The University of South Carolina’s “no limits” campaign provides a directive to all of our students and particularly one for our graduate students to embrace.
“As Gamecocks, our spirit … our confidence … our success … and our community have no limits.”
The “no limits” campaign reminds me of a book I recently read by John C. Maxwell entitled, No Limits: Blow the Cap off Your Capacity. Operating with a “no limits” mindset goes hand in hand with one of the most salient points raised throughout the book – the idea of “defining our world and ourselves in terms of our possibilities.” The main premise of the book provides a path for how one can move towards success and confidence with “no limits”. This strategy is based on the following “formula”:
AWARENESS + ABILITY + CHOICES = CAPACITY
Capacity is comprised of three ingredients, according to Maxwell.
- Awareness: remove the caps from your capacity
- Ability: develop the capacities you already possess
- Choices: do the right things to maximize your capacity
Maxwell states: “if you grow in your awareness, develop your abilities, and make the right choices, you can reach your capacity.”
As co-chair of the Graduate Professional Advisory Committee alongside Jennifer Mandelbaum, a Ph.D. candidate in public health and vice president of the Graduate Student Association at the University of South Carolina, we work with a multidisciplinary committee of dedicated faculty, staff, and graduate students to provide feedback to Dr. Heather Brandt, the Associate Dean of Graduate Professional Development on professional development programming for graduate students. Specifically, the committee is tasked with providing ideas for the creation and development of programming that will help graduate students “more readily reach their potential” and ensure that they do not have limits in front of them or can overcome any potential limits that may be encountered.
I believe what we do as a committee is an application of the Maxwell “no limits” formula for capacity. The programming that we offer is designed to help you become more aware of your skills, develop the capacities that you already possess, and make the right choices to maximize your capacity and be prepared to achieve a meaningful and satisfying career – all consistent with the Maxwell “no limits” formula. We offer programs that help you to reflect and to develop your ability and strengthen the capacities that you already posses. Our workshops “Learning the Art of Building your Network”, “Shut Up and Write”, and “Considering and Applying Your Transferrable Skills” help to develop one’s ability to build relationships, be productive and accomplish results, and the ability to see options and find answers. Further, we have workshops that help you to do things that maximize your choices. For example, Maxwell talks about responsibility and discipline as choices one makes to take charge of one’s life or to focus and follow through. The workshop on “Preparing for Success and Goal Setting and Time Management Skills” is intended to help graduate students optimize their choices for how you allocate your time. As a committee, we continue to observe and be deeply inspired of the embodiment of “no limits” in the brilliance, energy, creativity, perseverance, and fortitude of our graduate students. In other words, we are working to develop and offer programming to help you be successful in a variety of meaningful careers after you complete your graduate degree. As Maxwell notes, we want for you to blow the cap off your capacities to find success and fulfillment.
Whether you are graduating next month, or returning next fall, we hope this week that you will take time from your busy schedules to enjoy the graduate professional development workshops throughout this semester and more importantly the events for Graduate Student Appreciation Week. Whatever the journey ahead, remember to live your life with “no limits.”
Dr. Kellee White is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. If you are interested in being involved in the Advisory Committee on Professional Development for Graduate Students or have ideas for ways to enhance current programming, Dr. White welcomes you input. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions? Email GRADprofdev@sc.edu.