When considering my own personal ethics, I think it’s really important to take the time to consider who I am as a person in addition to who I am as a scholar. Yes, one of my greatest passions is studying communication, but the core behind that is my passion for people. One thing that I kept coming back to was the Strengths Test I took prior to my first semester teaching at Virginia Tech. The test told me that my top strengths were 1) Empathy, 2) Developer, 3) Positivity, 4) Connectedness, and 5) Intellection. Looking at these, the test suggested jobs that work directly with others- one of the first suggestions was as a teacher! As a GTA, I am living that role currently, so I think it’s important for me to remember on hard days that I am acting as both authority and mentor, and I have to be aware of the ethics involved in that duel-role.
Within my experience in grad school, I have noticed a huge push for publishing work and attending conferences. However, I feel that the networking aspect has been more of an afterthought. Considering my own strengths (which are overwhelmingly relational in nature), I think that my beliefs and values lie in developing positive, intellectual connections with others. My focus has always been on finding ways to connect with people, so my own personal code of conduct is more focused on the people I work with rather than the physical work I am producing. I hope that, moving forward, I can utilize my relational strengths while still maintaining my own sense of professionalism. Likewise, I hope to see over time more acceptance of relational strengths as equally valid as technical strengths.