We need to allow ourselves freedom from our devices. This becomes more and more complicated as our computers have become linked to our social media, phones, and entertainment. When you sit down to read an article, or write a few pages, make sure you get into the habit of disciplining yourself to stay away from text messaging, Netflix, facebook, imdb, gaming, or whatever sources of distraction most appeals to you. This will help you establish boundaries that will keep you on task.
We often perceive our work in academics as something we must do alone. There is no truth in this illusion. Get a writing/study group together. Talk to fellow students and organize weekly or bi-weekly discussion groups. The writer and/or academic that works alone is missing out on the perspectives of others.
Contact the Graduate Writing Studio (email@example.com) and set up your own Writing Group for the spring 2019 semester!
We are sometimes afraid that our concerns, questions, or lack of knowledge may make us look silly or uneducated in front of peers. Remember that there are no dumb questions. There is always a person willing to answer you and help you get over any obstacles in your way. If one person doesn’t know the answer, find someone else to help.
Unable to find answers? Visit the Graduate Writing Studio!
There are two steps that we often over-look when conducting research. Always look at the reference/works-cited pages of articles that resonate with your study. Also, try to resume broad searches; sometimes we have over-looked useful sources.
Take a break from your studies; go outside and walk around campus. Look, carefully, at your surroundings. Remind yourself that you are part of an academic community and that you deserve to be there. This kind of pride is healthy and can re-fuel your learning/writing engine.
We sometimes forget that we, as grad students, deserve to be at this level of education. We sometimes fall victim to “imposter syndrome” and fear that our inadequacies will be revealed. Take the time to look at your accomplishments so far. You have come a long way and successfully achieved tasks you would have never deemed possible for yourself. Remember: You are a scholar already, and you have the potential to accomplish more.
I know, you are thinking “easier said than done!” Well, not necessarily. As soon as you’ve read something pertinent to your study/essay, write! Get that info down on paper un-self-consciously. Don’t worry about logic, grammar, or content. The sooner you can see your thoughts on paper, the easier it will be to continue writing.
For more motivation, check out Anne Lamott’s life-changing essay “Shitty First Drafts” in her collection of essays bird by bird!
Pizza and burgers are easy and delicious. However, sugars, fats, and carbohydrates may not always be the best brain food. Do a bit of research and prepare healthy snacks to eat throughout your study time. A giant, unhealthy meal before reading/writing is a sure-fire way to turn that productive time into nap time.
Say no to this…
Try this instead…
Do you care about your subject matter? Do everything you can to make your thesis statement, research question, or hypothesis relevant to you. Find a way to care for your focus. Your readers will thank you (and you’ll thank yourself)!
Research shows that adequate hydration (at least 8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day) helps keep you alert and, therefore, more apt to retain information!