Individual Development (Plan)

I had heard of IDPs from my friends in education, primarily from those with special needs students. I spent probably a year not knowing what IDP stood for, despite understanding that it was a personalized plan for a student. Since then, I have learned the acronym and thought, hey, this is a great thing that people are starting to implement. Totally looking at it from the outside in, and not involving myself. Earlier this semester, I was introduced to several online resources that offer IDPs. Yesterday, I completed the Science IDP (link), and I was pleasantly surprised.

I have thought that my future has one career and one career only, but last fall I started thinking whether it was what I really wanted to do, or if it was merely the only thing that sounded like something I would like to do. So excited, I am legitimately looking for more information so that I can decide if this is a viable option for me. Please note: this does make me feel a little like Temperance Brennan, so that may be some of the fuel towards my new life goal. 

What aggravates me is that nobody emphasized how important this would be for me in my career. People told me to do it, but they did not stress the importance. It doesn’t bother me, but it does make me realize how much more vocal we need to be about helping people develop into who they want to become. In the book I am currently reading, there’s a quote that states, people tend to become what we tell them they will be. It is sticking with me so much because I know it to be true. When you tell somebody that they can’t do something, they will begin to think that it is true and give up. But, when you tell somebody that they can do something, they tend to work harder.

Let me stop to make an important distinction, telling children that they can grow up to be whomever they want is not the answer. We all know darn well that that isn’t true. What about the immigrant child who wants to be the president of the U.S.? That’s not possible. The severe asthmatic who wants to be a firefighter? Not safe. There are limitations to what we can become, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore potential in individuals. When we see a skill, we need to highlight it and praise it and encourage the person to do more. I don’t believe there is an age-restriction on this either. And if somebody is bad at something, we don’t need to point it out or shame them, but maybe we do need to spend more time focusing on the good. Let them make their own decisions under your influence. Ultimately, this will happen regardless of what you do- so why not do it in the nicest way possible?

I am proud to say that I am now at least open to considering other career options for myself. In the past year, my values have undergone a large shift by my standards, and I think my career goals need to be adjusted as such. I’m not saying that I have decided I’m unsuited for my chosen field or the job I will likely still make a career. What I am saying is that the destination for me is a lot more open than it was before, and that my friends is a beautiful thing.


Published by She Got The PhD

A web-based soapbox of an Assistant Professor of color in Chemical Engineering; sharing my feelings on books, academia, and current events. I hope you enjoy reading :)

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