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

May 28, 2012 - 7:05pm
I began playing capoiera a few months ago, and I am terrible at it. Which is pretty perfect. My foray into the Brazilian fight-dance began academically enough, but the process of practicing something that I am not -- and will perhaps never be -- good at has been a refreshing change of pace during a life point of increasing responsibility and supposed expertise development.
May 24, 2012 - 9:44pm
This year, I made a fortunately successful run on the academic job market, and I'm looking forward to beginning my tenure-track position in August. Until now, I’ve resisted posting on those experiences. I have, however, commented on the job search more broadly. For instance, I’ve discussed the need for doctoral students to simultaneously prepare for the academic- and non-academic job markets. It seems odd to me, then, that I haven’t offered some hacky, this-is-how-you-do-it tidbits for writing the academic cover letter, preparing a writing sample, practicing for interviews, and acing the campus visit.
May 22, 2012 - 8:28pm
We love technology and social media here at GradHacker. It is a great way to connect to the world, to network in innovative ways, and to learn about what is currently going on in your discipline. We can create, edit and format every inch of our dissertation online, allowing our committee to dynamically edit on Google Docs or directly attach to our Zotero bibliographies. I would even go so far as to say that my smart phone is the most important grad school tool that I own. I can't tell you how many times I've been glad that I can get my Gmail, check my Dropbox or Tweet. My iPhone is like my personal Tinkerbell or Navi, constantly helping me get to the right place and alert me of everything that is going on. But this is also the problem... I can always be reached
May 20, 2012 - 9:17pm
  Okay, here goes…I’m here to confess: I’m an 8th year doctoral student. I admit this in hopes other drifting graduate students will realize they are not alone, and perhaps summon the courage to accurately assess the situation and make needed changes. My first couple years were full of excitement—I welcomed any chance to talk about the Ph.D. program and my classes. As the years went by, I became reticent, hoping no one would ask how grad school was going. If asked, I would have to acknowledge my lack of progress. I avoided research conferences, knowing they meant encountering former classmates, now graduated and holding tenure-track professor positions.
May 18, 2012 - 8:07am
It's finally here, summer. That means long days laying out in the sunshine, late nights with friends and extended trips to far away places away from the hustle and bustle of the university. Oh wait... you're a grad student. Then it means long days of trying to teach summer classes, late nights working on ones own research and extended trips to libraries and other universities to raid their archives and labs for that pivotal missing link that would turn your dissertation into a masterpiece. Fear not though, GradHacker is here. Over the past semester we've had articles that cover every aspect of grad school from how to turn your stress into delicious baking or how to deal with fighting committee members. Not only that, we launched our podcasts which interviews academics on broader issues and discusses the articles from the last few weeks. In case you are new to GradHacker, or just need some inspiration to survive the summer, here are our top posts from the last semester.
May 15, 2012 - 10:04pm
  Navigating the internet as a doctoral candidate becomes a bit more difficult than it did for some of our straight-to-work peers.  Seven-ish years in school provides for a lot of time for status updates that might offend or alienate a future employer, and cleaning up a Facebook profile can involve more than merely taking down a couple of photos from the undergrad years.  The arrested development of graduate education often leaves us feeling like we can live large on the internet, up until the moment when those seven years of tweets suddenly become a topic in an employment interview.  As a result, acting professional on personal social networks seems to be an often elusive goal for doctoral students, and I have watched peers struggle after mis-judging their abilities to network, sometimes with professionally damaging consequences.
May 13, 2012 - 9:05pm
In early May, my wife, our two small children and I will pack up our serendipitously named 2003 Honda Odyssey and travel 262 miles from our home near Indianapolis to the campus of Michigan State University. There I will proudly don my newest prized possession: my master’s hood. However, unlike many others who will also walk through such a ceremony this spring, this trip is different in that it will be just my third time on campus as 100% of my degree has been completed online.
May 10, 2012 - 8:43pm
As a former High School English teacher, I have experienced the overwhelming tsunami of having to provide feedback on a weekly basis to ~150 students. Between that experience and my more recent experiences teaching online students, I've thought a lot about providing feedback on student writing and student products.
May 9, 2012 - 9:10pm
I'm going to guess that many reading this column also have seen the “should one go to grad school” blog posts and perhaps even its variant, “should one to go grad school in the humanities.” In April, Inside Higher Ed linked to a similarly titled essay in The Hairpin, and also last month, GradHacker’s own Andrea Zellner responded to a blog called “100 Reasons NOT to Go to Grad School.”  Then there are the animated spoofs on the topic, which in my view, are no less thought-provoking. (Since there are so many devoted to specific courses of study, I won’t link to any one clip here.) But what about a much different question about graduate school—not one about entrance decisions, but exit strategies? When should one leave grad school, and in particular, a PhD program?
May 7, 2012 - 7:09pm
Often there is a lot of discussion on protecting the identity of our subjects when we do our research. The IRB focuses on the protection of both the subjects and the institution to a great extent, but what about the researcher?  In the Terry Arendell paper about the difficulties she found in her interviews men, the topic of safety in the field is discussed at length.  It important to note that while this particular example discussed the dangers of women being alone while interview men, this does not mean that other gender interactions won't lead to dangerous situations.


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