Isolation Gorge

Isolation Gorge

You no longer have your graduate school mentor or adviser to push you to finish your research and to help you polish your writing. You have left behind your fellow graduate students and your community, with whom you worked for the last few years. Look for a new research community, such as an informal “brown bag” discussion group or weekly colloquia. You also may be able to rely on faculty outside of your university, particularly if your research area differs from the research in your department. Networking at academic conferences helps develop these contacts.

These are the tools you can rely on to traverse the Isolation Gorge:

Identify mentors. Ideally, a tenured faculty member in your department will step into the role of mentor even if the department is not required to assign one. If not, approach senior faculty members with whom you have established rapport. Seek mentors from outside your department as well as within.

Find peer supporters. Join a group established specifically for junior faculty, whether it is in your department or draws from across the university. Such groups may help you realize that others share your concerns.

Seek an impartial coach. An experienced coach fills many roles when mentors are not available. Look for a coach who meets your needs for career advancement and/or for writing accountability.

Create an academic support network. Build relationships early and continue to grow your support network. Your journey along the path to tenure will become easier.