GradHacker

A Blog from GradHacker and MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online

A Blog from GradHacker and MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online

October 8, 2012 - 2:27am
This upcoming week is homecoming at Michigan State University. Undergraduates, faculty and alumni are pulling together to celebrate the legacy of their university. The entire town shuts down for a parade, everything is covered in green and white, and people flock in from out of town. There are going to be hayrides across campus where you can learn about the history of the university, free arts and crafts nights, trivia games, free MSU ice cream, an awards gala, and almost every school, department, and club is doing something special. It is focused around celebrating the heritage of this great school, and the beautiful future we are currently forging for it. Where will graduate students be? Probably at home studying to avoid the crowds.
October 4, 2012 - 8:43pm
Look, coffee is great and all, but it just doesn’t hold a candle to the variety and flexibility of tea. I am a dyed in the wool tea drinker, and I can't write a word without a cuppa. But tea can be tricky; just choosing the generic bagged tea off the shelf rarely results in a triumphant tea experience. Recently, we at GradHacker have posted guides for wine and coffee, and it is high time that delicious teas were given their due.
October 2, 2012 - 9:04pm
So you’ve found a lab that you like- wonderful! Hopefully you are interested in the research and fit well into the established lab personalities. However, depending on your program, you will only have a limited amount of time to work in this lab before you have to either move on to another or make a decision as to where you will be working for you dissertation. Selection of your dissertation lab is a very important cornerstone to your graduate school experience and will determine the bulk of what you learn during your education.
September 30, 2012 - 9:07pm
How to stay motivated to write? This is especially tricky considering that one enemy of writing is fear of criticism, which is hard to overcome when academic writing has at its core the fact that one's writing WILL BE CRITICIZED.
September 27, 2012 - 7:45pm
My brother and I have always dealt with relaxation in very different ways. We're both graduate students, him in his second year, and me in my fifth year. When we visited my parents for breaks like Thanksgiving and the Winter holidays during undergrad, we had extremely different reactions to the free time. He read books, had extended lounging sessions on the couch, and would watch entire seasons of popular tv shows. I filled my time with friends, got back into my exercise routine, and was continually out and about. These methods had been fairly successful for us, even though they were different.
September 25, 2012 - 9:17pm
Colleague: Hey, I heard that you completed [insert task] (comps, proposal, thesis dissertation document)!You: Yes, it feels great it out of the way!Colleague: I bet. So now you just need to [insert next daunting task] (do your proposal, write your dissertation, find a job).You:  *glass shatters*.... yeah, thanks for reminding me.
September 23, 2012 - 7:47pm
Friends, it's time for a serious conversation. We need to talk about your coffee. Bad coffee is a common affliction. With our busy lives we tend to seek out the things that are easy to use.
September 20, 2012 - 9:31pm
It's the most arduous time of the year--academic job market season. If you're a grad student actively seeking academic employment now, you will need to secure those ever-important letters of recommendation in the next few weeks. For some folks, this is a terrifying prospect. It often feels like an imposition, a distraction or a drag on the time of a very busy, very important person.
September 18, 2012 - 9:32pm
By this point in the semester you're beginning to get the lay of the land. You've navigated the administration of classes, bookstores, parking passes, and coordinated the eight different campus offices required to pay for it all. You are likely carrying several more pieces of plastic in your wallet and have dozens more passwords floating around in your head than you did a month ago. You've hopefully also gained at least a vague sense of what is expected of you as a student, as a TA, and as a colleague. Often such expectations are not written down anywhere and get relayed inconsistently if at all.
September 16, 2012 - 9:19pm
Academic conferences can be overwhelming, but they are often a necessary part of academia. They provide a means for you to engage other scholars, and to work on your scholarly identity. They are awesome networking opportunities, and a great place to test out new research and challenging ideas. Below are a list of (more) hacks for successfully navigating the academic conference gauntlet!

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