Graduate students are notoriously busy; during the academic year, it can be hard to devote time to skills development. Summer, though, is a perfect time to develop new skills that will enable you to better tackle your short- and long-term goals when the fall semester arrives.
There are many resources available to help you improve your skills set over the summer, whether you’re going to be around campus or not! Below are a few suggestions.
For more ideas and information, read the Graduate Student Professional Development Guide, subscribe to the bimonthly Professional Development Digest, or contact Linda Louie, Professional Development Resource Coordinator.
- Take a look at the Quick Guides to Writing Resources, Scientific and Technical Writing, Dissertation Writing, Scholarly Publishing, and Style Manuals on the Graduate Writing Center’s website for a wealth of recommended reading on these topics.
- Sometimes, to take your writing to the next level, all you need is time and a quiet space to work. The Dissertation Writer’s Room, located in Graduate Services in Doe Library, is open during business hours over the summer. All doctoral students advanced to candidacy can use this comfortable space to write. You can also rent a locker in this room to store your books and other materials.
- While you’re in the library, check out Writing your Journal Article in 12 Weeks (Belcher, 2009) — there is a copy on hold in Graduate Services. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of revising an article and submitting it for publication. A perfect summer project!
- Activate your institutional membership to the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity to take part in their 14-Day Writing Challenge, July 8-21, 2018. In this challenge, you commit to writing every day for at least 30 minutes. The website provides a structure for timing your writing, tracking your progress, and participating in an online support community. You can learn a daily writing habit in just two weeks!
Public Speaking and Language Skills
- Toast of Berkeley, a Toastmasters club, meets year-round on Tuesdays 7:15-8:30 p.m. in 650 Barrows Hall. Their meetings help participants become more confident and effective public speakers. All are welcome, whether English is your first language or not, and whether you are just starting out or honing your skills.
- If you’re off campus this summer but want to develop your public speaking skills, check out this one-hour “Public Speaking Foundations” course on Lynda.com (students have free access!).
- If you want to develop your English pronunciation, listening comprehension, or grammar and vocabulary, check out the great language resources for international GSIs from the Graduate Student Instructor Teaching and Resource Center.
Teaching and Mentoring
- Whether you’re teaching for the first time next year, or just hoping to take your pedagogy to the next level, there are lots of great tips on the GSI Teaching & Resource Center’s Online Library. You can browse award-winning GSI teaching ideas, read research about how students learn, or watch videos of great Berkeley GSIs in action.
- Summer is a great time to reflect on which of your mentoring needs are currently being met and which are not. What steps could you take to improve your existing mentoring relationships? Are there new mentors you would like to seek out? Read Getting Mentored in Graduate School (Johnson and Huwe, 2003) for more ideas — there are library copies available!
Research and Data Analysis
- Berkeley’s D-Lab offers free workshops on R, Python, qualitative data analysis software, Excel, data visualization, and much more. Check out their calendar – you could learn a new programming language in just a week! Total beginners are welcome in many classes – see individual workshop descriptions for details.
- You can access online instruction for almost any technology or software platform on Lynda.com using the campus’s new institutional membership. You can follow a structured learning path (like this one, “Become a Front-End Web Developer”) or just watch one course at a time (like this 23-minute video, “Excel: PivotTable for Beginners”).
- You can use the summer to map out the grants and fellowships you want to apply for next year. Mark the requirements and deadlines in your calendar now using the Graduate Division Fellowships and Awards website, and you’ll be sure not to miss any opportunities when the busy fall comes around.
Leadership and Management
- Management skills come in handy in any setting, from running a lab to chairing a committee to applying for jobs in industry. Check out one- to two-hour courses on Lynda.com that cover coaching employees, managing teams, and delegating tasks.
- Summer is the perfect time to think intentionally about how you want to contribute to campus and to your discipline in the coming year. You may want to research becoming a Graduate Assembly delegate, joining a working group, organizing a conference, or engaging in community outreach. This is a great time to figure out what your availability is like next year and to explore commitments you’d like to make.
Career Exploration and Preparation
- Are you curious about what you can do with your degree? Browse the resources on these three free career exploration websites: ImaginePhD (for humanities and social sciences students), MyIDP (for STEM students), and VersatilePhD (for everyone, with Berkeley’s institutional membership).
- Berkeley’s dedicated PhD Career Counselors are here this summer and available for confidential individual appointments. They can help you explore the career options available to you and help you write CVs and résumés, prepare for industry interviews or academic job talks, and much more.
- So many career exploration and preparation books are available for graduate students. For your beach reading this summer, consider So What Are You Going to Do With That? Finding Careers Outside Academia (Basalla and Debelius, 2015), The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning your Ph.D. into a Job (Kelsky, 2015), or the classic What Color is your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers (Bolles, 2017).
- Activate your institutional membership to the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity and you’ll have access to the great videos in their library on topics such as: “Imposter Syndrome: How to Recognize It Overcome It, and Realize Your Academic Goals,” “5 Secrets to a Super Productive Semester,” and “Drama-Free Collaborations: How to Develop and Sustain Healthy Partnerships with Co-Authors.”
- Join a summer goal-setting group hosted by Graduate Professional Development – you’ll set goals for the summer and then check in once a month with your group, which will offer support and help you stay on track. Contact Professional Development Resource Coordinator Linda Louie, Ph.D., for more information.