The semester started off so well. As a newly minted Ph.D candidate, I couldn’t wait to start my dissertation research. I enthusiastically wrote an email and survey soliciting study participants, triumphantly clicked send, and sat back and waited for the volunteers to roll in.
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March 20, 2012
March 20, 2012
Whether you have true writer's block or struggle with perfectionism, hitting that delete button can be both terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. As someone who is never quite happy with the work I produce, I've found that I tend to over-analyze details. This leads to a lot of hours of quality time between me and my computer. Between that and my tendency to push through things (even when I really shouldn't), I find myself sometimes stressing out over things that just need to be deleted.
March 18, 2012
One sees signs across many campuses encouraging people to “say something” if they “see something,” but what does that mean for graduate students? Many graduate students experience some form of abuse, but we often feel helpless to do anything about it. We sense that something is wrong with us rather than the institutionalized patterns of derision, infantilization, neglect, and exploitation. To make matters worse, a blanket of silence shrouds this abuse. Those who are brave enough to address the issue are often suppressed or dismissed. Until we can bring about structural change as the next generation of scholars, we need to focus on supporting each other, finding individual solutions, and pushing our universities to provide greater protection.
March 15, 2012
On Monday morning, I checked my Inside Higher Ed email and was reminded of the website "100 Reasons NOT to go to Grad School." I've been following 100 Reasons for a while now, as I am the type of person who can't help but click on any and all links promising information about what has been dubbed "The Higher Ed Apocalypse." As I understand the HEA, it is basically the idea that institutions are vastly overproducing Phds for fewer and fewer tenure-track (and even alternative-academic) jobs. Other hallmarks of the genre include the idea that academia is really not the best place to work anyway (see College Misery). But mostly, I read the ones that tell me my choice to pursue a terminal degree is foolish, the jobs are impossible to get, and, if I am of the lucky few to land one, I will hate it. So here's the truth: I have no idea how to assess the actual hiring situation for people like me who are coming out of Phd programs.
March 13, 2012
We've all been here: A deadline for a dissertation chapter, conference abstract, or presentation looms ever largely on the horizon. At first, work sessions proceed in a regular fashion. Progress is being made, and stress levels are low. Then, at some point, panic sets in because it seems like the task at hand can't be completed--at least in the desired fashion. If only there was more time!
March 11, 2012
The hardest part about sitting down to write is the actual beginning of making the clackity sound on the keyboard. I can get myself in the chair. I can turn on my machine. I can cruise around on the Internet, and type up a blog post or two about being in graduate school. But when it comes to getting into the nitty gritty of writing the dissertation, starting is the hardest part.
March 8, 2012
We are pleased to announce the launch of The Gradhacker Podcast! Alex Galarza and Andrea Zellner co-host Episode 1: Flipping the Classroom, in which they interview Dr. Ken Frank, a professor at Michigan State who has employed the technique of ‘Flipping the Classroom’ in his courses. They also discuss a number of blog posts including: “Publishing Your Presentations Online”,“Negotiating the Dating Scene in Grad School”, and “Branding Yourself: Not as Painful as You Think”.
March 6, 2012
Here at Gradhacker, we've written about online identity and the use of Twitter before. In this post, I thought I'd tackle less of the "how to use Twitter" and move into the idea of leveraging the power of Twitter to improve your online presence and academic identity. I also can resist making new words with "tw" in the front of them.
March 5, 2012
Control is important, we need to be able to balance a number of lives as grad students, maintain multiple fellowships and jobs, work on our research as well as ace our classes, and make a good impression in the department as well as the broader discipline. Our success comes from the close control over every aspect of our professional and academic lives: mapping out every minute of our week into our Google calendars, tracking assignments through various iPhone apps, using Zotero to organize every bibliographic reference, and keeping up with the professionals through every social media site we can think of. This is good, it keeps us grounded. So here's the problem: you can't control everything.
March 2, 2012
This past August, I sat my doctoral comprehensive exams. It was a grueling, exhausting process, and the months leading up to the exams were some of the most stressful of my life. I don’t think that I have ever cried so much in my life; from exhaustion, stress, fear, and from the worst bout of impostor syndrome I had felt since beginning grad school. Comprehensive exams are a massive, daunting undertaking, one that marks the transition from coursework and being a student to dissertating and being a candidate.