You had the momentum going, you had the juice. So now what?
How do you make sure you continue progressing, continue moving, continue evolving after exponential growth? This will be an extension of my previous post “Making it through the middle of your PhD.” Now, we’re talking about continuing the growth.
I’ve realized I put a lot of work on the front end, but at that time, didn’t realize I was “sowing” my future. I was applying for everything, always saying yes, just moving in areas that I was most interested in. All I knew was that after months of attending meetings, planning events, helping friends through tough times I was tired.
And then it was the quiet before the “storm”.
It took about 3-4 months before all the “rewards” (scroll to the bottom for the list) for what I had been doing came to fruition. And it was hitting back to back to back. Not only was I being acknowledged for what I was doing, but I was also seeing the impact I was having on others because of what I was doing.
I have made it past my reflective period, now what? This is the valley after the peak, the moment where people get comfortable and fail to realize there is another peak to climb. Life is a cycle of peaks and valleys. In academia there are some professors who “sit on their laurels” meaning the stop thriving and growing because they have so many accomplishments behind their name. This happens either because they are tired or have no idea what they can do next. If you are of the latter scenario, here are some suggestions
- Dream: If there were no barriers, when life works 100% in your favor, what can you create?
- Connect: Talk to those who know what else is out there and determine where you want to be.
- Explore: Put yourself in new surroundings and watch how you respond.
My time in the valley was about 3 weeks, with about 4 weeks leading to and 3 weeks exiting. That’s about two and a half months. Take the time you need, when you need it.
Now ask yourself, “What’s next? Where else will I go?”
*Below is the list of rewards I was referring to earlier.
- Deans Climate and Diversity Award
- Blog post (http://www.studentfarm.psu.edu/…/guest-blog-are-you-meat-d…/)
- Featured on a podcast (http://pfforphds.com/travel-and-savings-are-this-frugal-gr…/)
- Voices Conference co-chair (https://news.psu.edu/…/graduate-women-science-host-professi…)
- 2nd place Restek Award (https://www.restek.com/news/view/?p=2276) and (http://bmb.psu.edu/…/latisha-franklin-wins-2nd-place-at-the…)
- SLOAN Scholar
- Became a PhD candidate
- Treasurer of Black Graduate Student Association
- Celebration of Black Lives event co-chair
- 2018 Stephanie Danette Preston Service Award
- Graduate School Alumni Society Board’s Office of Graduate Educational Equity Programs graduate student seat nomination and holder
- Organized a lunch series for Minority Graduate Students in STEM
- Planned and took a personal trip to Iceland
- Purposefully designed a space for myself
- Upgraded items in my life
- Found my voice