Make Yourself Known
April 21, 2020
It is important to make yourself known during your graduate studies. I found myself struggling with this when I first started the entry level masters program. As time went on, I realized I was cutting myself short and not optimizing my learning or taking advantage of the knowledge the expert professors had. I had to challenge myself to speak up in class and to seek help during office hours. I had to insert myself in class discussions to truly experience and benefit from the team based learning that is embedded in many if not all of the classes throughout the program.
I recently asked a few professors and previous fieldwork clinical instructors (CI’s) to write letters of recommendations for me for different positions that I am applying for. In reflecting on this process of asking for letters of recommendation as well as professors and CI’s actually being able to write them for me, I realized that I had been working on this process of being known for a while now. I was able to email a request along with my resume, and professors and CI’s were able to do me the huge favor of helping me with this. How? Because I made myself known.
This process involved my time and effort both inside and outside of the classroom. Inside of the classroom I came prepared by having done my readings and being ready to discuss. I also brought up relevant questions which connected the class content to the populations I am interested in working with. Outside of the classroom I sought extra help and clarification with difficult concepts. Outside of the classroom I was involved in things such as being a student ambassador and attending DAE meetings.
Making yourself known does not only benefit you when you need letters of recommendations. It is also important because once you graduate and enter the workforce, your professors may become your colleagues. Building professional relationships with them can open doors for you and can provide valuable mentorship as well.
All of this is to say:
- Participate in class
- Ask questions
- Go to office hours
- Seek mentorships