(7) Inspiration and Exhortations

  1. “Write fearlessly. Teach fearlessly. Be fearless!” (Dr. Frank Pajares, per jchen04)
  2. “Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett
  3. GRIT: Make SURE you’ve got it, according to this article about grit.
  4. Live with a faith God can SEE. – Joel Osteen
  5. FOCUS IN: The most successful, productive people BLOCK TIMES OUT to do the ONE BEST THING that would either make everything easier or unnecessary. – Keller & Papasan
  6. The Vulnerable Professional (shared at PhinisheD by participant miranda67):
    The confident professional writes while scared about his or her project. This confident professional occupies a liminal space. The “graduate student” within constantly pipes up about the need for perfection and acceptance. The professional presupposes that perfection isn’t possible yet aims for excellence. I am the Vulnerable Confident Professional who writes while scared, and I suggest that most of us here are as well. To succeed, we have to embrace the paradoxes of our position. We have to accept the strangeness of feeling scared yet confident, vulnerable yet tough, discouraged yet excited. Once we get to the other side, we may discover that the confident professional experiences this mixture of feelings as often as any graduate student. Until then, it’s about waiting. Waiting and writing, and writing as we wait to embrace the confident professional within. 

    I gather these ideas from two resources:

    Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day (Joan Bolker)

    “It’s a rare dissertation writer who is never really scared about his project. Writing a dissertation provides the perfect medium foranxiety, for both healthy and neurotic reasons. It’s a big deal to write a book, both psychologically and realistically” (91). 

    The Work of Writing (Elizabeth Rankin)

    “Who is this ‘graduate student’ who keeps popping up at inauspicious times? It is the self-assured yet hesitant, assertive yet deferential and conflicted self that emerges whenever we find ourselves paying less attention to what we’re saying than to how it will be received. For Wayne Booth this overawareness of audience usually results in a rhetorical imbalance that he calls ‘advertiser’s stance.’ In academic and professional writing, though, it might be more appropriately called ‘dissertation stance’ . . . Although some academic and professional writers adopt the dissertation stance in virtually everything they write, most of us probably revert to it only when we are feeling particularly vulnerable as writers. . . In these situations, we may sometimes feel like graduate students again, but if we are to persuade others to accept our ideas, we need to speak in the voice of the confident professional” (62-3).

  7. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  8. “I can’t do everything all of the time, but the efforts that I make are mine to make, no matter whom I teach and what I study.” (lesson Alyssa gleaned from Overstreet. To see Alyssa’s complete, full, and wonderful contribution, please see either the Key Co-Author Submissions page or the COMMENTS to this blog’s initial, “founding” post.)
  9. Every morning, fill in the following blank: “The BEST thing(s) I could possibly do today regarding my research is to: ___________________________________.” Once you’ve identified this, make a way for it/them to happen as much as possible. Once you have done your best to clear room, time, and resources for it, and once you have done your best to get it done, mentally and emotionally REST. The best has been done.
  10. “The best dissertation is a done dissertation.” (Sonja Foss and William Waters discussing their AERA-promoted book Destination Dissertation: A Traveler’s Guide to a Done Dissertation, on the wisdom of designing a dissertation that has a VERY HIGH “doable” rating as opposed to one that is predictably difficult and has potential pitfalls)
More to come . . . so please check back periodically! Thank you for stopping by!

2 thoughts on “(7) Inspiration and Exhortations

  1. Jason, your comment is so on point.

    In the process of giving of yourself to help others, you make yourself a mentor. In our field, that is professional development!

    As I ever remind myself to see myself as a researcher (and not as a practitioner posing as a researcher just because that’s the transition I’m making), articulating what I’ve learned and what I now know has been essential to the process. Watching people take notes about what you share, or hearing people say “Thanks, that helped me to be able to _______” affirms the transition is happening.

    Thanks for reminding us to see ourselves both as still growing but having grown. Important!!!

  2. From my own personal blog … I thought I’d share over here too 🙂 It’s called “Emptiness.”

    There’s a Chinese saying that goes like this: “The usefulness of a cup is in its emptiness.” As young scholars we spend a lot of our time and efforts in trying to consume information–filling our minds with articles and book chapters written by the greats, listening to what our advisors say, and going to sessions like graduate student seminars or early career seminars. We follow this pattern for as long as we feel like we have reached a point when we are “experts.”

    But unless we pour that cup out, we cease to be useful. I can relate to this. After losing my mentor, I hungered for mentorship; I felt completely helpless and approached the rest of my doctoral career from a deficiency perspective. I think that mindset also carried over to my postdoctoral career. But I am beginning to move on from that mindset. The paradox of mentorship is that mentorship is most effective when YOU contribute at least as much mentoring as you receive. When you receive more than you give, you cease to be useful. Regardless of our situations, we have accomplished what we have because we have learned something along the way. Those things we learn are lessons that can be taught to others. Our hunger for mentorship should be matched or even exceeded by our hunger to mentor others.

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