A commitment to personal development is a key aspect of being a professional. The role of a researcher contains within it a commitment to find out about the unknown and to address gaps in knowledge. Personal development extends this process of enquiry to your own life, skills, understanding and aptitudes.
Many institutions have formalised personal development activity for postgraduate researchers. You may be required to engage with a formal Personal Development Planning (PDP) process. Whether this is the case in your institution or not it is still worth giving some thought to your personal and professional development. By thinking about and writing a training plan you will have started this process but you may wish to look at much broader issues.
In addition to evaluating the training you need for what you are doing now (e.g. your doctorate or current job) your personal development will involve thinking about your values, desired life style, career aspirations and personal attributes and skills. You will need to find an answer to the following questions.
- where have I been?
- where am I now?
- where do I want to get to?
- how will I get there?
- how will I know I've got there?
You may find that a discussion with your supervisor will help you to answer some of these questions but you should also draw on family, friends and other professionals to help you.
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