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Archive for the ‘laugh’ Category

Here on the East Coast of the U.S., it is snowing and snowing and blowing.  There’s no sign of  snow removal on my cul-de-sac, so it’s time to write.  How about you? I hope you’re having a good writing day.

It’s also a time for goofy emails.  A relative who can always make me laugh sent me the following 10 Tips for Holiday Eating.   

1.   Avoid carrot sticks.  Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit.  In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately.  Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.

2.  Drink as much eggnog as you can.  And quickly.  It’s rare. You cannot find it any other time of year but now.  So drink up!  Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip?  It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something.  It’s a treat. Enjoy it.  Have one for me.  Have two.  It’s later than you think.  It’s Christmas!

3.  If something comes with gravy, use it.  That’s the whole point of gravy.  Gravy does not stand alone.  Pour it on.  Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes.  Fill it with gravy.  Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4.  As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk.  If it’s skim, pass.  Why bother?   It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5.  Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating.  The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people’s food for free.  Lots of it.  Hello?

6.  Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s.  You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do.  This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a twelve-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7.  If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge.  Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention.  They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes.  If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again.

8.  Same for pies… Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat.  Have a slice of each.  Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin.  Always have three.  When else do you get to have more than one dessert?  Columbus Day?

9.  Did someone mention fruitcake?  Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost.  I mean, have some standards.

10.  One final tip:  If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention.  Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. 

Have a great holiday season! 

And if today is a snow day for you, make it also a great writing day.

Smile and write.

Cheers, 

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com
www.dissertationbootcamp.net

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How was your writing today?

You couldn’t get a flow going today during your writing session? 

Some writing sessions are like that–you start off more slowly, maybe because you’re tired, it’s the end of the week, or maybe because you didn’t prime the pump, didn’t try to induce a good mood, or didn’t practice resiliency before you began the effort

Or perhaps you’re starting to see some success and you’re just a bit uneasy because you are thinking you may actually meet your deadline?

Once again, it’s time to practice resiliency. 

Remind yourself that this time there’s no backsliding—but be playful as well as firm. 

Laugh at the time you were so self-congratulatory for how well you were doing on a paper that you barely finished the project under deadline! 

Resiliency is a skill that you learn through practice. A great way to increase your resiliency is laugh at your foibles and shenanigans. Use your sense of humor and self-knowledge to fuel your writing session.

 Have a good weekend,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com
www.dissertationbootcamp.net
www.smarttipsforwriters.com

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In a recent conversation, a tenured professor at a large research university told me that he left it up to his doctoral students to get in touch with him.

He didn’t say that he doesn’t want to invite more work since he already has more to do than he can get done, but that might have been partially his reason for waiting.

I sympathize with the workload many professors carry.   In departments with which I’ve had first-hand experience, primarily those in the liberal arts and social sciences, professors work very hard:
• Preparing for classes and meeting with students from their current classes;
• Actually reading the papers their students write;
• Enduring hours of committee work and departmental meetings;
• Trying to find time to conduct research and write their own papers and articles.

But wait a minute– the truth is that in the relationship with his doctoral student, this kind, intelligent tenured professor holds all the cards.   All of the power in this relationship is on his side, or so goes the thinking of most ABD’s.

Many doctoral students feel paralyzed by overwhelming anxiety and unrealistic fears at the thought of contacting their advisor.  At times, some even avoid opening their university email account, fearing that their professor might have written to tell them to forget the project. 
 
 Even though Joseph Berger, in his NYTimes story “ON EDUCATION; Exploring Ways to Shorten the Ascent to a Ph.D.,” asserts that “universities . . .  [are] demanding that faculty advisers meet regularly with protégés,”  he doesn’t say precisely which universities are making this demand.  My dissertation coaching clients are unaware of any such demands. They haven’t been contacted by their advisors.

So if a student shouldn’t expect a phone call or email from an advisor, then what?  Continue to hide out?  Living in dread is no way to live.

Try this:
a. First, state what the belief is that is allowing you to hide out.
b. Second, take a hard look at that belief or assumption.  What evidence can you muster to disprove or reject that belief?
c. Third, come up with an action that you could take (will take?) that will let you step over that belief.

Here are some beliefs I’ve heard from my dissertation coaching clients and some potential follow-up steps:
 
Belief #1:  If I write my advisor to say that I’m working again, he/she will be nasty.  His/her sarcasm will just crush me.
 Action:  Ask yourself what’s the worst thing he/she will say?  The best?  What is he/she likely to say?  You know the words he/she will say.  You’ve heard them before.  Write them down.  Assume his/her voice and read the words aloud.  Say them aloud several times until the words of ridicule sound ridiculous.  Make it funny.  Laugh! Let it go.

Belief #2:  If I send a chapter or a few pages to my advisor, he/she will hold onto them and won’t return the pages with any comments. And then I’m stuck–all I can do is wait.  I don’t want to feel any more helpless than I already do.
 Action:  You aren’t helpless.  Ask for an appointment (by phone or in person) at the same time that you send the text to your advisor. You can help make this process easier for your advisor and at the same time give yourself more control over the process.   Give a choice of two specific times that would be good for you and ask to hear back by a certain time.  Specific requests are more likely to elicit a response.

Belief #3:  Even if I make an appointment, my advisor probably won’t look at the text ahead of time.  An appointment or a telephone conference is a waste of time, and afterwards, I feel just as lost as ever.  I don’t know where to go next.
 Action:  You have options.  Email and re-send the text shortly before your appointment, highlighting key passages with specific, pivotal questions.  You know your work best–give your advisor a perch from which to view your work.

Belief #4:  My advisor never seems to have any comments, even when we have an appointment.  I have no control over what happens.
 Action: What if you act as if you do have some control?  Come with specific questions about the text.  Don’t hide.  Don’t waste the opportunity.  Always take notes, or, if all parties agree, tape the conversation.  Show a willingness to do whatever it takes to get through this process, and show respect for the time your advisor has carved out for you by having an agenda.  Make it easy for your advisor to help you.

What are you waiting for?

Your university probably hasn’t made any demands that your advisor meet regularly with you.

Your advisor is not going to email you to say that you are in his/her thoughts or to invite you over for dinner.

Advisors may not have the best interpersonal skills, but they probably aren’t plotting to do you in. 

Stop Catastrophizing—you’re busy; your advisor is busy.

Why not shoot off an email tonight to your advisor?  Ask for what you want.
 
Please share your strategies on how you sidestep the urge to catastrophize and get on with your dissertation.  When your Lizard Brain is in overdrive, what do you do?  I would love to hear from you.

At my website (www.nwcoaching.com), I offer a free newsletter with helpful tips.  I invite you to sign up for it and let me know what you think.

Until next time,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com
www.usingyourstrengths.com
www.dissertationbootcamp.net

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Sometime ago, I wanted to talk with a real person at Amazon about my order.   I looked everywhere on the Amazon site.  I couldn’t believe it– I could not find a phone number anywhere.

Aggravated, I typed into Google “What is the telephone number for Amazon?”  And it came up– 1-800 -201-7575.

Today, just for fun, I typed in the same question.  Now, there is not only the site that I saw the first time, but several other sites pop up. One suggests that it would be easier just to google “telephone Amazon.”  Direct, simple.

Since I have a tendency unknowingly to make up words (left over, I’m sure, from a childhood where my grandpa, with his Irish heritage, started me on this path), I often use Google just to see if results come up for a word that I’m not sure about, such as “uptick.”  When I heard someone use it, I thought maybe it had been made up.  When I googled “uptick,” I found 964,000 results. Yep, it is a word in good standing.

In an email exchange, “chaise longues” didn’t look right.  Google not only let me know that “chaise longues” is correct, but it also gave me some websites to add to my list of interesting resources:

1)  “Common Errors in English” by a professor of English at Washington State University.

2)  Michael Quinion’s “World Wide Words” in which he writes about international English from a British view.

Since I had learned that I could now use “telephone Amazon” as a shortcut on Google, I decided to shoot some other commands at Google.

I tried “spell chaise lounge,” and the Columbia Guide to Standard American English gave two spellings: “chaise longue, chaise lounge (n.).”  The Guide said, “Both terms are Standard today, but those who know French still take exception to chaise lounge.”

Both terms are standard?  I decided I’d check other resources about that!

This time, to see what a difference a verb would make, I commanded “define chaise lounge.” The Free Dictionary  “redirected” me to “chaise longue” while the Urban Dictionary screamed

“ERROR…ERROR…ERROR.
Use this if you do NOT know what you are saying.
A term used by wannabes to try to look intelligent.”

Thank you, Googe and Urban Dictionary,  I don’t want to look like a wannabe.

As I write, the blog being honored at WordPress as the “Blog of the Minute” is “Life at Google—the Microsoftie Perspective,” in which the writer  is revealing the negative side about working at Google.

Weethan, a WordPress blogger, says, “And we say no to  google, why?”

A comment from Wahyu, another WordPress blogger, gives due credit to Google, and also makes me laugh:
google is like a my wife
i need tutorial for study just ask google
i need tutorial for life just ask google
i need anything first thing is google!
google google google oh yeahhhh

I agree with Wahyu; I can’t imagine not having Mr. Google ever at the ready.

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, PhD, PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
nancy @ nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com

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