GradHacker

GradHacker

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

February 14, 2012 - 6:48pm
Last week, as I prepared my office for an upcoming move to another home, I had a realization: when was the last time I actually took something out of my filing cabinet? The filing cabinet sits in my closet in my home office. It include four drawers: two full of articles, one full of research notes and photocopies, and the other full of personal items, like bills and so on. I bought it during my first year of graduate school, when I realized I would be accumulating a lot of paper. This was before sheet feed scanners were popular (or affordable) or tablets or iPhones had hit the market, so reading on the computer was not something a lot of students were doing: it certainly wasn't where I was then. I used the photocopy machine. A lot.
February 12, 2012 - 8:00pm
I often wish there was a BOOK IT program for adults. I’m thinking of something different from the “grown-up” reading groups sponsored by talk show hosts where everyone, regardless of their interests, gathers to read the same chick-lit fare. And I’m definitely thinking of something different from traditional academic reading groups where copious notes and discussion questions are the norm. Both kinds of groups are well-meaning and there’s a place for them, to be sure. But really, I’m thinking of something with no guilt, no pressure, and no real agenda other than sharing and having fun.
February 9, 2012 - 10:50pm
The busy life of a grad student is often spent juggling multiple responsibilities from school, work and personal life.  If you’re anything like me, you’re always finding yourself overcommitted to things and something has to drop to the wayside. One of my goals has been to better manage my time and set up boundaries with my commitments.  I’m not naturally a planner (big understatement!), but I’ve come to realize that if I’m not careful, things are just going to fall apart.
February 7, 2012 - 8:30pm
There is no doubt that online education has arrived in Higher Education. Each year, the numbers of colleges and universities offering online courses increases. There is certainly appeal for these types of courses: students can better fit them into busy schedules and traveling to campus is no longer required. While I dabbled in teaching hybrid and online courses for a while, I have been teaching online for most of the past two years.  Additionally, I began my graduate career in a hybrid PhD program: two weeks of face-to-face instruction with the rest of the instruction and work provided entirely online, and mostly asynchronously. Having been on both sides of online learning has taught me a few lessons about how best to help students learn in an environment that provides as many challenges (if not more) as face-to-face teaching.
February 5, 2012 - 11:52pm
Graduate school entails taking a lot of criticism. Now, for the most part this is constructive, meant to build us into the colleagues our professors want us to be. However, it sometimes feels like we are constantly under negative scrutiny, our advisors nitpicking our every action and tearing us apart for their own pleasure. Sometimes when you take leaps you fail miserably, often in front of your peers. Failure is difficult to deal with, especially when the risks can be high, such as fighting for a fellowship or grant money. Failure is also fairly common in grad school. With thousands of grad students in your discipline and economic depression leading to reduced funding, failure is something you need to learn to deal with.
February 5, 2012 - 11:52pm
Graduate school entails taking a lot of criticism. Now, for the most part this is constructive, meant to build us into the colleagues our professors want us to be. However, it sometimes feels like we are constantly under negative scrutiny, our advisors nitpicking our every action and tearing us apart for their own pleasure. Sometimes when you take leaps you fail miserably, often in front of your peers. Failure is difficult to deal with, especially when the risks can be high, such as fighting for a fellowship or grant money. Failure is also fairly common in grad school. With thousands of grad students in your discipline and economic depression leading to reduced funding, failure is something you need to learn to deal with.
February 2, 2012 - 9:28pm
Valentine’s Day is fast-approaching, and for many singletons out there, just passing by the grocery store’s “seasonal” aisle can be an unpleasant reminder of one’s relationship status. Of course, being single, even during Valentine’s Day, can be a liberating experience and also a time of personal growth and discovery. But what if you’re single and you’d like to start dating? What if you also are in graduate school? As we’ve discovered, dating while you’re a graduate student poses its own challenges. Here is some advice from Amy (who is happily taken) and Katy (who is currently negotiating the dating scene).
January 31, 2012 - 6:43pm
Today, February 1, is Digital Learning Day. As part of the celebration of all things digital learning, we here at Gradhacker are offering an invitation to our readers to participate with us.  Check out these suggestions and resources so that you can celebrate Digital Learning Day with us!
January 30, 2012 - 7:28am
I had worked for weeks on my first conference paper. I had received comments from multiple faculty members, and rehearsed it in front of friends. I had the slides perfectly lined up with the text, and had inserted just enough animations to emphasize my points, but not take away from the entire presentation. I felt ready. I was nervous. I was anxious. I spent the first three days of the conference worried about the presentation. What if no one liked it? What if my computer crashed? And then the time came, and I stood in front of a nearly empty room and gave my presentation.
January 26, 2012 - 5:10pm
  Academic, professional, and personal cross-training will prepare advanced degree holders for a variety of post-graduation situations, including, but not only, employment outside of academia. In fact, based on my experience, cross-training can help one to land an academic position in a glutted academic job market. On the one hand, a diverse skill set might make increase one's attractiveness to search committees. On the other hand, a diverse skill set might create more job opportunities by expanding the kinds of positions for which an applicant can apply.  Cross-training, then, engenders the flexibility needed to navigate challenging employment climates. (As for cultivating the emotional strength and endurance for the job search, that's a different post for another time -- and one that I hope to write for GradHacker soon.)

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