Boost your productivity with affinity-focused study groups
Productivity. It’s a destination that research shows can be easier to reach when working with others.
The Stanford Learning Lab offers communities centered on several affinity topics, including productivity. ADHD Connections, Fail Better, Focus Fridays, Gently Up The Stream (GUTS), Peer Engagement Network (PEN), Power Hour, and Revise & Resubmit (R&R) are in full swing this fall term. Stanford Learning Lab learning specialists have particular expertise in assisting students with learning differences/disabilities and helping students prepare for and transition to college life on campus, although their services are open to all students. Groups offer continuous registration, so students can join at any time.
Gently in the stream (GUTS)
When LLIT program director Aillie McKeever conceptualized the group of students she dubbed GUTS, she thought of conversations during her five years at Stanford. “I saw a pattern in students who were talking about a desire not to follow the herd, not to conform,” she says. “I really admire that quality in many students of going against the tide or swimming upstream, and I was thinking of a way to honor that quality more and practice it on purpose.”
GUTS currently practices for 30 minutes each week from 1-1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and is open to all Stanford undergraduates or graduates. Quotes, excerpts, and sound clips allow students to reflect on the work they are doing. “It’s supposed to be grounding,” says McKeever. “It’s a little time to reconnect with purpose on an individualized basis. Students are also encouraged to think about what they need to reduce or eliminate from their expectations for the week in order to take time to attend to their inner compasses.
Students are encouraged to tune in to what is good for them, their guidance systems, and to honor their voices. That being said, students are encouraged to share their findings with the group or listen to others without feeling obligated to share. “There is encouragement to write what you think. It is really an individualized exercise in community. I recognize that a lot of the work that might come up during this short meeting is personal, and that’s why I don’t want anyone to feel pressured to divulge it,” she says.
A particular focal point is letting go of what isn’t working. “Disruption often comes back – disrupting old, tired patterns that we’ve all learned. Many of our students can see solutions that other people tend to miss, and there isn’t always an audience or room to follow. those instincts. That’s also part of that practice: noticing the solutions and finding ways to implement them,” McKeever says. In the group’s half hour, there’s time and space to do pause and gather regenerative energy to continue developing authentic leadership qualities.
Students find community around academic productivity in The Learning Lab’s Power Hour — available to all Stanford students and meeting four nights a week — Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday — from 8-9 p.m. online.
“So just at a time when most people want to work,” says group host, Stanford sophomore Julia Lasiota. “During the session, students want to work on whatever homework or assignments they have, get together, and first we share the goals we have for this session.”
In particular, Lasiota notes the importance of process goals – setting the intention not necessarily to finish editing an article, but to engage deeply in the editing process for a set amount of time. While it is encouraged to leave the cameras on from a community building and accountability perspective, students can leave them on or off during the session.
Working with others reinforces a sense of responsibility and reduces off-task behavior. “After 50 minutes we reflect on how the session went for us, what worked, what didn’t work and whatever else comes to mind about it. what the process was like,” she says. The final thought is critical: the Learning Lab team finds that metacognition of academic work leads to iterating on practices that lead to success and moving away from approaches that aren’t as helpful.
Although she is also the host, Lasiota reaps the benefits: “I can do Power Hour at the same time because I also do my work with others, so I really appreciate having that fixed time in the day. for most of the week where I know I’m going to sit down and do my homework. Honestly, it’s been a huge relief,” she says. “I totally recommend it for other people to join because ‘once you set it in stone and commit to, you know, having that time in your day, you do so much more stuff and you don’t have to worry about them in advance because that you know you will have time for sure.
Lasiota liked to work with friends in informal study places in the past and wanted to become the Power Hour host to provide a regular opportunity for meetings. “I want it to be an inclusive space where you can just share what the process is really about for you,” she says. She invites students to join one or more sessions according to their schedules and needs.
Revise and Resubmit (R&R)
Learning specialist Mitch Dandignac’s goal when creating the Revise & Resubmit (R&R) group was to let writers know they weren’t alone in their struggles: “I wanted to start a writing-only group for graduate students due to my own experience in my thesis and dissertation.During this time, I felt like my writing process was very isolated.
” Graduate. school is a time to grow as an independent and self-sufficient – it’s true – but also, it’s helpful to have resources to break that flow as well and lean on others, so I wanted to create a weekly writing community for graduates here at Stanford,” he says, noting that the group meets Wednesdays from 10-11 a.m. in a hybrid format.
Regarding the name R&R, which is often associated with rest and relaxation, Dandignac says, “It’s an ironic name because if you’re an academic who publishes work, you’re probably very familiar with this expression, revise and resubmit, because we often hear it when we submit our work for publication and it doesn’t pass peer review all the way, and you necessarily have to make some corrections.
In the R&R space, students work diligently on these modifications, and talk about sticking points, aspects of craftsmanship, and what facilitates their processes. Graduate students are encouraged to bring any writing project – whether a thesis, grant proposal, scholarship application, or shorter work for a class – on which work. Students come from all fields.
The group is not only a place to put words on the page, but also to address the emotional and psychological aspects of academic writing. It is a community of shared perseverance. “We sometimes get writer’s block. We run into all these hurdles, but we often think it’s just us doing this or like a select few, but really, it’s just the normal part of the writing process, and everyone received that feedback at a time, or you will at some point, if you are an academic, that you have to revise and resubmit your work. It’s important to try to standardize this process,” says Dandignac.
For the first part of the session, students respond to a prompt like, what do you do when you get writers block?, and then share answers rich in strategies and shared experiences. Then, students embark on the writing process itself and do the work in two 20-minute bursts – whether it’s planning, outlining, editing, or putting new language on the page. .
“We check in at the end, and we try to rely on that social presence and leverage that social presence, the idea that you’re not writing alone in this session. You write alongside other people as a support mechanism and also just for a change of pace,” he says.
Dandignac also sets goals and works on academic writing himself during the session in a spirit of solidarity.
Like all groups of students in the Learning Lab, he declares: “Presence is not compulsory once [start]. I encourage everyone to attend fairly regularly just to make it part of your routine, but you attend the group as needed and use it in whatever way you find most useful.
For more information on all Stanford Learning Lab student groups and to register, please visit: learninglab.stanford.edu/students