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Join Us for Our Fall Online Writing Retreat

Student works on her laptop in EB1 on Centennial Campus.

Are you looking for motivation to work on your dissertation, thesis, article, or job application? The Professional Development Team’s online writing retreat gives Gradpack writers a supportive virtual community of writers from the comfort of their own homes!

Join us via Zoom on the week of December 7 for motivation, accountability, productivity, and online writing community between semesters.

In addition to making progress on an academic writing project, Gradpack writers at the retreat can dedicate time to working on industry job search materials or academic portfolios for the spring academic job markets.

What is the Writing Retreat?

The Writing Retreat is a week of dedicated writing time, workshops, and individual consultations with the members of our Professional Development Team. Specifically, you can join:

  • Working sessions that give writers opportunities to try out productivity techniques like the Pomodoro method or writing to quiet music
  • Daily goal-setting sessions and check-ins with small groups
  • Information sessions on using citation management tools and NC State’s ETD format
  • Hands-on workshops on a variety of academic and professional writing topics
  • Individual writing advising sessions with team members
  • Individual career consultation sessions with team members

Private companies charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for similar immersive online writing experiences, but NC State’s weeklong retreat is free.

When and how is it held?

Our Fall 2020 Writing Retreat runs December 7 through December 11. All working sessions, workshops, and individual consultations take place via Zoom video conferencing.

Participating writers can participate synchronously via Zoom for the entire sessions, or “unplug” and work on their writing projects while joining us for the more interactive sessions, in keeping with their work preferences and goals.

Participants who consistently engage with the week’s events can earn up to 35 hours towards our new Graduate Writing Certificate.

Who should attend?

All master’s, PhD, and postdoc trainees are welcomed to attend the Writing Retreat regardless of your stage in your writing project. Past participants have found the retreat helpful for making progress on a draft and finding the motivation to get started on a project.

As Rachel Atkins (Marine, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences), who participated in our first-ever online retreat in May, explains, the retreat helps writers to “recognize when there are other goals, instead of just word counts, like literature [review] breakthroughs and planning your manuscript”.

What projects can you work on at the writing retreat?

For advanced degree holders, writing can take many forms from articles for specialized experts to the application materials that help you land the job in academia or industry.

This retreat is your opportunity to make progress on a writing project that you are currently pursuing. For example, you can work on article drafts, conference papers, technical papers, masters’ theses, dissertation chapters, or capstone projects. You could also dedicate the week to polishing materials for the spring academic job market or developing resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles for your industry career search.

As noted above, participants will have opportunities to get individual advice on their project from members of our Professional Development Team as well as meet with team members to discuss long term career goals and how writing can help them get there.

Who should attend? What makes an online retreat unique?

We asked participants in the May 2020 virtual writing retreat for their thoughts on the experience:

“I felt like it was even more productive as a virtual event…the fact that we could kind of meet up in person, virtually see each other’s faces, but at the same time be in our own environments was helpful.”–Rachel Atkins (Marine, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences)

“The most important thing about the retreat is that all of us are in the same boat, right? So everyone has a goal they want to achieve by the end of that week. And, in a way, we’re all helping each other.”–Claudia Alberico (Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management)

“Having the openness where the participants were free to ask questions or share feedback really helped me to imbibe the concepts and to retain them as well”–Siddharth Banerjee (Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering)

“I had to write for my candidacy exam and learning about the SMART goals was really helpful in writing this proposal because I was realistic about how long it would take, as I planned out my pre writing phases at the retreat”–Heather Starkey (Forest Biomaterials)

“This is a good opportunity to talk to peers because different strategies adopted by others might be helpful. And that might actually enhance the writing and help in progress.”–Milon Hossain (Fiber & Polymer Science)

What are the next steps?

Whom should I contact?

Katie Homar, Director of Academic & Engineering Writing Support

“If you have any questions about whether you should attend or not, just go ahead and do it…. You’ll learn a lot. And you’ll come out on the other side with a lot of really the tools to help better that will help make you a better writer”–Heather Starkey (Forest Biomaterials)

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