How often does the first day of work involve a serious game of Harry Potter Uno? And I mean serious–there was talk of office wars and shifting of office hours…

Today was the first day in the office for four new grads: Alyssa, Karli, Cassidy, and Sendi (the graduate assistant who I will directly supervise). Of the hats that I’ll get to wear in this position, I’ve already decided that this is one that I will take the most seriously. Yes, advising students is also important, and I know I will take that role seriously as well. But given the fact that I am so grateful for the mentorship and opportunities that I had as a graduate advisor (they’re a major reason for me being in my current role!), I want to be able to provide a similar experience to Sendi, as well as the rest of the group.

Sendi is a wonderful personality to work with. She’s smart, cognizant of her role within the organization (for which I have Tyler Steffy, her predecessor, to thank!), and excited to make her mark on the role. Moreover, I can tell that she’s ready and willing to learn. This might seem redundant, as she’s a student, but I know of so many students who haven’t come into a position with the thirst to learn that she has. I look forward to cultivating a good relationship with her, and learning along with her.

This is going to be a learning process for me, I can feel it. I want to be able to make sure she’s getting the most out of her experience, without neglecting other duties. I want her to feel as though she knows me as a person, but still keep those boundaries that are necessary for a working relationship. And I want to be able to keep learning, but also know that she is learning from me. Like she said during our first meeting last week, “we’ll learn it together.” I’m encouraged by the understanding that we’ll both be learning from each other, and am excited to have that opportunity!

Anyone have tips on how to cultivate a good relationship with a graduate student, both personal and educational?

2 thoughts on “Advised a Grad

  1. Try asking her what her professional goals are. What skills does she want to gain from her assistantship and how can the position lend itself to doing that.

  2. I agree with Rose. And I think that question should be asked more than once. I need my supervisor to remind me to reflect sometimes and to keep learning about how this experience will shape my future/teach me what I want and don't want in a job.Also, this doesn't sound like you and maybe it doesn't work for everyone but my boss being open and confiding in me when she needed to vent was I think what brought us close to begin with. It made me feel comfortable venting around her and it opened up honest lines of communication.

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