A couple of other grad students and I were discussing how it’s really helpful to spend time with other grad students. Specifically, that getting together with like-minded grad students – ones who may be going through (or have gone through) the same thing. And, after going to Grace Hopper, and listening to Sheryl Sandberg, and having read Lean-In, we’ve been tossing around the idea of creating something like a lean-in circle.
The ideas that we have floating around, is a small group of female grad students that meet possibly weekly to just discuss stuff. What the stuff will be, will depend on what we feel like talking about. We’ve thought about having meetings where we maybe focus on more specific skills, such as presenting or publishing or dealing with your supervisor. And other meetings that would be more about mutual support.
Part of this is based on the idea that we know we work better when we have support. And that often, some of the best support comes from people who understand what you’re going through (other grad students) but who may not be directly involved in the same or similar research (so still a step away from what’s going on). We’re hoping that by having these ‘meetings’, it’ll help us stay in better contact and that we’ll feel like we have more support.
So far, our group consists of three of us. And we’ve yet to all be in the same city at the same time yet for a meeting. But hopefully next week changes that. And we can have our first ‘official’ meeting. And probably talk about who to invite to expand our group. I’m not sure who big we want to get, but I imagine our goal will be to stay fairly small, so that everyone can be really involved and get the most out of it.
I attended my first ‘meeting’ this week. And while we didn’t focus our conversation on grad school, we did (or at least I did) realize that we’re both thinking some very similar thoughts about our future. More about how academia may fit (or more likely won’t fit) in it. And what other options there are out there. Entrepreneurship seems more appealing all the time.