Supportive Conversations for Grad Students

Please join us for hour-long, informal conversations open to all graduate students and postdocs.

Each week, we’ll discuss a topic related to scholarship and well-being during continued social distancing. Participants are encouraged to share experiences, lessons learned, and useful strategies with peers. All conversation times are Eastern Standard and held virtually.

Facilitator: Laura Murray, Ph.D., Assistant Director, McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning
(if different, facilitator will be noted in the conversation description.)

Please contact Dr. Laura Murray at lcmurray@princeton.edu to share your email address and receive additional resources.


Creating an Environment Conducive to Work and Well-being

Wed 9/16, 12-1pm; Join us!

Living, learning, and work​ing while continuing to practice "social distancing" is new and challenging for everyone. For many of us, this unprecedented moment necessitates spending nearly all of our time at home or in our rooms, so creating (or adapting) a workspace that “works” is essential. ​In addition to maintaining focus and attention, accessing the space, furniture, tools and technology that best fit our needs can be transformational ​to our productivity. ​Conversely, if something in our environment makes scholarship or effective communication with colleagues more difficult, we risk putting our motivation, productivity, and even our physical health in jeopardy.

If you are a grad student or postdoc curious about ways to construct or improve your home work space(s); if you have strategies or tools to share to promote attention and wellbeing while minimizing distractions and discomfort; or if you'd just like to connect with supportive colleagues navigating similar challenges, please join the conversation.

Managing Screen Time

Wed 9/23, 12-1pm; Join us!

Living, learning, and working while practicing "social distancing" is new and challenging for everyone. For many of us, this unprecedented moment necessitates spending more time in front of screens than ever before. Indeed, while “screen time” can help us to maintain social ties and collaborate across great distances, it can also feel like an unwanted burden if we don’t set boundaries.

If you are a grad student or postdoc curious about ways to manage time online while continuing to work effectively; if you have strategies to share regarding tech use while maintaining health and well-being; or if you'd just like to connect with supportive colleagues navigating similar screen challenges, please join the conversation.

Maintaining Scholarship and Research while Practicing “Social Distancing”

Wed 9/30, 12-1; Join us!

Full Description: While some of us are “new” to virtual learning and remote work in grad school (welcome, G1s!), others of us have been at it since March.  What are some useful strategies to sustain scholarship and make progress toward academic goals when working remotely and/or practicing social distancing in labs during limited hours?

If you are a grad student or postdoc curious about ways to make “remote work” productive; if you have tools or ideas to share that have helped you move toward your academic goals; or if you'd just like to connect with supportive colleagues navigating similar challenges, please join the conversation.

Connecting when Faculty and Colleagues

Fri 10/9, 12-1; Join us!

Starting grad school is hard enough, but making this major transition during a pandemic is truly unprecedented. You’re likely facing numerous academic demands with also trying to cultivate meaningful relationships with peers, faculty, and mentors whom you may not meet in person for some time. If you’d like to discuss and explore ideas for creating collegial connections and effective communication while “doing” grad school remotely, this workshop is for you. Designed specifically for G1s, but open to all interested grad students and postdocs, we welcome your input and look forward to connecting!

Harnessing Skills You Already Have as a Grad Student to Manage Work Virtually

Mon 10/19, 12-1pm; Join us!

The pandemic has presented us with new, unprecedented challenges. For many graduate students, work lives have fundamentally shifted: libraries with study spaces and needed books and materials may not be accessible; we spend more time on screens than with physical materials; conferences and research trips may be cancelled; and meetings with advisors, lab-mates, peers, and classmates are likely all virtual. While continued social distancing may feel destabilizing, it is important to remember the many skills and experiences as graduate students that can serve us well in this challenging time. By thinking intentionally about how to “translate” the skills we already have—and that we have developed in different contexts—we can harness and implement them in creative ways to meet this new situation. 

If you are a grad student or postdoc curious about ways to apply and translate your hard-won and effective working habits to the reality of social distancing; if you have strategies or tools to share that have allowed you to work effectively during social distancing; or if you’d just like to connect with supportive colleagues navigating similar challenges, please join the conversation.

Facilitator:  Kate Thorpe, PhD student in English and Instructional Designer at McGraw

Meta-cognition: Thinking about the situations, processes, and methods that allow you to do your best work

Wed 10/28, 12-1pm; Join us!

Defined loosely as the process of reflecting about thinking or learning so as to make shifts in behavior, metacognition has always been essential to learning. Nowhere is it more essential than in graduate school where so much of our learning and scholarship is self-directed, and at no time does it seem more important to learn how to self-regulate and improve our independent learning than during continued social distancing, when learning is primarily virtual and often entirely on our own. By employing metacognition, we can develop new habits or adjust existing ones as we reflect on what helps or inhibits our learning and scholarship.

If you are a grad student or postdoc curious about ways to think and reflect on your own learning; if you have strategies or tools to share that have helped you understand your learning patterns or practices in new ways; or if you’d just like to connect with supportive colleagues navigating similar challenges to maintain scholarship during this time, please join the conversation.