On paper, the road to my PhD was a direct one. I finished my degree (in Screen Arts and Cultures) in 5 years, with 3 total semesters of fellowship. I taught a full range of classes, from assisting in large introductory courses to teaching upper level capstone theory courses as instructor of record. I also worked, at times full time, for the teaching and learning center on campus, working with other instructors to improve their teaching, and organizing seminars and workshops on a wide range of topics. I was busy, productive, and I hit my deadlines and my goal of graduating while I still was guaranteed funding. I was and am very proud of that achievement.
But, the reality of my experience was anything but smooth. From mental health challenges to committee shake-ups, I never felt as confident as my schedule and progress suggested. I often felt that I couldn't ask for help, and did not share much about my personal life with my advisor or department. But, out of that isolation came several unexpected outcomes. I became an expert at managing my time. I developed systems to monitor my own progress on multiple fronts simultaneously, and built skills and tools for course-correcting and improving my performance. I learned to maximize my productivity, and how to build days that left me recharged rather than burnt out.
I knew that something was working when other students began to approach me for advice. I realized that just as I had to teach myself how to be a graduate student, so do the vast majority of students out there. I saw a need for affordable, flexible support that can help visualize the whole of a graduate student's life, not just the dissertation. And in the year since I graduated, I realized that I have knowledge to share, and the platform to do it.
So, welcome to Katy Peplin Coaching. I meet with clients locally in Pittsburgh PA, but also virtually. I focus on providing services that fit into your schedule, and that are available when you need them. I aim to provide sessions at an accessible price point, but will also be providing content here on the blog for all. You'll find under Goods & Services a list of my current offerings, aimed at kick-starting your summer and providing continuing support to keep you on track. Feel free to contact me if you have other ideas - I'm open to working with you to create something tailored for your needs.
And to kick off our free printables, please enjoy my A-B-C list. I made one of these lists every day for almost three years, and it totally revolutionized my to-do list process. If you find yourself making massive to-do lists that you can never finish, try an A-B-C list. Here's how it works:
- Column A is for things that need to be done today. Things that there will be severe and immediate consequences if you do not finish them today. If there are more than 5 things in this column, it might be time to evaluate - are these all high priority items or does my anxiety just tell me that they are?
- Column B is for things that would be great to finish today. This is for overflow for column A - they need action soon, but if you couldn't get there today, it won't be the end of the world.
- Column C is for things that don't need immediate action, but you want to capture. Put things here that you don't want to forget, but also don't need to do right away. If you don't finish something in column C - no big deal. You've got it written down for next time.
I loved this list as a way to visualize where I was spending my time. Am I only working on Column C items because they're easier, and avoiding Column A? Am I making myself feel like everything is high priority when in reality, only a few things need to be done? The reality of a graduate student life is that it is virtually impossible to check off the whole list every day. The A-B-C list lets you feel good about accomplishing the important stuff while also making sure that you're keeping an eye on everything else. Incorporating this into your daily routine is a great way to start tracking what you're finishing and what could use more attention.