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Learning Objectives

Become resilient by learning to:

  • Understand yourself
  • Better understand your current situation
  • Learn a set of skills to build resiliency or your "bounce-back-ability"

Feeling Overwhelmed?

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. In fact, it’s pretty normal to experience multiple hassles and obstacles to varying extents throughout your graduate school experience:

  • Too much work?
  • Not enough sleep?
  • Feeling stressed out?
  • Calling the lab “home”?

The good news is that there are ways to manage the challenges you experience.

Goal of the Problem-Solving Method: Build Resilience

During difficult times it’s easy to lose sight of your passions and goals. The CareerWISE Problem-Solving Model can help you stay focused and motivated, in spite of personal and professional challenges that may make you feel like you have gotten off track.

Career Goals & Motivation is a module intended to help you learn how your beliefs and goals are related to how you act and what you achieve.

Being resilient means that no matter what life throws at you, you will be able to manage it. Resilience helps you turn challenges into opportunities. Through the CareerWISE four-step Problem Solving Method, you will find personalized learning materials that will build your resilience by helping you to:

  • Understand yourself
  • Better understand your current situation
  • Learn a set of skills to build resiliency or your “bounce-back-ability”

Resilience is a module intended to help you bounce back when you are confronted with a challenging situation—professionally and personally.

Managing the Culture of American Universities

The CareerWISE materials can also serve as a cultural guide to manage common problems in American universities. There are many different cultures represented in graduate programs throughout the country. As students come from all different parts of the U.S., as well as from around the world, and bring a wealth of knowledge and diversity to universities everywhere. The skills and concepts presented are intended to address issues that are often found in science and engineering departments in the U.S. It's important for students to feel that they can retain their culture and be successful in graduate school, even if the disciplinary "culture" is different from their own.

International Students is a module intended to help you learn how to manage the stressors that often accompany the issues that international students experience.

Things to Keep in Mind

The CareerWISE Problem-Solving Method is not a linear process. Rather, it’s a cyclical one that involves trying out similar tactics for different problems or regrouping when a strategy doesn’t work out as planned.

You have the awareness and ability to use these resilience skills to manage your current concern and those that may come up in the future. They just take practice and determination— things you already do very well as a graduate student. Commit to yourself and your goals as you would an important project or grant in the lab.

The resources presented on this website can be used for many more circumstances beyond the situations presented here. You can always return to the CareerWISE site for supportive resources and for a refresher on the topics that are important to you.

The CareerWISE Problem Solving Method

As emerging scientists and engineers, you are accustomed to grappling with technical, research, and design problems in a considerate and scientific way. The CareerWISE Problem Solving Method builds on the scientific processes that you know well but applies them to problems, like personal and professional challenges, that are different from the ones you typically address in your projects and experiments.

The CareerWISE Problem-Solving Method guides you through four steps:





Working through these four steps will take you to dozens and dozens of skill-building units, personal testimonials, interactive learning opportunities, and self-tests. These materials are intended to help you feel more confident about your ability to handle both everyday and tough problems as well as develop strategies to be successful, both personally and professionally. Following the Problem-Solving modules step-by-step is the best way to take advantage of all the resources on this site. We recommend this path if you are new to the site.

Lack of Women Role Models
The importance of sharing stories of sexual harassment with others and realizing that you are not alone.

Getting Married During Graduate School
The decision to get married in graduate school.

Critical Mass
Captures the annoyance of male colleagues making sexist assumptions and the challenges with conference travel as a female graduate student.

An Example of How to Negotiate (Part 2)
Strategies for negotiating as a faculty member.

Sexual Harassment: It's Not Just You
The importance of sharing stories of sexual harassment with others to gain support.

It's the Little Things that Annoy You (Part 1)
The importance of picking your battles to avoid unfair labeling.

Thwarting Thoughts of Quitting
The importance of goal setting and using others' experiences to make strong choices about your own path.

How to Have Sexual Harassment Policies
How to be upfront, direct, and assertive when confronting instances of sexual harassment.


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