Dear Organizational Psychology MA Students,
Spring weather has finally arrived in New York City. Baseball season is on. Mother's Day was this month. And, of course, the joy and freneticism of graduation season is upon us. In looking ahead to graduation and celebrating the well-earned bright futures of our graduates, I find myself also thinking back to when you all started the program. I have been remembering Orientation Day in recent Septembers, when my faculty colleagues and I all shared a piece of advice with you. Perhaps it is due to the close proximity this year of Mother's Day and graduation that I have an irresistible urge to close our year together the same way we opened it -- with more advice. (I am also aware that my children, a tween and a teen, tire of my advice even before I have finished a complete sentence. I hope you will forgive me for using you as my outlet.)
Here is some advice to you as this academic year ends:
Be curious. Take the love of learning that brought you to Teachers College with you everywhere you go. Seek out workplaces, bosses, colleagues, friends and loved ones who value lifelong learning. Remind naysayers of Dr. Burke's research on the essentialness of learning agility for the highest performance. Hold on to your learning orientation as much as you possibly can.
Be kind. My wonderful teaching assistant, Stephanie von Numers, gives our students advice before every group relations conference and her advice holds for life in general. She says, "Be kind. Be kind to your peers because you are all doing your best. Be kind to your family when you are acting strange and they don't understand why. Most of all, be kind to yourself. Give yourself breaks. Give yourself permission to do what you need to do to learn best. Be gentle with yourself as much as you can." I couldn't agree more.
Be here now. Be. Here. Now. Many wiser others before me have said this and I always find it a helpful reminder, albeit something I need reminding of constantly. The wild, busy, joyful, consuming, exhausting, compelling circus that is New York City, that is the workplace in 2018, that is the world we live in today, makes this one always challenging. But, I think it is essential. We have to be in the present in order to pay attention to what's truly important, to learn, to connect with one another, to experience our world rather than to attend distractedly to something else while our lives unfold without us. The first baby in my extended family, my niece, Annabel, was born at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, on a cold night in January when the world was holding its breath for a possible Y2K disaster. (Remember that?) Annabel is now headed to college. Similarly, when you all started at TC it felt like you were at the beginning of a long journey to earning your degree. And, here we are - far along that path, or even at the journey's end. Be here now so you don't miss it. I will try to do the same.
To all our students, graduating or not, please know we are wishing you a relaxing and restorative summer and cheering for you on whatever path you are taking next. You are forever a part of the Social-Organizational Psychology community at Teachers College, Columbia University. We are proud of all you have accomplished and we are grateful to you for making us a part of your journey.
Sarah Brazaitis, Ph.D.
Current Student Profile
Last month, I recommended reading a McKinsey report on the challenges women of color face in the workplace. Below are two articles offering suggestions toward addressing some of those challenges:
Here is a podcast recommendation of a piece that clarifies often misused terms in psychology. I found it both illuminating and absorbing:
As always, with all these recommendations, don't hesitate to let me know what you think and/or to offer your own suggestions for possible inclusion in upcoming newsletters. I welcome your input.