Boston University – Boston, MA – 3rd Year, PhD Student
It may be that not all faculty and admin have the same understanding about program requirements, important forms and administrative processes, etc. Approach this like a research process: consult a variety of sources and triangulate your data to figure out important steps you need to take; raise questions when you find contradictory info; and share your findings because they may contribute to the field (i.e. your advisor and peers may not be aware of crucial information you find out!).
READ READ READ, widely, across disciplines/fields/methods, beyond what you are assigned in class.
Manage your energy: figure out what times of day work best for you to write (or do the most demanding intellectual work) because your mind is fresh; organize your daily schedule to block those times out for big assignments. Leave less-demanding tasks for times of day when you’re more tired.
Schedule breaks for yourself! Plan in exercise, cooking, sleep, meditation, etc. so that during your work times you can be most attentive and productive.
Don’t expect one person to be the got-it-all mentor or advisor. View mentorship as distributed across people/communities/spaces/experiences; figure out what each’s strengths are, what you can learn from them and what you need to look for elsewhere. Examples of pieces of mentorship that you might find across multiple people/communities/experiences: intellectual inspiration and growth, looking out for your practical needs to get through the program, emotional support and encouragement, networking connections, familiarity with and ideally institutional influence within your particular program/institution…