DISCLAIMER: It has come to my attention that some folk believe that I “have it all together.” Please accept this disclaimer as my way of saying three things: 1) I am figuring this out (and making this up) right alongside you dear reader; 2) I am not immune to feeling completely lost in tasks that are “supposed to be” routine by now; and 3) Sometimes I have to be reminded (by other people) of the things that I write (because most of my advice for you, is actually advice for me).
I’m still in school because I still have so many things to learn about myself and how the academy really works. In sharing my learnings on this journey, I hope that my vulnerability can act as a harbinger for your future concerns. I post so that YOU know, you’re NOT the only one out there feeling this way, and we can get through this together <3.
Confession: I am very afraid. I am a fourth year graduate student in the second year of my Ph.D. and my insides tighten every time someone says, “Wow, you’re almost done. Right??” (cue eyeroll and shoulder shrug)
In Nigerian culture,** parents typically assemble grandparents, close friends, a pastor, and relatives for a naming ceremony for the child, 7 days after birth. It is an occasion full of celebration, prayer, and inspiration as everyone revels over what the child’s name will be. Typically, the child will have several traditional names, an English (or name from a book within their religious faith), and a family surname. Continue reading
Allow me to provide you with some more spiritually-guided unsolicited advice. If you’ve interacted with me recently, at some point you may have heard me talking about how I “stay ready, so I never have to get ready.” I want to break down what this means to me and why it’s been so important in helping me reach new heights. Continue reading
This topic is close to my heart, because as a Ph.D. Candidate these are the crossroads that I currently find myself at. I’ve done a little research to save you the time, dear reader, and help you on your journey. However, lest I remind you that I am but a lowly Ph.D. Candidate, my unsolicited advice is best taken with a dash of salt and a hearty conversation with your advisor/reading committee members. Below, please find information broken down into three main categories: 1) things to know upfront before starting, 2) potential sources for “free” dissertation topics, and 3) criteria to evaluate topics selected. Continue reading
It’s so dastardly simple that it’s also a bit hard to accept as an answer. But so much of what we need to do in life can be boiled down to just showing up. Bringing all of your attention, heart, and body into the space where you’re working. Relationships, presentations, acts of service would all be radically different if people just vowed to do this one act. Continue reading
This is the age-old question that I ask myself and constantly gets asked of me. I would like to believe that it was my strategic foresight, research and leadership experiences, and all of my ambition. And while that may be part of the story–a large part–it it still far from complete. When I originally wrote this post, I started by listing all of my accomplishments, things I had done, started, and won. The ways I had forged this path ahead of myself on my own. Upon reflection, I think it could be more useful to emphasize a different perspective; a maxim I learned from my improv class, “Dare to be Average.”
Disclaimer: this post is not a short-cut substitute, or alternative for hard work. It does not contain mystical wisdom about the admissions process or the formula for the perfect introductory email. These are my compiled mistakes, blunders, and near-regrets that also contributed to me getting where I am today–a Ph.D. Candidate at Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering. I won’t, however, make you wait too long for the answer to the post title’s question. I got into Stanford…I think because of Continue reading
The weeks leading up to the 2015 NSF GRFP deadline were consumed by editing personal statements with a writing tutor, drafting research proposals with my advisors, and tracking down recommendation writers for the application. If this story resonates with you–if you even know what “NSF GRFP” stands for, then I’m sure you were in a similar situation (and if you don’t know what it is, you should probably copy and paste it into Google some time around now). Continue reading
If there’s a young child in your life, I want you to try this experiment or do an observation (in a non-creepy way) of a healthy parent-child interaction.
EXPERIMENT: Watch the child do or say something that makes others laugh, smile, or offer a lot of positive reinforcement and celebration. Make note on whether or not the observed behavior is then repeated. Ponder why or why not.
What am I getting at here? In Lisa Nichols’ powerful book, Abundance Now, she uncovers a truth that shook me to my core: Continue reading
Okay, I know the title comes off a bit harsh. I mean, who do I think I am telling other grad students what they struggle with? Well, kudos to you for being intrigued enough to continue on anyway.
To attend to my earlier question: I am an incoming fourth year Ph.D. candidate in ME that has made a TON of mistakes along the way. If not all “mistakes” then certainly I’ve taken the “scenic route” while other folks whizzed by me and I hustled to catch up. Dear reader, I am merely trying to save you from this wasted time and foolish embarrassment. So let’s dive into the list, shall we? I’ve got FIVE things that I want to highlight. Continue reading
CONGRATULATIONS on deciding to pursue a graduate degree at (INSERT name of your dream graduate program here). We are so looking forward to having you here to (INSERT project/idea that you believe deep down will fundamentally change the world). There are a few things you should know to get started with the waterboarding–whoops! We meant “onboarding” process (NOTE: we totally meant “waterboarding”).
Look familiar? Not sure where to start? Below, you can find a short list of tips to help you start your graduate school journey strong so the above no longer looks familiar. Continue reading
Though unofficial, there are a handful of people I go to for advice but very few (that I know of) that are willing to shift their weight around to help me get something. I recognize now that it’s not new mentors I need, now I need sponsors, advocates, people with power who can speak up for mr when I’m not around. Continue reading