Congratulations! You just finished or are close to finishing up your Division III project! As you are ringing the bell and enjoying the glories of being Div Free you should also consider archiving your Div. Archiving your project is a wonderful way to share your work with the community and for future students to get inspired.
Any advice for students with Five College faculty on their committees or other off-campus members?
If you can’t meet in person, just be sure you’re all on the same page.
Skype members in.
How long of a reading period should I aim for?
The first semester of your Div III is a time to be reading and writing all the time. As you move into second semester you may end up reading only as needed and working on revising your writing. You should speak with your committee members about what the best plan is for you.
If you are spending time with family and/or friends this break and are bringing work with you, you will need to be planful so that you get some work done and ALSO get to play and relax. It is all important. Don’t shortchange yourself in either direction. Consider what would be a reasonable amount of time to spend on your work. Thinking about how much time to spend, rather than how much to complete can help you make sure you do get a break.
Look at tools and resources on this page, or search for tips in the archived posts to find strategies to help you get things done.
When working this break:
Schedule it in.
Then – enjoy your time off*!!!!
*even if there is more you could get done – you have met your schedule and play is important too.
Perhaps you would do well by UNSCHEDULING your time. Rather than schedule in work and see if there is time left for play, try scheduling in your play time. You’ll soon see the unscheduled blocks of time you have for work – without feeling you are depriving yourself of fun.
If you follow the advice in this article on unscheduling, you’ll be able to have the guilt-free play time you have scheduled in. No surprises here, it does mean that play time can’t be all day; the unscheduled time is now for work in productive chunks. The really good news is that the work is done without feeling bad for wanting to play!
Of course you are not done. But if you don’t already have an introduction written, try writing your one as if you were. Just sit and bang out 2-5 pages. Write about the larger problem or issue (what do you know about it? include what you think you know too) and write your way to your purpose.
You are bound to see more clearly what you already know and what you need to find out. You’re also likely to sharpen your focus. Try it! Then share it with your committee.
Likely, there are a number of related ideas you are capturing in your Div III or using to create your argument, design your project, or create your art. Sometimes we get stuck trying to order these ideas linearly. It helps to look at the ideas in a 2-D way that allows us to see how our ideas relate to one another. Concept maps help us do just that – and there are many online tools that help you create a concept map.
Try to create a concept map of your ideas – telling the story of the map might ultimately help you organize your ideas into a more linear fashion. You might find that there are a number of ideas that you really want to focus on and you can let the more far flung ideas go.
If you are like most Div III students, your committee is telling you that you have to focus your topic more, that the project is too big as it stands. You might be wondering how a more focused project will allow you to still hold onto the larger issues that brought you to your Div III.
For a written Div III, you often begin with an introduction that lays out the bigger “problem” or issue. This is where you write about the big ideas. It might take a few pages to do that. Since you are dealing with a large problem at first, you’ll note that there is more than one way to approach it (that is why it is a big, unstructured problem). Keep in mind that you can’t solve BIG issues in one project – not in any project, but especially one done in, say, 7 months (we’d be willing to have you stay longer, but you’ll probably want to focus instead).
So, you’ll have to figure out your purpose. This is where you funnel down from the big issue and figure out your research questions or specific goals of the project. You’ll select methods that help you accomplish that goal or answer those questions.
But don’t despair, after you are done you bring what you learned back to bear on the larger issue in your conclusions or generalizations section or chapter. You didn’t fix the whole problem, but you’ll have something important to say about the problem. This is your contribution to the larger understanding.
If you are doing a creative project, you still might be doing so because of a larger issue or unsolved problem (maybe about how to accomplish something). You will still have your methods and your take on the issues with your own creative contribution.
A student recommends an app called “Habitica.” It helps them to improve their work habits and their self care. Habitica turns your goals and to-do lists into a social media-supported game. See if it would help you.
Below are notes and audio from each participant. You’ll find tips and an idea of what you might expect from: Laura Wenk (CS), Anne Downes (CASA), Bonnie Vigeland (Library), Michele Hardesty (HACU), Jane Couperus (CS), Kim Chang (CSI), Chris Cianfrani (NS), and John Slepian (IA)
3 classes of work = 35 hrs a week aka a full time job
What does that look like?
Not just on the Computer
Time meeting with your committee.
Talking to Peers.
Finding a placement for you work if applicable.
Talking about your work.
Giving and getting feedback.
More on Div III
This is about the process as much as the product. Learning about and from the process (it is a year of learning) – don’t think you need to use everything you read or write or do in the Div III product.
Take a breath.
Ann Downs: CASA all things DIV III
None of you have done a Div III before and we are aware that it requires a specific skillset that you have been working on but it has yet to be put all together. When you aren’t sure or don’t know what to do always ask for help.
Ask for help at any point of your div be it starting, where to go, how to approach it, all the way to the logistics.
You need to be doing 2 advanced activities.
-3 documents (link or post)
– Best Practices for Div III
-Div III Calendar
CASA does not have to be a scary place. There are a lot of people here to help you through the Div III journey and don’t hesitate to ask for their help!
Bonnie Vigeland: Research Librarian in Humanities and Film (She/Her/Hers)
There are 4 research librarians here to help you!
All they need to know is what you are interested in or need help with and they can assist you. Part of their jobs is to continually be learning through reading, watching, listening etc. They can point you in helpful directions as well as strategize research methods.
How to best contact the Research Librarians?
Email to make an appointment. Mention what you are interested in and what help you are looking for.
Michele Hardesty: Associate Professor of U.S. Literatures/ Cultural Studies
Find Community with fellow Div IIIs
Create a routine
Envision the year ahead with your committee and setting deadlines
Look at your year in chunks
If things don’t feel totally right in the start, that’s okay! It takes time.
Tripp: Recent Div III
Do a little bit of work everyday
You will have on and off days and that’s okay
Jane Couperus: Associate Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Faculty can learn as much from you as you from them. Sometimes you’ll be the expert!
Bring in accountability from outside sources if you are struggling with deadlines.
Build in slack time for moments that derail you from your Div. Having a packed calendar with no wiggle room might lead to things not being done if something comes up or takes longer.
Make other goals that help you learn about the process of your Div vs. only the product.
Your Div is a single project. If you hate it at the end that’s okay. You’ll have other bigger and better projects in your life.
COMMUNICATE. COMMUNICATE. COMMUNICATE. If you don’t tell your advisors what you are doing then they don’t know what is going on especially when you need help.
Eat, Sleep, Play.
Did you eat your normal amount?
Did you get enough sleep?
Make time to play. Have fun. Relax.
Abby Hanus: Recent Div III/ Alumni Fellow
First steps in self care is recognizing yourself and that you deserve care of yourself and from others. Asking for care along with accepting it takes acts of bravery within yourself. Learning care was a huge part of the divisional process for Abby. Communicate with your committee. Tell them when you are struggling because their role is to support you.
Kim Chang: Associate Professor of Cultural Psychology
Scoping a project: making your div a manageable size
Cycles in your Div III
Div III seminars are really helpful
John Slepian: Five College Associate Professor of Art and Technology
Div III is weird. If you are weirded out its normal.
Chances are your div III will be great. But it won’t be the most amazing thing ever. Chances are your Div will just be a good part of college and you will have more projects to follow.
Do something you like doing. You are getting up everyday and doing something, make sure you like it or you won’t be successful in it.
It might be that when you would do a smaller project, say for a course, you could read or engage with visual pieces and then write or create your own piece in a number of hours over a few days – you might have remembered much of what you read or thought when you viewed a piece of work and could incorporate those ideas in your writing. DON’T TRY THIS IN DIV III.
You are doing a sustained project and your thinking will change as you engage with new sources. Yet, your most powerful writing and thinking will be right as you read a new piece or see a new piece of art for the first time. WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU READ AND SEE WHEN YOUR IDEAS ARE UNFOLDING. That is how you can get power into your writing.
So, read and then write about that piece – read and write, read and write. Even stop and write as you read – what is this author/artist saying? How does it connect to what I already know and believe? What questions does this raise? How is it similar or different from what another author/artist said or did?
You are not writing a Div III at this moment. You are writing about ideas in order to get at what you will ultimately want to say. Eventually, you will be ready to write across the pieces you are producing and you can use some of what you wrote in these small pieces. They will have more power and detail than what you would have been able to recollect later – and you won’t have to go back and find the article, chapter, book, where you found that idea (go to the October 17th workshop in the library on managing your research). Even if you have a Div III that is an artistic production of some sort, you want to track your ideas as you have them.
Besides writing when ideas are fresh and capturing the appropriate detail, reading and writing right away means you will never suffer from having a blank page! Plus, you can set a goal for yourself about how many pieces you can read and write about in a week. You can share that writing with your committee and they can engage with the ideas with you – helping you think about what else to read and how to focus your thinking.