“Graduate Student–Know Thyself!”

Think about it….

…Is the best advice I can give, in terms of asking a faculty member to help you–in any way, and especially when it comes to working on an extended project.  In my earlier post, I mentioned the importance of understanding your own work habits, strengths and weaknesses (as a scholar and as a person)–and I would add that a little (or a lot) of self-analysis at this juncture is key.  If you “know yourself,” you will be in a much better position to work collaboratively with your faculty advisor.  You’ll arrive at each meeting prepared to help them to best help you–and to get the most out of the partnership because you’ve respected both parties by thinking about exactly which areas of your project (thesis, dissertation, oral quals, etc.) need the most work. 

If “knowing thyself” (that is, “yourself”) is the best advice I can give in terms of self-development, I urge you to do so because of my next point (which is less advice, and more common sense): Respect the working relationship you have with any and all faculty members.  It is truly a privilege to work with professors who are experts in their respective fields, and who sincerely want to help you to succeed.  It’s up to you to rise to the challenge to do so–with humility, integrity, kindness, and focus.