Some thoughts about living with invisible illness and academia... 🧵

#AcademicTwitter @AcademicChatter #AcademicChatter #phdchat #phdlife #MultipleSclerosis
I've lived with autoimmune disease for two decades. I have always felt it was something I needed to hide in my career - a sign of weakness, something that might make people not want to work with me or give me opportunities. (I blame The West Wing, but that is another story). 2/🧵
This year I started my #AcademiaMadeEasier newsletter, with ideas to make academic work a bit easier with small steps to promote productivity & protect work-life balance. From the start, I was very open about the fact that I live with chronic disease. 3/🧵…
I've also deliberately been more open this year with academic colleagues, including on social media, about living with an invisible illness. In the past, I only let my closest research partners know about this aspect of my life. 4/🧵
My reason for being more open about living with an invisible illness is that concealing part of my lived reality is tiring. My disease can be exhausting on its own. I am past my mid-career point. If someone considers my imperfect health reason not to work with me, so be it. 5/🧵
What I did not anticipate in deciding to be more open about my own invisible illness is the number of people in academia who confide their own invisible illnesses to me. Always in hushed tones. To date, always women in less established positions or career stages than me. 6/🧵
It makes me wonder: if academia is seen as such an open, inclusive work environment, why do so many of us with imperfect health feel the need to conceal invisible illnesses? (I raise this sincerely and not as a rhetorical question.) And is it any better outside academia? 7/🧵
I hope being more open about my own autoimmune disease helps create space for others living with invisible illness to do the same if it feels safe for them to do so. And if not, please know this: academia is better due to your presence in it, imperfect health and all. Fin/🧵

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More from @loleen_berdahl

31 Mar
In a Zoom meeting this week, my (amazing) colleague @jim_farney used a very cool technique for a balanced group discussion. He called it "problem spaghetti". Here is how it works: (1/n)

#AcademicTwitter #AcademiaMadeEasier #zoommeeting
1. Meeting chair poses question (e.g. “What is your feedback on X?”). Everyone types their response in the chat but does NOT hit share.
2. After 3 mins, chair asks everyone to share.
3. Group takes a few minutes to quietly read everyone’s responses. (2/n)
4. Chair selects either a common theme or particularly important item & focuses discussion on that point. Items of agreement and/or items not requiring discussion are NOT discussed further.
5. Chat comments are saved & shared with the full group after the meeting is done. (3/n)
Read 5 tweets
31 Dec 20
I am a big believer in doing focused work during work time and then NOT working evenings and weekends. Here are some of the tools and practices that I find useful with this (thread)...

#AcademicTwitter @AcademicChatter @PhDVoice
I get a *lot* of email and I have tried a lot of email systems over the years. This year I started using a modified version of the Stack Method and it is working very well for me.

I am fortunate in that my university’s email system (Entourage) has an email scheduling option. One of the best ways to stop receiving email outside work hours is to stop *sending* email outside work hours. Strongly recommend.

#AcademicTwitter #Email
Read 12 tweets
21 Dec 20
Ph.D. students: this holiday season, devote a few hours to reading Work Your Career by @JonathanMalloy and me. (Many libraries have it.) The book teaches you how to maximize your agency throughout your program.

@AcademicChatter #WorkYourCareer #phdchat…
As @JonathanMalloy and I argue in this @ConversationCA article, Ph.D. students can't wait for programs and universities to meet their professional development needs. While some offer great options, availability is uneven.

#AcademicTwitter #phdchat…
In #WorkYourCareer, we provide students with clear guidance on how to prepare for both academic & non-academic careers at every stage of their program. We outline our approach in the first chapter (available free online).

#AcademicTwitter #phdChat
Read 18 tweets
5 Jan 20
The first class is a great opportunity for faculty/instructors to set the tone for the rest of the semester.

Here are some suggestions for creating a welcoming, positive environment. 1/12

@AcademicChatter #AcademicTwitter #TeachingHigherEd
1. Show up to class early. Get set up and then use the remaining time to individually introduce yourself to students. Shake hands, tell them your name, ask their name, and tell them you are happy to have them in the class. Repeat for as many students as time permits. 2/12
2. Start the class by conveying your enthusiasm for the subject and their presence in the class. Pose a question about *why* the subject matters and have students have a paired 2 minute chat about the answer. Call on a few students to respond. Ask and then use their names. 3/12
Read 12 tweets

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