Kristen Chamberland, PhD

August 30, 2016

Dear Alison, I just want to be sure you know thankful I am and how special your coaches are. And while plenty talented on their own, I only ever see this level of commitment when there is a great employer involved. From the few times we’ve spoken, I’m sure of it. I truly can not say enough good things about my coaching experience. I found the guidance I needed to recover my project when I was floundering in both my academic and personal life and felt like I was at a dead end. I only wish I had known about the service from the start; I would have had a much faster and smoother experience. Coaching not only saw me through to my paper’s completion, but gave me insight into my own habits and patterns, and ways to work through a number of challenges, internal and external. It helped me hone my writing as well as develop lasting valuable time and project management skills. From the start, Rebecca Schuman did not have an easy job. I was emotional and discouraged and needed help from the ground up. I had just been through a major life crisis and had no idea how to proceed. She introduced me to a fundamentally different perspective of myself and my relationship to my work, and helped me realize that not only was I working in a way that was self-defeating, but that I had other options that were far more likely to be successful. She encouraged me to uncouple my academic work from my identity, and re-frame the project into something I could do, rather than be. By the time she went on maternity leave, and Rebecca Schwartz-Bishir stepped in, I was a completely different kind of graduate student, one far more prepared to take on everything I needed to do. Rebecca Schwartz-Bishir saw me through the rest of my project, which was not an easy task either, but she was more than prepared. She is one of the kindest and most genuine people I’ve met, and an extremely calming influence. Even her voice is lyrical! No matter my state of mind going into a session, I was revived and confident by the end. She was engaged and unfailingly supportive and encouraging, but knew when I needed some tough love, too. She always had suggestions about how to tackle different parts of the process, but encouraged me to try different methods to find what worked best for me. I learned how to set goals and timelines, when to push through and when to be flexible, and how to forgive myself and move on when things didn’t work out as planned. Without a doubt, I could not have finished my dissertation without help from my Rebeccas. But beyond the degree, coaching set me up with the kind of life skills that I already use in my professional life, and will stay with me through new challenges. Thank you all for everything!