Monday Motivation #118 (9/12/22)
I spent much of Labor Day weekend tying up loose ends. Literally. I sorted through the bags and boxes (and cabinets and drawers!) of yarn at my house, and pulled out a couple dozen mostly-done projects. Lots of hats and scarves and socks and baby blankets and dishcloths that were allllllmost finished… just waiting for me to weave in the yarn ends and tidy up around the edges.
Taking care of these loose ends is my least-favorite part of knitting and crochet. It’s boring, and fiddly, and takes just enough focus that I can’t easily chat with someone or pay attention to a show while doing it. Apparently some folks find it meditative, but most of the memes shared among yarny folks are about how this task is super-annoying-but-necessary. Because in order to finish something lovely and useful, we have to take care of those loose ends.
As we head into a new academic year, my to-do list has a lot of “loose ends” too. Emails to send, meetings needing follow up, reports to finalize, timelines and task lists to arrange for the coming weeks. There are lots of more fun tasks at hand: teaching (but not grading!); recruiting; hosting pizza Lunch & Learns; reconnecting with students and colleagues in person after too many years of zoom. But I know that future me will be annoyed if current me skips over the loose ends, and that if I don’t take the time to tidy up my task list at the beginning of the semester my plans may very well unravel before finals week.
This week, I’m sharing some ideas for organizing and preparing for success in your own plans for the fall semester.
Three Things to Try This Week
Set SMART Goals — getting specific about our plans is the first step to having a successful semester. What is most important to accomplish this fall? How will we achieve those goals? Taking the time to plan now can ensure that we reach (most of) our goals by the end of term. Here is some advice about making goals during graduate school.
Make a Timeline — once you’ve set some SMART goals, it can help to develop a timeline of when you’ll work on each component. Start with a general overview of the months, and then drill down by week and then fill in the daily tasks for the next couple of weeks. This is meant to be a flexible guideline, not a rigid agenda, so build in time to reflect on and revise the timeline throughout the semester. Pick a format and level of detail that will help you stay organized and motivated, but not make you feel overwhelmed or constrained.
Take Care of Yourself — academic progress is important, but sustained success is only possible when you include your own needs in the priority list. Making time for rest and exercise; drinking water and eating nourishing meals; and having fun and spending time with your loved ones are all important parts of building healthy routines in graduate school. Consider this advice for creating balance in your schedule this fall.
- New to campus? Changed your local address recently? Be sure to update your records in the MSU Student Information System, with MSU HR, and/or with the State of Michigan as applicable.
- Looking for RCR training? New students should receive email from Sandy Christlieb the last week of September with information on how to sign up for the College’s online “course” to complete their first-year training requirements. Returning students are encouraged to leverage the trainings offered by the MSU Graduate School.
- Remember that the deadline to drop a class this semester and receive a refund of the tuition is September 23 at 8pm. You can find a list of important dates for the 2022–23 academic year here: https://reg.msu.edu/roinfo/calendar/academic.aspx