Grad Student Experiences in Leadership (Throwback Thursday)

Series note:  The following post is part of the Rutgers Graduate Student Blog Throwback Thursday blog series, in which we will repost one of our most popular blog posts from years past.

scrollThis will be a different type of blog post. This is actually a blog post from 14 graduate students who graduated from the Rutgers Pre-Doctoral Leadership Development Institute (PLDI). This post is composed of short notes about their experiences and serves to thank the Faculty and Staff involved in PLDI. Continue reading “Grad Student Experiences in Leadership (Throwback Thursday)”

Grad Student Experiences in Leadership

scrollThis will be a different type of blog post. This is actually a blog post from 14 graduate students who are about to graduate (or graduated) from the Rutgers Pre-Doctoral Leadership Development Institute (PLDI). This post is composed of short notes about their experiences and serves to thank the Faculty and Staff involved in PLDI.

What is PLDI?

Rutgers’ Pre-Doctoral Leadership Development Institute program (PLDI)  is designed to teach doctoral students aspiring to careers in academia how to navigate the challenges of academic leadership and thrive in the university environment. In this two-year certificate program, our professors shared a very precious gift with us – their experience. We created this blog in order to share our experience with them, with respect and appreciation for the gift they have so graciously given us. We hope that this will continue to serve as a reflective space for affiliates and future cohorts to share their perspectives.

-The PLDI Class of 2013

Tara Coleman: Program in Comparative Literature

When I first started the PLDI program and told my Dad about it, he looked at me strangely and asked why I needed leadership training if I was going to be a professor. He doesn’t know it, but I have already benefitted from my training a great deal, in ways as simple as being able to participate meaningfully in debates among my family and friends about Rutgers, the challenges facing higher education, and how I see my future in this field.

Continue reading “Grad Student Experiences in Leadership”

Be yourself and don’t take things too seriously

It’s almost a year since I came Rutgers as a graduate student, and I have to say: “Oh, I love it here!” To new graduate students, I’d like to share my experience here with you: don’t take things too seriously, and I bet you’ll love Rutgers too!

Enjoy your time at Rutgers!

There are smiles and tears in this first year.  I enjoy the knowledge I get from my courses – I want to learn. I’m happy to be a good TA, and I make the effort to improve each recitation I give. It’s always great to meet cute and kind people, and at Rutgers you’ll meet many.

Sometimes I distance myself from the crowd, not because I am too shy to show my friendship, on the contrary, it’s exactly because I want to develop friendships. It’s important to maintain friendship with people in your work circle, which is a key element in guaranteeing efficiency and cooperation in a research project, and a happy environment for study and working. Always keep in mind that studying and doing research is why you have come to Rutgers.

Be yourself and don’t take things too seriously.

Maybe you have a general goal for yourself when entering graduate school — you know what you are interested in and ready to dedicate yourself to research in your area of interest, however, life is not always as you expect it to be. It’s not always how hard you’re willing to work — there are many things that you cannot control — but what you can do is to find a balance between your goals and the environment you are in.

Maybe you like a research group very much but decide that it would not further your research goals; maybe you have found a suitable group but realize that you have not sufficient passion for the particular project and need to dig out a topic that you like.  Be yourself, and don’t hesitate discussing the project with your professor, letting him/her know what you want to do and getting suggestions. Everything is changing very fast — just remember to keep your goal in mind and be ready to adjust it as necessary to stay in balance with your environment.

Think a second time before making decisions, try your best to accomplish everything you decide to do, keep in mind your life goals, and find balance with the changing world — that’s it —  nothing to regret, and enjoy every day. Like an old song said “whatever will be, will be”.

Green Scenes

With a heatwave hitting the northeast and summer underway, I find myself just a bit nostalgic for this year’s cooler spring. But only a bit.

I took these on a beautiful afternoon this past semester when I still needed to do some reading for class but wanted to get outside of the library. I stumbled upon this oasis, complete with benches, shady trees, and even a couple of ducks swimming around as I ate my lunch and finished up some research. Next time you’re on Cook campus on a nice day, head over to Passion Puddle, where you can enjoy the greener side of Rutgers.

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TEDxRutgers 2012

Vukosi Marivate

TEDxRutgers 2012 has come and gone (Website). I thought I should put my thoughts up about the event. I was one of the organizers of this and last year’s event. I take events like these as great opportunities to get to know and work with other students around the university. There are always so many things going on at Rutgers on any given day during the semester. Just check the GetInvolved website for the very long list.

Given this great number of things to do, students have a large variety of activities to choose from. My advice is to actually choose something and go with it instead of being overwhelmed by choice. The experience, outside my day to day research, is refreshing and rewarding. You get to meet new people who are not in your discipline, share ideas and potential collaborations in things you had never thought of before.

TEDxRutgers was, for me, one of those rewarding experiences. I started off in 2010 just as an attendee at the first one. The event was and still is run mostly but our great undergraduate students but I saw an opportunity to bring in some of my experience and joined the team as an organizer in 2012. The speakers in 2012 were from diverse backgrounds from in, around and outside the university. You can read more about the speakers here. We had students, faculty and performers.

My main responsibility was management of the website as well as all of the social media. I have a large interest in social media, especially as it pertains to mining data. Aside: Always be on the lookout for the opportunity to attend some of the Network Science/Social Media seminars/talks hosted at the Department of Computer Science or School of Communication. We had a great campaign for the event. Growing the Facebook page to 600 fans and having a reach (potential people who saw our posts on Facebook) of close to 15,000. Twitter was even better with a reach of close to 32,000 people. Below is a snapshot of the traffic generated on Twitter on the day of the event.

TEDxRutgers 2012 Twitter Reach
Uploaded with Skitch!

The only thing I think is heavily missing from the events is more participation of graduate students. Not only as organizers but also as attendees. It really is just a day out of the year but I believe we as grad students have so much to offer given our diverse experiences and the fields we work in.