The scholars are moving swiftly through their summer research projects and deadlines are quickly approaching. By mid-July, they must complete a research paper, develop a PowerPoint presentation, and orally present their research at a colloquium and conference. Feeling overwhelmed yet? Here are some suggestions for managing your stress and staying on top of your work.
Set Advanced Deadlines. The McNair Summer Research Experience is structured with multiple, manageable, deadlines. However, you can set your own advanced deadlines. Attempt to complete your work before any assigned due dates. That way you can have your work reviewed and critiqued by your mentors and peers in order to turn in a more polished product. This may seem like extra work at first, but it will save you time revising and resubmitting drafts, and you will have a leg up on your next deadline.
Organize Your Day. Create a daily and doable to-do list for yourself. Large projects, like your research paper and PowerPoint presentation, are essentially a compilation of small tasks. Ask yourself, “What can I do today to make progress on this?” As long as you remain disciplined, which is an essential skill for graduate school, you will begin to see positive movement towards your goals.
Take Care of Yourself. This may seem like an unrelated component of staying on top of your work, but it is! When you feel exhausted, take a power nap (i.e. 30 minutes). When you feel hungry, eat. If you start to feel sluggish, go to the gym. Taking care of yourself in these ways can help you regain focus on your research. Often, when we decide to “power-through” without taking care of our basic needs, we work at a slower pace and are less productive. Therefore, take care of yourself.
These suggestions may seem small, but they can have a huge impact on both your health and success. Additionally, honing these skills this summer will help you in your future endeavors.