The Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education recently hosted Dr. Leslie Ellen Blood, Director of Graduate Community and Professional Development at the University of Colorado Boulder, who conducted three seminars to graduate students, program directors, support staff, and associate deans.

Dr. Blood’s research shows that developing excellent habit practices reduces decision-making fatigue, increases productivity, and encourages the happiness and well-being of graduate students. She outlined accountability and goal setting for graduate students, as well as tips on how to become a grittier, happier, and more efficient graduate student. View video here

The seminar for graduate program directors and support staff focused on strategies to support students engaged in long-term projects like thesis, dissertation, and independent research. Similarly, the seminar for graduate deans focused on plans to support diverse graduate students’ degree progression and completion. 

Dr. Blood shared her use of the enneagram to understand personality types and how Gretchen Rubin’s book, Four Tendencies, shapes her work. Key takeaways from these sessions were how graduate students and Chapman staff can: 1) be accountable; 2) develop time management skills; 3) leverage student accountability style strengths when creating goals and timelines; 4) use values to frame goals and create habit structures to support the goals; 5) increase resilience and decrease resistance; 6) perform isolation-busting practices; 7) build good writing habits; 8) track habits; 9) measure progress; and 10) celebrate milestones.

One message students heard loud and clear was when Dr. Blood shouted, “Eat the Frog!” and quoted Mark Twain, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest (and hairiest frog) first.” Relating this advice to graduate student work, Dr. Blood’s recommendation is to tackle the hardest and most undesirable work on your plate first, avoid procrastinating, and then move on to the easier or more desirable tasks thereafter.

For more information on graduate student programs and supports, visit the graduate education website.