Monday, October 16th, 2017...1:29 pm

Leadership for Graduate Students

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Week3

A guest blog by Joanne Lieu.

Hello fellow readers!
My name is Joanne and I am so humbled to be here as a guest blogger to bring another perspective to Grad Life! A little bit about myself: I am a first year Master of Education student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto (UofT). I currently work with Student and Campus Community Development as the Leadership Development and Programming Assistant (LDPA) to develop ways to nurture and cultivate your leadership skills at UofT. I want to know where your passions lie and bring out the best in you to help you become successful. That being said, I hope you find my insights, milestones, and struggles as a graduate student helpful.

I’ve never considered myself a leader by profession. I was involved in campus clubs and other organizations but leader was not actively a term I used to describe myself. So before I get into a discussion of what makes a good leader, I want to acknowledge that you all can be (and most likely are) a leader in some form or fashion–whether you are aware of it or not.

I challenge you to look at your current duties: perhaps you’re a teacher’s assistant, research assistant, or you’re with a campus club and you regularly send out e-mail to your executive or campus club members. Maybe you sat down with a family member recently and got the inescapable question of , “So what are you doing now?” I’m certain that once you dig deeper, you’ll find yourself realizing that you were in a leadership position at one point or another.

Once I began my journey of self-reflection, I realized my Classroom Cleaner position in elementary school evolved overtime as I now work as a workshop facilitator. Despite the fact that I still pick up crayons, I now perform data analysis and curriculum development. That being said, you don’t have to be in a formal position to consider yourself a leader.

So what makes a good leader? A good leader realizes that through lifelong learning they can build themselves and others. Reflective thinking and taking the time to slow down can go long ways to making you a better leader personally and professionally. Nurturing a growth mindset allows you to realize where your shortcomings are and where your strengths lie. Visioning where your goals are and how you can progress to them showcases accountability and scope.

What  resources does UofT offer for us to grow our leadership skills?

  1. Student Life Programs & Services. Particularly, their Leadership for Graduate Students Workshops. These workshops tackle topics such as characteristics of a good leader, facilitating a team, and exploring leadership and management. If you attend a minimum of three workshops you get CCR-approved! They also have a great Facebook Group if you want to join the online community.
  2. The plethora of clubs available at UofT. Clubs aren’t just for undergraduate students! There are many opportunities for graduate students to get involved and exercise their leadership skills. An example would be the Healthy Grads, a student-led team that provides health promotion programming by graduate students for graduate students. A great place to start is to look at your department’s graduate student association. 

Taking the first step to any new commitment can be challenging but perseverance and commitment will almost always pay in fruitful rewards. With that, I’ll leave you with a quote from Dr. Seuss that always leaves me inspired:

“And will you succeed? Yes, you will, indeed (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed) Kid, You’ll move mountains.”

Sincerely,

Joanne Lieu

 



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