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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Winter 2016
Peer Advisor Availability

Writing Peer
Kyle Crocco

Mon: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Tue: 10 a.m.-noon
Wed: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Thu: 10 a.m.-noon

Funding Peer
Stephanie Griffin
Mon: 10 a.m.-noon
Wed: noon-2 p.m.

Diversity Peer
Ana Romero

Mon: noon-2 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

The peers sometimes hold events or attend meetings during their regular office hours. To assure you connect with your Graduate Peer Advisor, we encourage you to contact them by email and make an appointment.


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Entries in UCSB grad students (53)


Optimizing Motivation and Well Being Workshop Recap

Motivation word chart

"Why am I in grad school!?"

If you have ever asked yourself that question, you are not alone. Dr. Jennifer LaGuardia from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has some helpful information about how we can find ways to "reboot our motivation" and optimize our well being. 

Here are some things to consider

  • What got you interested in graduate school? and What keeps you going? Reflecting on these questions will help you identify what is driving your motivation. 
  • According to Self-Determination Therapy (SDI), motivation is a psychological energy that is directed towards a goal. It is not the quantity, but the quality of motivation that is important because it influences persistance and well-being. Quality of motivation is determined by one's experience of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. 

What can you do?

Begin by reflecting on the ways your own psychological needs are being met or not, make an action plan, and enlist social support. "CARES" Self-Assessment is one way of doing this:

  • Competence: What are the areas you feel most confident about in your work? 
  • Autonomy: Are you able to pursue your interests and valued goals?  
  • Relatedness: How connected do you feel with others in your department? 
  • Extrinsic Compensation & Equity: Are you given enough resources and training to do your work? Are they enough to support your work? 
  • Structure: Are you given clear expectations and details about how to achieve your goals (graduate degree, research, etc.)? 

Coping with Stress in Grad School

Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night?

Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic?

Have you or any member of your family ever seen a spook, specter, or ghost?

You may remember Dan Akroyd, Ivan Reitman, and Bill Murray posing these questions during their advertisement in Ghostbusters. The same list applies when mulling over life in graduate school! Waking at all hours, feelings of dread, and wild imagination may become commonplace as you pursue your degree. Nailing down the specific sources of stress - while not always easy to do - proves helpful.

Jason McSheene, a Ph.D. student in molecular biology at Princeton, has decided to give identifying these stressors a shot in his recent post to Gradhacker at InsideHigherEd. McSheene identifies four central areas of stress: no clear boundaries of graduate school responsibilities; frequent, unwarranted, or invalid comparisons to others; living the 'Lone Wolf' life; and the perception that grad school will never end. Each of these stressors comes with some suggestions, which could be a good starting point for anyone looking to identify the feelings of dread following them around campus.


Organization Methods: Managing Your Files

If there's one thing that I've struggled with in my time at graduate school, it's keeping all of my files organized on my computer. File folders, systems of naming article PDFs, and using cloud storage have all helped my organizational process immensely. Yet, each new day sees at least one file added to the collection, so the process is ongoing.

Natalie Houston at ProfHacker must know my pain well, as she addresses an aspect of controlling your files that is even trickier than what I've discussed so far: keeping track of different versions of your texts

As you work your way through a draft - and particularly a collaborative draft - you may often find yourself with multiple versions of a text, often in the same folder.  This can be troublesome, particularly as you work your way toward a finished product. This is where Natalie's work - and a stern warning - come in: don't use the word "final" on a file name, for that way lies madness. 

Natalie discusses the importance of establishing a system for organizing newer drafts in a file of older drafts, and provides a few examples to help you stay organized. This article is helpful not only for collaborative writers but for people who need to organize (or re-organize) their electronic filing systems and aren't sure how to get started.


A New Year's Writing Resolution: 30 Minutes Every Morning

If you're looking for a simple way to get more writing into your life, Kerry Ann Rockquemore at InsideHigherEd has one suggestion: daily writing.

She responded to a new tenure track professor's difficulty in finding time to write. Rockquemore argues that "scheduling at least 30 minutes each morning to complete the myriad tasks that occur between the spark of a new idea and sending out a manuscript for review" is capable of "increas[ing] your productivity, decreas[ing] your anxiety, and re-orient[ing] each day around the intellectual work that you love."

The concept of daily writing is nothing new in terms of writing advice that's out there on the web, but Rockquemore's offers clear and unique solutions. Try applying Rockquemore's resolution and increase your productivity in 2015!


Finding Time to Write

Writing is a necessity in the life of an academic, but that doesn’t mean that academia makes it easy for you to find time to write. Rob Jenkins, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, discusses in his post how to balance writing with a heavy teaching load. While some of his advice is specific to teachers working with 4/4 or even 5/5 teaching loads, it can also be applicable to anyone with a busy schedule and a frantic need to get writing done.

The subheading of Jenkins’ article is “Yes, you can ‘find time’ to write, but not without sacrifices." On that uplifting note, Jenkins jumps into the business of carving out writing space throughout your day. He introduces some simple principles to fit in more writing: Commit, Organize and Prioritize, Schedule, Be Patient, and Repurpose.

Working with these straightforward principles, you can find ways to reuse the time you’ve been using for other things in order to get writing done – perhaps not easily or painlessly, but at least effectively. If you’re struggling to fit in writing, give these tips a shot.


Preparing for the Academic Job Interview

It is January at UCSB, which means that many graduate students are currently slogging through the complicated mess that is the job market and interview process. Thanks to the rising quality of technology as well as increasing travel costs and decreased budgets, interviews now commonly take place in multiple forms: face-to-face, phone, and Skype interviews. Each of these formats has its own issues that candidates must consider in addition to the general demands of interview preparation.

Thankfully, Melissa Dennihy has a great deal of advice for these different interviewing situations. In her post at InsideHigherEd, Dennihy offers eight tips for 'Acing the Interview'. Check out her suggestions--they might just give you the advice you need to push you into the invitation to a campus visit.


Fresh Approaches to Writing for the New Year

Is writing more one of your New Year's resolutions? If so (or if you just have to write more in any case, and you saved your resolution for something a little more fun), you may want to check out Emily Wenstrom's post at The Write Practice

In her post, Emily proposes '4 Ways to Write More in 2015': wake up earlier, plan out your writing goals, write in the spare moments throughout your day, and writing with more than just a computer keyboard. The suggestions she makes are minor changes to a writer's day, and they have the potential to make your writing process much more efficient. Check out her ideas to see what might work for you, or what other ideas they bring to mind.


How to Best Interview Your Job Interviewers

“Do you have any questions for us?” asked one of the voices on the other end of the line.

I was coming up on the end of my first telephone job interview, and, as happens in all interviews, the tables had now turned. It was my turn to ask them questions.

It was an expected turn of events, of course, and I had some questions prepared. However, the interview committee spoke at some length about the program and the expectations for the position I was interviewing for, which negated several of the questions I had ready. I was still able to ask a few questions, but I was left wishing I had a few more at hand.

Thankfully for all of my (and your) future interviews, however, Karen Kelsky of The Professor Is In has a post on Vitae that provides structure and examples for asking questions to an interview committee. Noting that “your questions should show an understanding of the departmental and campus profile and mission, and should also indirectly communicate that you will be a pleasant and collegial colleague,” Kelsky indicates some methods of framing questions, and provides some sample questions for both research- and teaching-intensive institutions.

If you are preparing for interviews in the near future, consider Kelsky’s post as one more potential guide for shaping your job hunting methods.


How to Craft a Motivating Schedule

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of pursuing a Ph.D. is the scheduling. There is a lot to do, not much time to do it, and – most importantly – the pressure to get things done is more internal than external. Sure, your department, advisor, and committee want to see you graduate earlier rather than later, but there are few specific daily or weekly deadlines to work with. You need to set those yourself, and you often only have yourself to answer to if you don’t make them.

Because of this solitude, it is important for Ph.D. students to create schedules that they like, that motivate them, that allow them to accomplish their work in a timely, effective manner. If you are interested in creating a more effective schedule, Eva Lantsought’s blog has a post that can get you started. Rebecca Pollet, a guest writer for PhD Talk, has a post that explains the kind of schedule that motivates her, and simplifies each element of her schedule so that her readers can use it as a starting point for creating their own effective schedules. Give it a look and see what you can take away from it.


'Orange Is the New Black' Selected as UCSB Reads Book for 2015

UCSB Reads, currently in its ninth year of existence through the Davidson Library and the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor, has announced its book selection for the 2015 program: Piper Kerman’s best-selling memoir "Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison."

In the book, Kerman chronicles the 13 months she spent at a federal women’s minimum-security prison in Connecticut for laundering drug money. Blond and blue-eyed, with a supportive family, a good lawyer, a college education, and a job waiting for her, Kerman realized she was more fortunate than many of her prison peers. Still, prisoner No. 11187-424 endured the humiliation of “squat and cough” searches, moldy showers, and abuse or indifference from staff. Kerman was surprised, however, to also find friendship, generosity, wisdom and acceptance in relationships she developed with fellow inmates.

UCSB Reads attempts to bring the university and the community of Santa Barbara together through a common reading experience. The program kicks off at the start of the winter quarter with Chancellor Yang giving away free books to UCSB students in the library. A variety of UCSB Reads events (book clubs, film screenings, exhibitions, and faculty panel discussions) exploring the book and its themes are held between January and April. The program culminates with a live appearance by the author. Previous book selections have included “The Big Burn,”  "Moonwalking With Einstein," and "Moby Duck." 

For more information on the UCSB Reads 2015 selection, read the Office of Public Affairs and Communications news release.

The Davidson Library is currently welcoming ideas and participation from students for the 2015 program. If you have suggestions for events, or if you would like to co-sponsor an event, please contact Rebecca Metzger, the Assistant University Librarian for Outreach and Academic Collaboration, at