Embrace the fresh start spring offers!
Spring is just around the corner, and that means it’s a great time to refresh and refocus. Lots of people will be cleaning out their houses and getting rid of the old to make way for the new, but as a graduate student, you can do some “spring cleaning” of your own to help ensure you’re on track with your academic and professional goals.
Here are five ways you can spring clean as a graduate student:
1. Make a plan for the rest of the year
For some graduate students, the last few weeks of February and beginning of early March mean waiting to hear back on whether they were accepted into PhD programs they applied to the previous year. Whether or not you were accepted into your schools of choice, now is a great time to make a plan. If you were accepted to your top program, what’s your timeline for moving to your new city, getting acquainted with the particulars of the program and securing part-time employment or research opportunities in your field? If you weren’t accepted, will you be applying to new schools in the fall, strengthening your applications and re-applying or taking time off for another endeavor? Clarify what the rest of the year will look like for you, and break down any larger goals or tasks into smaller, manageable steps.
If you didn’t apply to PhD programs and are still completing your master’s, create a plan for the rest of the year that includes any dissertation work you must do, conferences that would be useful to attend and how you’ll spend your summer term.
2. Update your resume, portfolio and other materials
Even if you’re not actively applying to schools or jobs, take an evening and update your résumé, portfolio, personal website and other materials. Add new experiences to these items, and, if necessary, new objectives. Having these materials ready-to-go means you can respond quickly to new opportunities.
3. Learn a new skill
Is there a skill you’ve been wanting to learn, but haven’t had time for? Embrace the fresh spirit of spring and finally sign up for that class or workshop. If there’s a certification you’ve been meaning to get or a summer internship you’re interested in, now’s a great time to make moves in that department as well.
4. Get moving outside
Clear away any mental clutter compiled over the winter by exercising outside more often. Now that the weather’s warm, you can enjoy morning runs, afternoon walks, yoga in the park and swims in the outdoor pool. Regular exercise is important to overall health and can help you return to your work with more focus. Plus, a little vitamin D from the sunshine is great for your mood.
5. Spruce up your space
Whether you’re living in a dorm, apartment or at home with family, take a little time to spruce up your space for spring. They say a messy desk leads to a messy mind, so file away all old papers from last year and corral notebooks, writing materials and other items in storage containers. Add some potted plants to your desk to mark the start of the new season – they’re good feng shui, symbolizing growth and new beginnings.
Spring is an exciting time full of opportunity and a wonderful chance to clear away the old to welcome the new. The ideas above can help you refresh, boost your energy and get in the right frame of mind to approach the rest of the year with confidence!