Why are you so nervous that you need a bottle of water to protect you? Do you think this will help your client? Do you think this is going to calm your nerves? I didn't want to sound like a smart ass so I kept my secret to myself. I was parched. Water helps. Day one of clinical supervision began, and the days of being self-conscious free were over. Everyone has a story about ugly mentorship and this is because most of us who are faculty mentors never received training on how to mentor someone. Somehow it was assumed that if you were a strong researcher with good teaching evaluations in classroom settings, you would naturally know how to wisely spend years training a graduate student.
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Unfortunately, mentorship is not simple and thus, finding and cultivating a good mentorship relationship is not simple. The person who can ensure there is a balance of success at work with healthy relationships and self-care. The person who offers access to their skills and wisdom while simultaneously pushing you toward independence. The person who will write letters of recommendations for years and even if you don't ask for them, they will be contacted.
The person who has the power to ruin your reputation and career. Be visible. Forget the notion of virtue as what you do when nobody else is watching. Your mentor only knows what they observe and hear about. One thing we do in our laboratory is use google drive and dropbox. When you use google drive, any document that is shared with a research team retains a record of when someone makes changes. When using dropbox, any changes made to a document will be visible to anyone with shared access to that document.
Without having to say a word, everyone knows what each person contributes. Some of your work will be intellectual and creative, other work will be essential drudgery e. Let your contributors know how hard you work. Sweat equity earns trust and opportunities.
Make reasonable deadlines and hit them. As soon as I delegate a task, my body feels a sense of relief, allowing me to turn my energies elsewhere. Nothing is more annoying than people who say they are going to do something and don't follow through. This means I have to track people down and my confidence in them drops. Every mentor needs students who are autonomous, able to execute plans that have been discussed ad nauseam. Failing to ship reduces opportunities. Learn how to ship on a regular basis. Show gratitude , even if you don't feel it.campninghinsractzea.tk
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When I left Wall Street for a career in psychology, I began as a research assistant at Stony Brook University, trying to get some experience to get into graduate school. I spent over a year, alone in a windowless office, coding videotapes of parent-child interactions for eight hours per day. Hundreds of hours of tedium that led to a single fifth author poster. I was ecstatic. I was honored to be part of an intellectual contribution to the field. I had a celebratory dinner. I told the first four authors how much I appreciated the bone they threw at me.
Things have changed in the past 15 years. When I review graduate school applications, I often find students who are authors on 10 conference presentations and some who are the lead author of a journal article. Using today's standards, I would never have been accepted into graduate school my peers share the same sentiment. I do not believe students work harder now than they did back then. I think the bar has been lowered for authorship. I think the bar for publication has been lowered with the advent of a larger number of second, third, and fourth tier journal outlets see my prior blog post about how anything can be published.
I think the average scientist is more obsessed with the size of their vitae; the sheer quantity of conference submissions and publications. Taken together, there is greater generosity with authorship. Remember this: you are not entitled to authorship unless you make a significant intellectual contribution to a project. If you are the recipient of a mentor's generosity, express your gratitude.
Be effusive. If you feel nothing, question why. You might be in the wrong profession. You might need some emotional intelligence training. As a caveat to the last point, there is a power imbalance with mentors. Authorship is the third rail of academia. Do not let your mentors take your ideas without appropriate credit.
This credit could come in the form of an acknowledgment or an opportunity to transform those ideas into a grant application or research project that might eventually lead to conference presentations and publications. I know faculty members who as grad students had their mentors steal their ideas, write million dollar grants based on them, and never informed them much less included them in the intellectual and monetary riches.
I know faculty members who conducted entire research projects, ran the statistical analyses, wrote the full manuscript, and at the end, were told they would be second author behind their mentor. You do not have to defer to your mentor as if the relationship is a dictatorship. My suggestion is to talk about authorship before projects begin, and regularly throughout the process. Make sure authorship expectations are clear and transparent. Make sure everyone remains flexible; the types of contributions each person makes changes as the project unfolds.
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These conversations can be incredibly uncomfortable. There is nothing wrong with stating that the conversation is painful and you are in uncharted waters. There are great resources on this topic such as this and this and this and read this for an authorship determination worksheet and contract. Dive into the discomfort and talk about a topic that will be of fundamental importance throughout your career. Assertiveness is one of those skills that you can never get enough practice in.
You will never be an expert. Enjoy the good pain of talking about something that matters to you. Consider the value-add of multiple mentors.
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Cultivate strong and consistently maintained mentorship relationships with people other than your graduate advisor. The more mentors you have, the less you depend on any one mentor and the more well-rounded you will be. And you don't walk away with the same holes in your knowledge that your mentor had.
You also have the social support to handle challenging situations from the authorship issues mentioned above to bullying and harassment. When I was in graduate school, I was friends with students who questioned the ethics of their research advisor's behavior in both cases, it was about made up data. This is a huge bind for a graduate student.
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If you have more than one mentor, you increase the odds of a secure base that will get you through hurdles. As for me, I had four research mentors and I published with each of them multiple times. It was the best thing I ever did in graduate school because I was able to adopt three separate perspectives, three different skill sets, and from this, form my own unique profile. Choose a mentor that is not looking for a clone. Your personal life history, interests, abilities, philosophies, and values ensure that your research career is not interchangeable with anyone else.
A mentor should honor these differences and train you to become an independent thinker and researcher. You should be able to question and challenge them. Once you obtain foundational skills, you should be able to pursue projects that are slightly different from what your mentor does.