportive and non-judgmental way? If you are interested in being paired with a like-minded graduate student and working as an “accountability team” throughout the remainder of the Spring term and over the 2019 Summer, then this workshop is for you.  You will meet potential partners, discuss your short- and long-term academic goals, and then explore ways to help each other stick to schedules, work consistently, and meet individual goals with a little help from your friends. (Ongoing guidance and facilitation will be provided by McGraw staff.)

          Learning With and From Failure

          What if failure is not an outcome or a destination, but a process – a part of the work-in-progress that is life?  Some might even argue that failure is a necessary step in learning and healthy development. In this workshop for graduate students and postdocs, we will explore the meaning and prevalence of “failure” in academia and reflect on strategies to use it as a tool for growth.

          Master Your Motivation: Understanding and Overcoming Procrastination

          Your tendency to procrastinate on complex, ambiguous graduate projects despite the stress and inefficiency this causes you is both understandable and reducible. In this workshop you will:

          • Better understand how and why you procrastinate
          • Identify and organize objectives and their required actions
          • Schedule and structure tasks to reduce stress and promote consistent action
          • Leverage social and tech tools to augment your strengths and get work done

          Navigating the U.S. Classroom for International Graduate Students (part of the Navigating Graduate Education in the United States series)

          Do you sometimes leave your classes feeling confused about how your peers interact with professors or each other? Do you wonder whether or how to “participate” and ask questions? Are you unfamiliar with collaborating on group projects and assignments? This session will explore common teaching and learning practices in American higher education classrooms, with the goal of helping you to make sense of and participate in classes in a more comfortable, productive, and engaged way. 

          The Davis International Center, the Graduate School, and the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning have partnered to offer a three-session series entitled, “Navigating Graduate Education in the United States” to our international graduate students. The series is designed to assist first and second-year international graduate students in their transition from undergraduate training to the graduate education system here at Princeton, and to address the most common issues that international graduate students encounter during their enrollment.

          Parenting in Grad School: Strategies for Learning and Life

          In this workshop for grad students or post-docs who are currently parents and/or who are considering becoming parents while at Princeton, we will discuss the realities of balancing academic and parenting responsibilities, as well as strategies for thriving in both realms.  In addition, we will share Princeton-specific resources for parenting students, their partners/spouses, and their children.

          Puppy Love! Wine, Cheese, and Puppies

          There will be adorable service dogs excited to meet you! Get some pet-therapy while learning more about McGraw’s Graduate Student Learning Programs. All graduate students and post-docs are welcome to attend, so RSVP and stop by to enjoy some wine and delicious food. Attendees will be entered into a raffle to win a new Keurig coffee machine. Brought to you by the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning and the Graduate School Access, Diversity, and Inclusion Team.

          Reframing “Time Management” to Achieve Your Goals

          In this workshop for graduate students across disciplines, we will explore how you currently use your time, as well as common “time sinks” and prioritization challenges. Next, we will discuss alternative ways to conceive of “time management,” ending with skills and strategies to effectively change your behaviors and achieve your goals.  The passing of time is beyond our control, but how we utilize the hours we have is within our control.

          Sticking To Your Plans: Core Motivational Tools For Executing Research And Writing Plans

          Graduate students and post-docs often formulate plans for getting their work done but face difficulties following through on their plans. This workshop will equip you with key techniques for managing your motivation to execute your work as planned and thus reduce stress and increase your satisfaction. After this workshop, you will have a deeper practical understanding of procrastination and motivation concretized into a single worksheet that provides:

          • Your clearly articulated goals and schedule of work to focus and fire your productivity
          • A brief, personalized set of strategies for reducing procrastination
          • A unique tool for monitoring and rewarding your progress

          Taming Perfection and the Art of “Good Enough”

          The overarching aim of this slate of workshops is to equip graduate students with skills, strategies, and tools which will help them meet the new expectations and demands of graduate education at Princeton and foster their development as productive and purposeful students and scholars.

          Transitioning from Coursework to Research

          When you finish your very last course ever you may feel joy, relief, or simple exhaustion.  This is a major step in your graduate studies!  However, when the next term begins and you don’t return to the classroom as a student, you may feel anxious and uncomfortable. You face a vast landscape of unstructured time and may think wistfully of the daily and weekly accountability of past assignments and external deadlines. In this workshop targeted to grad students who are about to complete coursework (or have recently achieved this milestone), we will discuss how to optimize your schedule and productivity as you work toward completing your dissertation and transitioning from “student” to “scholar.”

          Things I Wish I Knew – Tales from Current International Graduate Students (part of the Navigating Graduate Education in the United States series)

          Do you want to hear seasoned international graduate student tales about graduate school and student life? What did they learn through trial and error? Things that they wish they knew when they were first and second-year students?

          The Davis International Center, the Graduate School, and the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning have partnered to offer a three-session series entitled, “Navigating Graduate Education in the United States” to our international graduate students. The series is designed to assist first and second-year international graduate students in their transition from undergraduate training to the graduate education system here at Princeton, and to address the most common issues that international graduate students encounter during their enrollment.

          Time Mastery: Cutting Overwhelm w/Google Calendar

          Sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of your demands? Are you missing out on opportunities? Use Google Calendar as an “external mind” to capture all your tasks, minimize stress, and free your mind for your academic work. Build on what you know about Google Calendar to maximize its usefulness while also learning innovative strategies for calendaring and planning, such as:

          • Using a calendar as part of an "external mind" to ease stress, pursue goals and make effective decisions
          • Planning in accordance with your current patterns of behavior (sleep, work, etc.)
          • Distinguishing realistic and optimistic planning
          • Collecting self-data and revising accordingly for more effective planning

           

           


          Do you have suggestions about topics or issues for the McGraw Center Programming? Email your ideas to mcgraw@princeton.edu.