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

April 12, 2012 - 8:35pm
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about using Twitter as way to develop an academic identity. Mike M. asked me about the large amount of people who I follow and how I go about "filtering out the noise." That question inspired this post because I realized that, while I spend a lot of time discussing how to engage with various social media sites, I rarely talk about when and why I intentionally disengage with them.  
April 11, 2012 - 7:13am
At my institution, spring break is now a good three weeks behind us.  As the academic year lets out its last gasp of life, the natural world is teeming. At least, it is here in southern Indiana, where we’ve been blessed—er, cursed, depending on your tolerance to tree pollen—with an extremely early spring. Lately, the liveliness, vibrancy, and productivity I see outside of the classroom sometimes contrasts pretty sharply with what’s going on inside. Many of my students are in a Spring Slump, and I’m desperate for them to snap of it because, well, the semester’s not over yet.  
April 10, 2012 - 8:02pm
Check out the newest episode over at podcast.gradhacker.org! Alex and Andrea interview Ethan Watrall and Amanda French to discuss THATCamp; what is it and why should grad students care? The hosts then discuss a number of Gradhacker stories.
April 8, 2012 - 8:44pm
Professional service is one of the many elements of becoming a professional that many graduate students don't consider to be an important component of graduate school. It often slides under the radar, somewhere well below writing, research, and teaching. While almost all students understand the importance of joining professional organizations, attending conferences, and presenting at those conferences, few take their involvement beyond that step. However, there are many different ways to be involved in your professional organization, and a number of important reasons to do so. Many graduate students don't know how to become involved, or what options for student involvement exist. And, like anything else, taking on service responsibilities has its drawbacks.
April 5, 2012 - 9:17pm
I was born logical and creative and comical and dark and practical and dreamy and compassionate and angry. I was born understanding myself as a whole; I never questioned my own composition. For a long time in my life, I believed that I could be anyone. But lives move forward in choices and in those choices there is growth. Most of those choices are necessary, but some of them are false. It never occurred to me that one day I would have to begin the doppelgängers's dance, the double-walking life of one made to divide one’s self. Again and again in my life I have been presented with a choice that I now know is false: the choice between artist and analyst.
April 3, 2012 - 7:52pm
During my first PhD anthropology theory course, it was suggested to us that we should start writing every single day. Our professor told us that we needed to sit down for an hour every single day, or most days of the week, and just write. We shouldn't focus on a specific topic, or try to answer a question, but rather we should just write whatever is on our mind. Honestly, I've been a fairly good writer since high school, and I wrote a lot in undergrad, so I wasn't concerned with it. I had to do half a dozen 25 page papers during my masters, and I had just finished writing my thesis. Practicing writing was the least of my worries.
April 1, 2012 - 10:45pm
On the weekend of June 15th, I will be attending the fifth THATCamp Prime. What is THATCamp? Founded by graduate students at the history department at George Mason University in 2008, THAT stands for 'the humanities and technology'.  It is an 'unconference' in that the structure and agenda is decided on-site on the first day of the conference itself. No papers. No panels. This model facilitatesTHATCamp's strengths: productive results, networking, and knowledge sharing.
April 1, 2012 - 9:05pm
On the weekend of June 15th, I will be attending the fifth THATCamp Prime. What is THATCamp? Founded by graduate students at the history department at George Mason University in 2008, THAT stands for 'the humanities and technology'. It is an 'unconference' in that the structure and agenda is decided on-site on the first day of the conference itself. No papers. No panels.
March 29, 2012 - 9:11pm
I love to travel, so I was excited when I began to put ideas together for my dissertation and realized that I needed to conduct research in France and elsewhere.  My husband, on the other hand, was not thrilled, and who can blame him?  Research takes a long time, and we might have to be apart for weeks or even months. By the time I finish my research, we will have had to find creative solutions to make our long-distance marriage work for more than a year. We’re already more than half-way there and have found that despite the crazy schedule and the physical distance that has separated us, we feel closer now than ever before. While I won’t claim that we have everything figured out, we’ve learned a few things along the way.
March 27, 2012 - 8:55pm
As a grad student, I’ve successfully proposed courses as part of applying for teaching opportunities within my home institution. I proposed and taught a thematic, first-year composition class for my home department three times. I proposed and taught an introductory medical humanities course for the Collins Living-Learning Center at my home institution. I won a teaching assistantship in the department where I earned my PhD minor, and proposing a summer course was a part of the application process. My success partly stems from being an instructor of record for seven years.  I’ve also been on the other side of the process: as a member of my department’s Composition Committee, I helped faculty to evaluate course proposals submitted by graduate students (but not in the same years mine were under consideration!).


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