OHSU

Top tips for success

...for Starting Winter Term

Winter term is almost upon us. Time to start thinking about the 10+ weeks ahead and visualize your success. Here are our top 8 tips for setting yourself up for your best term yet:

  1. Reconnect with a healthy lifestyle: Ignore the New Year's Resolution marketing, and take inventory on what makes you feel your best. Don't start too big, pick a few healthy goals and work on adding those to your daily habits before adding more. Need some ideas? Vow to take the stairs whenever possible, drink 8oz more water than you do now, or turn off your technology devices 1 hour before bedtime.
  2. Obtain study resources: Connect with others in your same academic program and find out what worked best for them. Maybe they would even be willing to sell you their old textbooks at a cheaper rate than the bookstore or Powell's. Any insider tips ("Professor so and so never sticks to the syllabus," or "The X app is super helpful in Dr. So and So's class) can make the difference. Don't have anyone you can ask or have all the study materials your need? Try adding some apps to your devices such as iStudiez Pro, or Alarm Clock HD, to help you stay on task and on time.
  3. Create a pleasant study environment: Time to reflect on your best past academic performances and think about what worked best for you and recreate it. You may find that different types of academia call for different study environments – keep trying till you find something that works. And when all else fails, set your alarm for short breaks between study marathons. Another quick tip – aroma studying – drink a fragrant tea when studying for a particular exam, and bring that same tea with you when you take your test – smell can trigger memory. Change up the tea per topic/test.
  4. Developing dialogue: Reach out to your community and have an honest conversation about what lies ahead for you. What are your concerns, what obstacles may get in your way, what are the challenges you have faced in the past? And then focus on the positive, what are you looking forward to this term, what tactics can you use when facing anticipated obstacles? Those around you should be able to help you think through these things, demonstrate their confidence you, and help you believe in your own potential.
  5. Recognize and heed stress off at the pass: It is hard to step outside our selves when in the midst of stress – so maybe the better approach is to pre-plan when your most stressful weeks are coming (e.g. so and so's birthday, crazy time at work, finals week) and coordinate the rest of your life around those items – build in time to de-stress, reflect, relax, and re-energize. The hope is that you find that those anticipated stressful times become non-events because you took care of yourself before they happened.
  6. Set goals: Sounds cheesy, but having at least 1-3 overarching goals for yourself in shorter time-frames is super helpful and extremely empowering. Even unmet goals can help us to focus on what led us astray and help to streamline our plans the next time around. We recommend you set your goal for a 1-3 month time frame, have it be fairly achievable, but not too easy – if it makes you nervous or uncomfortable, you are probably on track – and celebrate once it is achieved!
  7. Find your source of motivation: Achieving some goals will certainly motivate you to reach more challenging targets. Another motivating factor would be to remember that your hard work is primarily for yourself and your future career. Apart from the external rewards that society may promise you, you should work to understand that studying well is your chance for self-development.

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....for Handling People Who Interrupt

discuss_interruptIn creative and innovative work environments, communication patterns of interrupting colleagues is commonplace  as employees burst with excitement and ideas constantly buzzing. In contrast, academic and healthcare work environments thrive on ranking systems and honoring and respecting those who hold higher positions within the organization. So what are you to do in OHSU's complex science-innovation-academic-healthcare setting when someone interrupts you? Here are our top tips:

  1. Ask to finish your thought: Refrain the urge to use a curt "May I finish?!" but rather a "Oh, hang on, I still had a few more thoughts..."
  2. Learn to edit yourself: Think short sentences, bullet points even; it may be that your conversation partner doesn't have the ability (either natural or trained) to wait for your more elaborate communication style
  3. Start by stating your expectations: If you know you are about to communicate with someone who tends to interrupt you, start your conversation by calling out your previous experience and how you hope the outcome this time will be different. Example:  "I often feel like when we talk I don't get to finish all my thoughts. I know we need to talk about [X], but would you be willing to give me some time and space to get all my thoughts out before you respond?"
  4. Pick up where you left off: After the individual who interrupted you finishes their thought, pick up where you last ended, even if it means repeating what your interrupter just said
  5. Don't stop talking: Increase your volume and stand firm; you may feel like a contestant on the "Apprentice" but it can work. Be sure to watch your complimenting non-verbals, your action of simply not backing down could be perceived as being rude, so be sure your non-verbals are staying warm and engaged.  After you have been able to finish your thought, next acknowledge your slightly aggressive tactic, example "I'm sorry I kept talking, I just really wanted to finish my thought. Now, what were you going to say?..."  Lastly, BEWARE who you use this with- avoid using with management or those who hold a higher rank than you.  If you are not someone who can walk the fine line of being firm while not being offensive...we don't recommend this one for you.
  6. Limit your interactions when possible: Don't be rude about it, but if a person's particular communication style isn't pleasant for you, and you can avoid it, do so.
 
Communicating effectively with anyone face to face takes a certain amount of emotional intelligence and practice. Practice? Yes, practice! This allows you to gauge how you are being perceived. Often times how we think we are coming across is not how others perceive us; so try it out in a safe environment and bring it to the workplace when you feel confident. Difficult conversations don't have to be strategized alone; you can always contact Amber Bruner, Program Manager, to talk it though.
 
Have you tried any of these strategies before? Were they effective? Share your best strategies for handling people who interrupt by commenting our Facebook Page!