I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since my last post! This summer has been a lot more hectic than I ever thought it would be, but the quest to grow leaders take a summer vacation.
With Amy Bishop’s (Forum editor) help I’m starting a column titled “Advice on advisers.” It will first appear in the Fall and in that inaugural column I try to give students a little perspective on the life of an academic. I wanted them to understand the sometimes intense pressure advisers are under to perform in research, teaching and to a lesser degree, service. I also encourage the students to stop and say “Thank you” every once in awhile.
But as I wrote that article I began thinking about what I’m doing to help my students understand the demands on my time. I certainly don’t want to come across as a whiner, complaining about how hard I have to work and how I had to walk to school barefoot…uphill both ways! But I think it’s OK to let them know what you’re up to now and again.
I think it’s healthy for them to see how busy you are…as long as you don’t try and get any martyr points out of the deal. It helps put what they’re doing into perspective. It also helps them understand why you aren’t always able to get back to them immediately or why PRSSA might not be the highest priority at the moment. Ideally, you’re also modeling proper work/life balance (an area with which I have a great deal of trouble).
Finally, a little bit of encouragement goes a long way. I tell my students to focus on two things: Passion and confidence. If they are passionate about what they’re doing and have confidence in their abilities, they’ll go far. This approach has often been exactly the kind of encouragement my students have needed. The results have usually been well worth the effort!