6 Tips for proofreading your own academic writing

Academic writing is one of the main things you’ll be judged on as a graduate student. It shows how much you really learned when you were earning that degree. Now that you’re out into the world, things aren’t much different. Every piece of academic writing you do has to be just as good as the ones you wrote in college – if not better. You don’t have a professor to proofread for you anymore, and now the task rests solely in your hands. It’s sometimes difficult, but practice makes perfect.

How to prepare for your (shudder) doctoral dissertation defense

Most universities require a final doctoral defense of your precious work. Almost everyone who has a doctorate has a final defense story. Often they are the worst horror stories one can imagine, short of a bedroom intruder, and emblazoned on the mind of the teller forever.

For example . . . A friend of mine was obviously pregnant at her defense. After she successfully passed, her chair, staring at her bulk, informed her with a tone of incontrovertibility that her entire graduate education had been a “waste.” Outrageous, I know. I’m very glad to say she proved the chair wrong. Later, with two kids, she became an award-winning professor at Brandeis.

Why vision boards work and why you should make one today [for authors]

Visualization is a powerful tool. Athletes have harnessed this power for decades. In fact, visualization stimulates the same regions of the brain as actually performing the action does. This powerful tool, however, isn’t just for athletes. Writers too, can benefit from it. One way to do this, and express your creative self while doing so, is to create a vision board. A vision board is literally a board of some kind that you display images on to help you concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal (or goals) you have.

Holiday strategies to honor your all-important academic project

The holidays can be wonderful times for reconnecting with family and friends, taking breathers from the daily-weekly-yearly chase of accomplishment, kindling or rekindling feelings of love, warmth, and generosity even to those who have published much more than you, and indulging in delectable seasonal goodies. But we academics often feel conflicted about how much time to “take off.” Maybe we’re feeling the pressure of having to participate in holiday events. Maybe we’re worried about being grilled by well-intentioned family or friends about the progress of our dissertation, article, or book. Maybe we’re very aware of the dangerous loss of momentum from our work. Maybe we just don’t like all those jolly gatherings.

Here, from clients who have suffered through such “maybes,” I suggest three holiday strategies you can apply, depending on the severity of your “maybes” and your fortitude. We don’t have to be at the mercy of the holidays!

How to build effective collaboration

As a graduate student or early career academic you likely have a packed schedule. Trying to get published can be a daunting task, especially when you feel you have to do it alone. But maybe you don’t have to. If you can find the right person or persons to collaborate with, say doctoral students Tracey S. Hodges and Katherine Landau Wright, you are less likely to be stressed, and more likely to be productive and on the path to publishing success. Hodges and Wright share the following advice for effective collaboration:

10 Ways to tease out your perfect dissertation topic

If you’re beginning or in the throes of your dissertation, you may know from other long-suffering students that the work engenders a love-hate relationship, with all the exasperations, frustrations, teeth-clenching, and eye-rolling, and occasional affection, elation, and fulfillment (eventually) of a primary human relationship. Therefore, your topic, like your partner, should be one that initially excites you and sustains you throughout the inevitable rages and reconciliations, desires to divorce yourself from it or run back to its scholarly arms, and finally settle into a consistent satisfying relationship.