Matt Might did a post yesterday about resolutions for grad students. While his suggestions are valuable, most of them are targeted at grad students. Which got me thinking, which of these apply to academics in general and which ones would I add?
Update your online identity
Something I try to do at the end of every semester is to go through and update things on my website. It may be as simple as updating the number of courses taught on my CV, or may include a complete makeover. Either way, it ensures that the content is updated and accurate.
If you do not have a professional website, now is the time to create one. There are a multitude of how-to sites to accomplish this [ProfHacker] [College Info Geek]. One of the comments the earlier mentioned blog post makes is “If you can’t be googled, you don’t exist.” This is very true. Every time I hear about a candidate or someone giving a talk, the first thing I do is Google their name. If I find nothing, their credibility automatically goes down in my eyes. If I find a well coordinated blog, LinkedIn, and professional site, the credibility goes up.
This one may seem intuitive. But, when was the last time you sat down and wrote for the sake of writing? If you are in grad school, you write constantly. How can you make it better? If you are bogged down in a long paper, try writing something on a completely different topic just to get everything flowing again. Write for the joy of writing. The more you write, the better you get at it.
Don’t only read (good luck surviving in the academy without it) but read something different. I read articles from several different fields. It gives a new prospective on my own research and broadens my interest beyond what is typically seen as normal.
Don’t forget to find time for pleasure reading as well. When I finished grad school, I realized I hadn’t read fiction in two years. That’s how I spent most of that summer; I had to re-find my love of reading.
As the new year begins, it is a time to figure out what has worked for you and what needs to be done differently. As the new semester begins, it is a chance to make a mid-year correction to teaching style. Overall, it is a chance for new beginnings. Make the most of it.