Identify the issue
Solving a personal or interpersonal problem in graduate school starts with understanding it fully. You have to be your own investigative reporter. To begin, it may help to know that the issue you are grappling with is one that many women face in STEM Ph.D. programs. The modules in Common Concerns describe these in some depth. Next, it is crucial to Understand the Context in which the issue comes up. The features of the proximal and distal environments you work in - their practices, policies, norms, and expectations - can create difficult situations for you but also offer resources. And then there is you. Better Understanding Yourself and how you interact with your environment sets the stage for developing a strategy to deal with the issue effectively.
Apply our problem solving method
As emerging scientists and engineers, you are accustomed to grappling with technical, research, and design problems in a considered 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.
We present the CareerWISE Coach Problem-Solving Method, the key to handling whatever comes your way...or gets in your way! The Coach Problem-Solving Method comprises two primary components. The first is the process of problem-solving by systematically following a sequence of steps. The second is strengthening specific skills that are associated with the steps of the process.
Communicate more effectively
Almost everyone has difficulties with communication at some point or another. Conveying your needs, thoughts, and feelings in an academic or professional environment can be especially challenging.
The experience may leave you feeling nervous or even intimidated, especially when power dynamics are in play. Understanding fully what is involved and mastering the fundamental skills can make a big difference in how your career evolves.
HerStory videos chronicle successful women in science and engineering who have completed their doctoral degrees and progressed into STEM careers. Each interviewee discusses and reflects upon her own experiences during graduate school. They are organized by the Common Concern topics: Advisor Issues, Balance, Climate, and Delays.
If you find that you like a particular speaker while you are watching a video, you can read their biographical information and find more of their videos by following the links below the video player. Every video also links to related or similar topics in the “related videos” drawer.