Sunday, November 21

Remember when...

Remember when each of you interviewed to become McNair scholars? Do you remember the kinds of things you told us? You told us about your passions. You told us about how important it is to continue with your education and achieve the highest degree possible – like a Ph.D. – so that you can have a true impact in whatever career you are choosing. You told us that we could count on each of you to have the perseverance and determination to achieve your goal of a Ph.D. so that you could fulfill your own ambitions, contribute to the legacy of Dr. McNair and engage in meaningful work that betters our society.

Maureen and I recently completed the interviewing process for the 2011 (wow, time flies!) cohort of McNair scholars. I am comfortable in speaking for the both of us when I say how much we enjoy this process. We love hearing each student’s story, we love hearing you talk about your backgrounds and how you have succeeded thus far in life, we love hearing about your goals and dreams and how a program like McNair can help get you there. It is truly inspiring! And, why we think this line of work is hugely satisfying.

I bring this up to remind each of you to think about these things. Think about these things when you are in the “thick of the application process” and amid end of the semester pressures. Think about how passionately you spoke to us when you were becoming scholars and think about how far you have come. It’s time to pull out the stops when it comes to handling the challenges of completing your applications and doing everything within your power to find a good fit in a graduate program. Besides the “nuts and bolts” of the applications, reaching out and making contact and visiting those top-choice schools (because you can, as McNair scholars) is probably the most significant thing you can do to get yourself there. It’s a lot of work – all of this – but keep going because you are making progress.

The work will pay off when you can think back to your McNair interview from the vantage point of getting ready to start your fully-funded Ph.D. program in the coolest and best place possible for you!

Saturday, November 13

Taking Time for Yourself – Amidst the Crazy Schedules We All Keep

I’m happy to see everyone during our recent seminars and bowling outing. It’s nice that we can take the time to keep up with happenings in everyone’s lives despite the hurried nature of most days. It’s also important to take some time for yourselves to relax, reflect and just *do nothing* so that you can recharge your batteries and remain in a good state of mind and body for handling all of your tasks at hand – applying to grad school being just one of those “tasks” for most of you at this point in time. Keep going, you are all doing great! Next semester is when your hard work will definitely pay off! Here is a Winner’s Circle from Lou Tice that speaks to this notion of *taking time.*

How can the ancient tradition of Sabbath help you perform better at work and feel energized and much more creative? The ancient idea of Sabbath makes sense in mdern times, too, and not just in a religious way. How often do you set aside some time for yourself where you entirely alter your routines? That is what is supposed to happen on the Sabbath, or on a sabbatical, which comes from the same root word. Sabbaticals are sometimes necessary if we are to stay fresh and creative. A highly successful businessman I know took nine weeks off from his job. He called it a sabbatical, and he went to Maine where he designed a barn and took a photography course. When he came back to work, he told me that he was filled with new ideas and felt much better equipped to lead. Now, perhaps you are not in a position to take nine weeks off. But no matter how busy you are, you can build in some time for short sabbaticals, even if they are only two or three days at a time. Get off the main thoroughfare of your life and live in an entirely different way for a while! Walk instead of ride. Plant trees if you work in an office. Take a computer class if you plant trees for a living. You get the idea. You will find yourself feeling refreshed, revitalized and renewed. Try it and see.
--Lou Tice, The Pacific Institute

Sunday, November 7

Mentors are the Key to Success!

We are very grateful for Roop, Becky and Phame and their support, encouragement and imparting of nuggets of wisdom each time we see them. This was especially true on during our Friday conversation – I hope that each of you took something valuable from that conversation and can apply it to your current situation this week, whatever that may be. I also hope everyone heard my “take home message” – that being that each of you will find your path with good effort and strong belief in yourself. You all have great skills and ideas for how you wish to expand your education. Graduate school is going to open up exciting doors for you. My job is to keep encouraging you to make progress toward this goal – the most important item of business in my mind is establishing contact with faculty and your top-choice programs. This includes setting up visits and really making things happen. Roop, Becky and Phame are right in being highly impressed with how far ahead each of you are in terms of the grad school process. You are! You are McNair scholars….each on the path of embracing the legacy of Dr. McNair, while creating your own.

Fun memories from the summer....