Fall Challenge#

I know multi-tasking doesn’t really exist.  Realistically, you can only focus on one task at a time.  However, I do believe that tasks can be constructed so that they contribute to multiple objectives.  You can learn more than one thing out of a single task.

The best way to get better at something is to do it more often.  Writing is hard for me, in fact effective communication in general is.  Ideas float around in my head completely clear, but sharing them?  A very different story.  I know it’s hard for me though, so I prepare, a lot, in advance.  As an engineering undergraduate, I got away without writing much.  In general scientists and engineers aren’t great at communicating, but I think that’s a problem.  At the very least we need to communicate among ourselves to advance our fields.  Especially in research, writing is an essential skill.

Developing a personal brand is becoming increasingly important for professionals.  At a professional development workshop over the summer I got career advice to become “COO: company of one” in an academic job search.   That is exactly my career objective and I’ve decided to use this blog to develop my brand to fulfill this objective.  I still have a few more years left before I obtain my PhD, so my ideas are still forming and will change.  My goal is to build vision and shape ideas out in the open.

For the remainder of the year, I’m challenging myself to write each week on topics that will play into my career objectives and philosophy as a researcher and educator.  I’ll reflect on things I’ve read, add my own ideas, and integrate it all together as the month goes on.  I’ll also still write about how some of the activities I’m involved in play a role in developing this plan.  My objective in issuing this challenge for myself is to make writing come more naturally and begin to establish my personal professional brand.  I expect things will change as I go and that’s ok; transparency and honesty are fundamental to me and the whole point of research is discovery, which requires change.