Understand Yourself: Overview

You might be tempted to imagine that the problems you experience lie outside of you. Yet the reason they are your problems is that somehow you have a role in them, whether you are reacting to someone or something, allowing them to get in your way or actually contributing to or perpetuating them. Sometimes you unknowingly bait a dilemma with your thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Understanding yourself first is part of what differentiates interpersonal and personal problem-solving from technical problem-solving. An essential part of assessing a problem is identifying how your thinking and feeling styles and your unique preferences influence your part in the situation.

Resilience

The purpose of building resilience is to fortify yourself with coping tools and supports that will serve you for the long-term. Expanding your resilience assets will help you sustain your interest, motivation, and success in pursuing your goals and fulfilling your passions.

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Coping and Self-Efficacy

Coping is any effort you make to alleviate stress, control your environment, or overcome something you find threatening. Self- efficacy is your belief about your ability to perform a particular behavior successfully; it is a type of self-confidence. Your patterns of dealing with problems and your confidence in how you manage them contribute to the magnitude of a problem.

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How You Think

Your thinking habits affect how you feel and how you respond to different situations. Thinking refers to your internal dialogue about anything that comes up in your moment-to-moment, day-to-day life. Unless you stop yourself, it’s easy to get caught up in debilitating patterns of thinking.

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Emotional Styles

Your emotional patterns contribute to your successes or setbacks and even your health. You may sometimes let your feelings drown out rational thinking or let your emotions get the best of you.

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Your Stress Triggers

When stress levels get too high, your relationships, focus, productivity, and well-being can all be affected negatively. Recognizing what sets off your stress reactions can help you better understand the “you” in the situation.

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Career Goals & Motivation

Your goals and beliefs about what is important are related to how you act, react, and achieve. Focusing on your goals and passion helps you to assess the elements and importance of a problem.

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The Impression You Make

The impression you make on those who are essential to your academic success matters from the first to the last day of graduate school. Self-presentation requires constant monitoring as mutual impressions can contribute to positive or troubled relationships.

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Your Personality and Preferences

Every exchange between two or more people involves a complex mingling of two distinct personality styles. Understanding how your personality and styles fit your environment and others in it is part of assessing the problem.

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What You Want in a Mentor

A mentor can help support you in your academic, professional, and personal development. Mentors often provide more emotional support and individualized attention than advisors. You can learn to understand what you need specifically and how you can find that support.

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What You Want in an Advisor

Are you getting the type of support you need from your advisor? Before you decide if you are getting the support you need, it is important to understand what exactly an advisor’s role is supposed to be.

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Stereotype Threat

The way you think other people perceive you as a women or member of a minority group can cause anxiety and influence your actual performance in graduate school. If your gender, race, or ethnicity is underrepresented in your program, you might experience stereotype threat.

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