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Time Management

Study Advice: Avoiding Distractions and Staying Motivated

Source: University of Reading
This webpage from the University of Reading (UK) discusses some common difficulties students experience with managing time, distractions, and extra-scholastic responsibilities. It covers topics such as taking responsibility for your personal time management, setting goals and targets, dealing with distractions, and learning to say ‘no’. It’s also connected to the rest of the University of Reading Study Advice site, which contains a wealth of other resources, if you feel like browsing.

Where'd My Day Go?

Source: Jeremy M. Boss and Susan H. Eckert , Science, April 9th, 2004
Time flies, but how? Many people experience days in which they do not achieve the objectives they had set for that day. One day like this is not a problem, but when it becomes a pattern it could mean trouble for your academic progress. This article discusses some common ways people lose control over their time, and offers wonderful advice about how to reclaim it.

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School/Life Balance

ProfHacker: Hacking Your Personal Life

Source: Erin E. Templeton, The Chronicle of Higher Education
It is easy to become caught up in our work and to lose perspective in the face of academic responsibilities and challenges. This article suggests some ways to create time for yourself and explores some of the benefits of doing so. Whether on or off campus, there are always opportunities to take time for ourselves, and this is often both personally and professionally rewarding.

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Taking Ownership of Your Experience at Graduate School (Preparing and Planning For Graduate Success)

The Graduate Game Plan

Source: University of British Columbia, Faculty of Graduate Studies
The UBC has produced a very thorough overview of the stages of graduate study and some of the common events and challenges encountered along the way. This four-part web document brims with insight, encouragement, and advice. Each section is organized into easily accessed subsections dealing with both practical and psychological aspects of graduate study. The document refers to UBC services that are available to assist students in their studies; please contact the GSLI about similar programs offered at Guelph.

Learning Support for Higher Degree Research Students

Source: Monash University
Monash University has provided an overview of the graduate research process. They have arranged the process into five steps. Each step discusses strategies and considerations that can be applied in order to facilitate the research process.

The PREP Matrix

Source: The Graduate School, Michigan State University
The Graduate School at Michigan State has produced their own model for helping students plan for a successful doctoral experience and a smooth transition into an academic role. Their model focuses on four skill areas: Planning, Resilience, Engagement, and Professionalism. They have provided resources in order to help students develop these skills at three points in their program: early, middle, and late. This is a great resource for students looking for advice on just about any topic. Just a warning their information takes the form of links—so you could end up sifting through a lot of sites.

Mentor Memo: Creating a Research Agenda

Source: Justin Reedy and Madhavi Murty, Inside Higher Ed
A research agenda should be a major goal for all graduate students. A research agenda is a plan that identifies that subset of the topics in your field that you are going to research in graduate school. The goal is to identify your area of interest in order to direct your academic activities during your time in graduate school. This article discusses how to formulate and advance your research agenda.

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Motivation and Stress

Burned Out? Take A Creative Sabbatical

Source: Gina Trapani, Harvard Business Review Blogs
You’re in graduate school, and that means long hours, intense focus, and complete commitment to the task at hand. This, at least, is an assumption that many graduate students share. But, as other links on this list suggest, it is actually in your best interest to take time away from your studies in order to maximize productivity. This article extols the virtues of taking time off to create or experiment.

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Presentations & Posters

ProfHacker: How to Record Your Talking Habits (and Why You Might Want To)

Source: Heather M. Whitney, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Your success as a professional, particularly if you are planning to enter academia as an instructor, depends on your ability to speak well publicly. Many people have awkward or distracting speech habits that are completely correctable. As is the case with many other bad habits, others are hesitant to point them out to us. This article provides a preliminary guide to correcting speech patterns.

Preparing Professional Scientific Posters

Source: Kristine Kirkeby, UMN
Poster presentations are often given as part of conference or departmental events. They serve as an informal method for briefly presenting your work. Presenting your work well is important for generating interest in your work and communicating effectively. This page serves as an excellent guide to producing a quality poster. This source is directed at a scientific audience, but has things to offer students from other disciplines as well, as it is focused on practical issues like proper gluing technique.

Designing Communications for a Poster Fair

Source: McNair Scholars Program, Pennsylvania State University
Poster presentations are often given as part of conference or departmental events. They serve as an informal method for briefly presenting your work. Presenting your work well is important for generating interest in your work and communicating effectively. In this webpage from Pennsylvania State University graphic designers outline the aesthetic principles for designing attractive, elegant, and effective poster boards. It also has links to additional pages that contain additional resources about building poster presentations.

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Conference Etiquette and Strategies

Ph.Do: Conference Do’s and Don’ts

Source: Eszter Hargittai, Inside Higher Ed
Once you’ve decided to go to conference, how do you make the most of the experience? As it turns out, the formal presentations are not necessarily the main event. This article talks about how to prepare for a conference, and meeting the people at the conference in order to make the most of the experience.

Ph.Do: The Conference Scene

Source: Eszter Hargittai, Inside Higher Ed
Conferences are an inevitable part of an academic career. They are important both as ways to keep up with research in your discipline, and as ways to participate academically. Selecting which conferences and meetings to attend is a complicated affair. There are numerous possibilities and they each have their own merits. It’s not always the case that smaller, regional conferences will be less academically productive than larger ones. Presenting fully-polished papers are not the only options for conference participation. This article provides an introductory overview of some considerations to take into account when selecting conferences.

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Planning Ahead (Academia)

Ph.Do: More Than Merit

Source: Eszter Hargittai, Inside Higher Ed
How important is it to think ahead when your career aim is a tenured professorship? This article argues that planning for tenure review should start when you enter graduate school, or at least as early as possible. Academics who do not plan ahead by developing good relationships, attempting to understand ‘the system’, etc., in addition to pursuing scholarly achievements are not necessarily ideally positioned to get the position they want, or even that their academic work merits.

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Professional Graces

The Best Leadership Advice I Ever Got

Source: Marshall Goldsmith, Harvard Business Review Blogs
Intelligence is not the only tool graduate students need to have in their ‘tool box’. Tact and humility go a long way. In this article, Marshall Goldsmith recounts his rude awakening to the need, at times, to work with the conditions of the ‘real world’ regardless of whether they match the ideals we can imagine.

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Blogs, Newsletters and Listservs

All-But-Dissertation Survival Guide

This is a monthly newsletter for graduate students, particularly those who have finished all program requirements except their dissertation. Each issue is devoted to practical strategies for successful completion.

GRADUpDATE

To receive GRADUpDATE, e-mail gradupdate-request@uwo.ca  ; type the word 'subscribe' as the subject.

This monthly e-mailout is directed towards all graduate students and is dedicated to helping students succeed in graduate school. It is produced by the Learning Skill Services division at the University of Western Ontario.

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Referencing & Citation Tools

What's the best citation management software for me?

University of Toronto has created a chart comparing the main features of several popular citation management applications.  This can help you to examine the different features available and figure out the best option for you.

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Online Support and Services

MyGradSkills.ca

Free access to 18 online modules developed by a consortium of Ontario universities, including the University of Guelph.  There are five areas of concentration:  Teaching and Learning, Career Development, Research, Communication, and Entrepreneurship. 

Dissertators and Thesis Writers Support Thread

This online forum is hosted by The Chronicle of Higher Education. It’s a place where graduate students can share their challenges (and successes!) with other graduate students. A great place to look for insight, perspective, and community.

PhinisheD

This online forum is a place for Ph.D students to go to connect with other Ph.D candidates and with those to have completed their Ph.D. There are places to share experiences, ask questions, give and receive support, and learn about transitioning from a Ph.D student to work.