As graduate students begin planning their careers, they should start with the end in mind. So writes Rackham STEM Professional Development Program Manager Gina Shereda in a new article in Inside Higher Ed.
Drawing on insights from her own time as a graduate student—Shereda defended her dissertation in 2013—as well as from her many conversations with U-M graduate students as part of the Rackham Professional and Academic Development team, Shereda argues for a backward design approach to career-planning. This involves establishing long-term career goals, then determining how to measure progress toward and identify the learning experiences and other actionable steps necessary to reach those goals.
“Reflecting back on my own graduate-school experience, I was not aware of the majority of career options open to me, and if I could go back and do one thing differently, I would have sat down with a career counselor to talk through the possibilities,” Shereda writes. “My hope for those of you reading this piece is that by taking the time to think about your desired outcomes early in your career, you will save yourself time and make space to write rich chapters that add up to a fulfilling career and life story.”