This is a strange time for all of us, and it can be a confusing transition to online work in your graduate degree. As in regular times, it is important to communicate effectively with your advisor and other individuals with whom you interact professionally, but it is even more imperative now. Here are some tips for strong virtual communication in graduate school.
Send Summaries of Work
Without seeing you in person, it can be difficult for advisors and supervisors to know what you have been working on, especially with longer projects that don’t have a lot of updates. Send daily or weekly summaries of what you have been working on to help you stay motivated, and for your supervisor to get an idea of what you have been up to. This is the same with dissertations and manuscripts! Example: “Just wanted to let you know that I am working on updates to Chapter 3 and am waiting for feedback on Chapter 2 from a committee member. I hope all is well with you!”
If not already established, scheduling weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly video calls with your advisor and/or supervisor can be helpful to check in and receive regular feedback on your work. If you are stuck on a particular part of your work, reach out and request a meeting. The “face to face” contact may help you establish a sense of normalcy and give you the opportunity to ask questions in real-time.
Communicate Your State of Mind
This is a stressful time for most people, and if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, unwell, or restless and wanting to take on more work, you may want to communicate these feelings to your supervisor or advisor. This can be helpful so that they are aware of potential changes to your workload and can make adjustments if needed. An example could be, “I wanted to check in and let you know that I am feeling overwhelmed and may need some extra time some of my work this week. I apologize for the inconvenience!”
Follow-up on Jobs and Internships
Unfortunately, there have been a lot of changes in the hiring process in relation to COVID-19. If you are or were participating in a job or internship search, have pending interviews, or recently accepted an offer, you may want to check in and ask if there are any updates to hiring policies and/or timeline. Things often change quickly, and it is good to stay informed and remind hiring committees of your continued interest in positions.
Be Kind to Yourself and Others
This is a stressful time for a lot of people and it can be hard to stay motivated and connected with others. Remember to be kind to yourself and recognize all of the work that you have been doing, and remember to give others the flexibility to react to this situation as is appropriate for them. We are all working through this together!
For more information on staying professionally connected during this time, click here to schedule a virtual career coaching appointment.