Monday, November 5

BIG Picture Thinking

This time of year can become especially crazy for our scholars.  It can be CRAZY in a good way and sometimes CRAZY in a “not so” good way.  Each semester comes with its own set of challenges, evidenced by Maureen’s favorite quote, “it’s been a rough semester,” which always seems to surface round this time.  But that’s okay, it’s just part of the process, right?
  • You’ve got paper deadlines.
  • You’ve got quizzes and final exams.
  • You probably have a few projects coming due (some might even be “group” oriented – yikes!)
  • And, for a good number of you, you have your grad school applications.
  • Did I forget to mention things like basic self-care (eat*sleep*move) and time for friends/family?
  • Oh, yeah, you have those things too.
My goal for this post is to encourage BIG PICTURE THINKING amongst these challenges and never-ending to-do lists.  What I mean by this is that you should try to keep your eye (and mind) on the PRIZE.  This might mean doing better than you did last semester for your grades.  This might be crafting one really superb paper (from one of your classes) that you can use for a future writing sample.  For those applying to grad school – this means focusing your energy on getting yourself into grad school.

This can really be tough with everything going on, but carving out the time to craft and submit super high-quality applications is key.  So is visiting schools!  Several of you have already been “out and about” and that is great!  It takes a lot of time, effort and energy to make these visits happen. 

I want to simply remind you that making these visits happen = getting into your top-choice grad program with full funding.  Period.  It’s exactly the BIG PICTURE kind of thinking that I’m talking about. 

In order to visit your top-choice schools, it might mean that you have to “let some stuff" go by the wayside.  And, that’s okay.  It might be hard to not go “full out” in all of your classes as you normally would (wink, wink) – but doing the best you can given that you are traveling to your schools, and taking time off from classes to do so, will be okay in the long-run.

I think everyone knows that in “our collective CMU McNair experience” to date, the scholars that go and visit schools are the ones that get the best admission offers.  Hands down.

So, it pays to think about your “big picture” of getting yourself into a fully funded grad program and do what it takes to make that happen.  YOUR FUTURE WILL THANK YOU!