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GradHacker

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

September 27, 2012 - 7:45pm
My brother and I have always dealt with relaxation in very different ways. We're both graduate students, him in his second year, and me in my fifth year. When we visited my parents for breaks like Thanksgiving and the Winter holidays during undergrad, we had extremely different reactions to the free time. He read books, had extended lounging sessions on the couch, and would watch entire seasons of popular tv shows. I filled my time with friends, got back into my exercise routine, and was continually out and about. These methods had been fairly successful for us, even though they were different.
September 25, 2012 - 9:17pm
Colleague: Hey, I heard that you completed [insert task] (comps, proposal, thesis dissertation document)!You: Yes, it feels great it out of the way!Colleague: I bet. So now you just need to [insert next daunting task] (do your proposal, write your dissertation, find a job).You:  *glass shatters*.... yeah, thanks for reminding me.
September 23, 2012 - 7:47pm
Friends, it's time for a serious conversation. We need to talk about your coffee. Bad coffee is a common affliction. With our busy lives we tend to seek out the things that are easy to use.
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?

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