Tag Archives: Professional Development

ARC Spotlight Part 1: Time Management and Study Strategies Program

The Academic Resource Center, or ARC, as it is more commonly referred to, offers multiple dynamic programs which aim to support Tufts students. You may not realize that the ARC also caters to graduate students and offers three programs to choose from! The Time Management and Study Strategies program, Writing Program, and English for Academic Purposes program were all created to help students through the challenges they commonly face. In the first of a multi-part blog series shining a spotlight on the ARC’s programs, we’re going to talk about the Time Management and Study Strategies program.

Written by Manisha Raghavan, Bioengineering M.S. 2019

The Time Management and Study Strategies Program (TM&SS for short) traces its roots back to 2004 when Lara Birk, the head of Subject Tutoring, noticed undergraduate students struggling with their time management skills. Lara hired doctoral student Laura Vanderberg as an intern to design a structured program to support students in honing their time management, which became officially known as the Time Management & Study Strategies Consulting program in 2008.

TM&SS is a very unique program which focuses on developing a personalized, collaborative relationship between the student and the consultant, who then work together on the changes the student wants to make. Claire Weigand, Assistant Director of the ARC, strongly believes that the program has something to offer to everyone. Each year during staff training, the consultants (who are also grad students) report learning strategies and concepts that they find personally useful in grad school.  The TM&SS program receives requests from a wide variety of students who often find themselves experiencing burnout, procrastination, anxiety, struggles with sleep and so on. The program operates on the philosophy that change is possible, while recognizing that change involves a mixture of setbacks and growth. 

What can I work on with my consultant?

If you find yourself working on your planning, motivation, study strategies, test anxiety, perfectionism, self-care or work-life balance, it is worth giving TM&SS consulting a try. TM&SS consulting focuses on three areas: planning (routines, busy weeks, goals, etc.), academic skills (reading large amounts, note taking, studying, test taking, etc.), and well-being (life balance, motivation/procrastination, self-care, etc.). You can sign up, get matched with a consultant within two days, and then meet for the first time to see if this is something that helps you make the changes you are working on.

How does the program work?

To request TM&SS consulting, fill out a sign-up form at go.tufts.edu/tmsssession. The program director matches students with consultants based on the information in their answers. Students are asked about what they would like to work on and what they look for in a consultant. It is important that each student feels accepted and understood by their consultant, so matching is based on schedule overlaps and each student’s preferences around shared life experience (gender, race, sexuality, personality traits, field of studies, etc.). The process also offers the flexibility to swap consultants if a student feels like they are not working well with a consultant.

TM&SS is available for both undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and the SMFA. For graduate students, depending on the consultant’s availability, sessions can be conducted over both winter and summer breaks. 

Want to work as a TM&SS consultant?

Look out for the job posting starting in mid-April on Handshake and keep your cover letter and CV/resume handy! Candidates must be able to attend the entire 40-hour paid training week, the week before orientation in August (August 19-23, 2019).

Want some advice without scheduling an appointment yet? Here are some mantras from the program to help you cope with the pressures of grad school:

  1. Take effective breaks! One ends up being more productive when one takes timely breaks.
  2. Gratitude journaling is a wonderful way to start appreciating the good things in life we often do not notice, which can boost motivation and our mood.
  3. Sleep improves learning! Cutting back on sleep to get more done quickly stops working as everything takes longer to get done when we are tired.

My consultant was absolutely wonderful… She helped me develop skills that will be valuable in my post-Tufts life. She was a fantastic part of my network of support this semester.

-Anonymous Tufts Grad Student

Reflections of an International Student

Written by Manisha Raghavan, Bioengineering M.S. 2019

I made a vital journey over 12,239 kms (or should I say 7,605 miles) to get to where I am today. I moved to Boston on the 24th of August 2018, leaving everything that was close to my heart back in Mumbai, India. I knew I wanted to pursue a graduate degree in Biomedical Engineering ever since I was in college. But no matter how far ahead you plan your life, when it comes to crossing the bridge, there is always going to be a tingling sensation in the body. Now that it has been over a year in Boston, I wanted to chronicle my experience in this foreign land from my perspective.

From changing the way I read temperature, write down dates, and measure distances, almost every subtle change made me feel uncomfortable in the first few weeks. New faces, new relationships, new friends, and new challenges are few of the facets of life at grad school. More often than not, if you are an international student, people will ask you ‘Why did you choose Tufts?’ To be honest, I chose Tufts because my program curriculum matched my interests, and being in Boston as a biomedical engineer felt like the best decision in terms of my career. I was more excited than nervous coming here because I felt like I was doing something monumental with my life. I am sure each one of you incoming and current grad students feel the same way!

But my transition was not easy. Small events like buying groceries, doing laundry, paying bills, cleaning the house, and cooking for myself made me miss my family back home and I ended up realizing their value and how little I had appreciated the things I was provided with at home. But sooner or later, I had to reconcile with the fact that I was a responsible and independent woman who chose to move to the US.

As an international student, there were moments when I did crave the company of fellow Indians, or good Indian food. These normal feelings will happen to you as well, but do not let that stop you from learning about other cultures and exploring other cuisines. I wanted to make the best of my time over here, and I ended up signing for all the professional development workshops, seminars and talks that I could. One issue I faced was that I hesitated to ask for help because I was afraid of bothering people. Do not make the same mistake that I did! All  of the organizations at Tufts are super helpful and if they are unable to help you, they will direct you to the right person. Winter was challenging, but I survived,  and so will you if this is your first Boston winter. Above all, over the last year I learned to appreciate myself, my people, and the little things around me so much more.

I will leave you with a few things if you are heading to Tufts for grad school. Talk, connect, and socialize whilst taking care of your priorities. Explore and travel as much as you can. Be excited about crafting your own path and journey. But most importantly, take care of yourself! I still have a year to go before graduation and with every passing day I know I am going to miss this beautiful place even more.

Making the most of your time at Tufts – Workshops

Written by Amanda Franklin, Biology Ph.D. Candidate

As I’m nearing the end of my degree things have been getting busy! I’m trying to publish results from my first two experiments, writing grants for a summer project, working with undergraduates on two ongoing research projects and teaching a biostatistics class. I’m also starting to think about what I want to do when I finish. It’s all very exciting, but I decided it’d be helpful to find out some tips for managing my various grad school commitments and more information about life after grad school.

Luckily for me, Tufts coordinates professional development workshops. These workshops cover sooooo many topics: grant writing, time management, conflict resolution, presentation skills…. the list goes on!

The most recent workshop I went to was actually coordinated by the Tufts Postdoc Association. It was about preparing a resume for jobs outside academia. It is great to have this kind of info available since many professors can’t help much with this career path. Well, at least in my field most professors don’t have much experience outside academia.

The workshop was great. It’s been so long since I’ve had to have a proper two page resume. Mine was in terrible form (which I knew before the workshop). It was run by White Consulting and they gave us a bunch of tips about how to focus on output and achievements rather than just on skills and experience. Also, what information should be included and what information should be forefront on the resume (hint: not education!). Really useful stuff!

I also recently went to a workshop called “Taming Your Grad School Schedule”, about time management and organization.  Sounds like basic information that you should already know by the time you’re in grad school, but I found it really useful and it kicked me into gear.

They gave us several tips on how to organize your time, and schedule in work. Several ideas were things I’d heard of before but had forgotten about (or been too lazy to do). But it was nice to be reminded of them and hear how other grad students manage their time and writing projects (I always find starting to write is the hardest part!). After the workshop I made much better progress on my writing and on meeting deadlines.

The next workshop I plan on attending is about interviewing skills. I’m hoping this gives me that extra boost to land a job when I’m finished at Tufts. I’m also planning on attending the next Editing for Style workshop when it runs again. Could always use to tips to polish off my writing!