Unleashing your Inner Child to Master Graduate School

Last week, a few articles discussing the importance of being more child-like regarding professional life were highlighted in my blog subscription emails. This post will focus on the “Adulting is Killing your Vibe–Master these Toddler Moves Stat”  from Shine and “8 Reasons Thinking Like a Child Will Make You Happier” from Mental Floss stood out most. Both blog posts provide tips detailing the importance of going back to your child instincts in your adult life. I found both articles inspiring and decided to try being more like 5-year old Jessica, particularly in regards my graduate career.

I reviewed recommendations in the blog posts and selected the following:

  • Be unapologetically carefree (8 Reasons Tip 1& Shine Tip 3),
  • Wander more (8 Reasons Tip 2),
  • Be impulsive (Adulting is Killing your Vibe tip 4),
  • Be more decisive (8 Reasons Tip 7), and
  • Look for new experiences (8 Reasons Tip 8).

I completed this challenge for almost two weeks and here is what happened.


I became more adventurous and carefree. This change was a combination of tips one, two, seven and eight from Mental Floss and tip three from Shine. In an attempt to reduce my concern for other’s opinions, I worked on 8 Reasons Thinking Like a Child Will Make You Happier tip 1 (Stop caring what people think of you) and tip 3 (be your carefree self) from Adulting is Killing your Vibe. My concern for other people’s opinions of me is already pretty low in my personal life; however, I do worry about my professional brand when committing to tasks. I feel like my name is on the line and any wrong move could tarnish my reputation. So, I gave it a try. Applying this attitude to my graduate career reduced my stress and it was unexpectedly rewarding. I was still productive but my focus shifted from worrying about how projects, reports and my presentation could influence my professional future to being happy with completing tasks.

8 Reasons Thinking Like a Child Will Make You Happier also discusses the importance of being decisive (tip 7) and tip 4 in Adulting is Killing your Vibe recommends that you take more impulsive chances and see where it takes you. Typically, I am indecisive. I take my time making decisions about invitations because I consider everything else I have going, which usually results in me not doing what I want to do because I prioritize other things. Following the guidance of this recommendations increased my network and community engagement. I noticed a spike in my social activity. I started saying yes to more invitations for networking opportunities and creating some. Forcing myself to say yes to more social opportunities was probably the best part of this experiment. My network has increased, and more people are helping with my job search. I made new high profile contacts in various organizations, which have resulted in new unique opportunities.

Basically, I stopped boxing myself in. This meant speaking with my supervisor about working from home, coffee shops, parks or other places I felt inspired to work. These subtle changes in workspace resulted in unplanned creativity with projects and reports. It also helped me think outside of my office and our network for partnerships and how my colleagues and I interact with the community professionally.

Overall, being more kid-like in my professional and academic life has yielded excellent results. I suggest that you take time to read the articles and select the recommendations that are relevant to your graduate school career. If you try these suggestions, leave comments about what worked and did not work for you.

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