As a first year doctoral student, I’m trying to figure out what I need to know to survive. What technologies to use, what books to read, what forms to fill out, etc. etc. But most importantly, WHO do I need to know to survive? Fortunately, at SOLES, the classes, programs, and activities give you plenty of chances to find your people. That’s the thing though, YOU have to go out and find them. Its great to find people with similar interests, but its also nice to meet people who are different from you, and hopefully you get along well with. Over the past few months, I’ve gone out with classmates for drinks, dessert, lunch, dinner, coffee, happy hour, brunch in one-on-one sessions as well as group outings, to figure out who I jive with best. This is all very different from my undergraduate experience which was lonely for me as a commuter student. I made it out alive back then, but I knew coming into this program that I would not be able to do it alone.
Look for people that you can have a great conversation with. A conversation where neither one of you is trying to talk over the other, but instead is attentively listening to what each side has to say. Also, try phrasing alternative ideas as questions and NOT rejections.
Pay attention to what your classmates are saying in class. That’ll give you some insight into who you want to work with and what research might be similar to yours.
Try working with different people at least once to see what their style is like. I had a really positive experience writing a proposal with a classmate because we weren’t stubborn about our work. We both saw that our intent was to produce a quality proposal for a conference and didn’t get in each other’s way. [Side tip: get rid of the ego quick, because you will be receiving lots of constructive feedback from the many critical friends and faculty here at SOLES].
Even if you don’t work well with someone, building a positive relationship with people who are in the same boat with you is really nice. Hanging out with classmates helps with the stress, trading stories, sharing ideas, and laughing about things only SOLES people would get. HERE IN THE UNITED STATES….