GradHacker

GradHacker

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

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!
September 13, 2012 - 9:05pm
It can be quite exhilarating when you’ve been sitting on a problem a long time and, after allowing your mind to wander, the solution comes when you least expect it. Research has even shown that there is an upside to zoning out. But what happens when this great idea comes to you at 2 AM?
September 11, 2012 - 7:32pm
As a grad student in my last year of study, I enjoy a pretty flexible schedule and work environment. I work from home a few days a week, and conduct a lot of my research in online spaces, so being constantly connected to the internet is essential for me. However, this constant connectivity is a double-edged sword; I find myself distracted from my work almost as often as I'm focused on it, and as I settle in to struggle with my dissertation and job market materials, I have a hard time shutting out the siren song of Facebook. Lucky for me, a cottage industry of anti-distraction apps has sprung up to keep people like me from destroying themselves one tweet at a time. Here are a few of them.
September 9, 2012 - 9:09pm
So last year I was on a Fulbright in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Setting aside all good judgment I agreed to rent a room in an apartment with a group of “mature professionals and graduate students.” Because, conveniently, none of them were home at the time I visited—which was already the first of the month—I had no opportunity to assess for myself just how “mature” was being defined.
September 6, 2012 - 11:58pm
As we prepare for a new school year, many of us will write lectures either by choice or because we feel or are told we must. I confess that I don’t like to lecture; I much prefer to facilitate student discussion, which places the responsibility for learning back on the students themselves. We have all experienced mind-numbing lectures and (most of us!) have vowed not to do that to our own students, but how do we break out of the mold in which we have been shaped?
September 4, 2012 - 6:27pm
This time last year, I was sitting around my apartment and waiting for the results of my comprehensive exams. I was jittery and nervous, and jumped a mile every time my computer made the “you’ve got an email!” noise. I couldn’t focus on teaching or the zillion other responsibilities that I had, and spent most of the day in an anxious state of stasis. What saved me, surprisingly, was a ball of yarn and two knitting needles I found in the back of a closet.
September 3, 2012 - 5:17pm
One of my favorite distractions is podcasts. I love them. They're part of my commute, they're part of my leisure time, and they're part of my work time.
August 30, 2012 - 9:20pm
I have a hard time working without music. No matter what grad school-related task I am working on, it just feels strange to be doing it in silence.

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