And that brings to me the mixed feelings I have now knowing how things are. I’m nearing the end of my third year, which is when I should have everything together. And instead I got Butkus, and I’m not talking Rocky Balboa’s dog. Had I known at the start of my program what I know now, I could have approached my program differently and used my time better, especially during the summers. Now I just have lost opportunity and the sudden realization that Plan A isn’t going to work for me and, if I don’t have Plan B worked out soon, I could potentially be in a worse situation.
Yes, my advisor should have been my advisor, meaning he should have given me the advice I needed to make the best use of my time. But he didn’t. I don’t hold it against him, because the other big lesson I learned from reading this book is that most advisors don’t advise their students effectively. They are part of a system that encourages them to be the way they are or in the very least does not incentivize them to be what they should be. That’s water under the bridge for me. Successful people deal with the world the way that it is, not the way they wish it would be. I’m not going to look behind. I’m going to look forward.
And that brings me to the final big concept I learned from this book. The most competitive candidates have the mindset of a colleague or peer, not a grad student or an adjunct. Looking back at the last couple of years, I readily can see I’ve had the mindset of a grad student, not a colleague or peer. So, as they say in the Old West, it’s time to saddle up. Lock and load! And I’ve got plenty of ammunition in this book that gives very practical hands-on advice for making a 5-year plan and attending to the details of everything that should go into that plan. In fact, I may use it as a daily meditation. Before beginning my workday, I’ll read one chapter in this book. The chapters are small and many in this tome, and reading just one a day will help to keep the practical ideas and mindsets fresh in my mind as well as spur me on to the track my train should be on. Overall, this is a great book and a must read for anyone considering an academic career. 5 out of 5 stars.
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