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GradHacker

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

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?
September 4, 2012 - 6:27pm
This time last year, I was sitting around my apartment and waiting for the results of my comprehensive exams. I was jittery and nervous, and jumped a mile every time my computer made the “you’ve got an email!” noise. I couldn’t focus on teaching or the zillion other responsibilities that I had, and spent most of the day in an anxious state of stasis. What saved me, surprisingly, was a ball of yarn and two knitting needles I found in the back of a closet.
September 3, 2012 - 5:17pm
One of my favorite distractions is podcasts. I love them. They're part of my commute, they're part of my leisure time, and they're part of my work time.
August 30, 2012 - 9:20pm
I have a hard time working without music. No matter what grad school-related task I am working on, it just feels strange to be doing it in silence.
August 28, 2012 - 7:57pm
Over this past summer, I've been leading a team of archaeologists from the Campus Archaeology Program in a massive archaeological survey across Michigan State University's campus. The goal of the project was to check the area for artifacts and historical features in the landscape prior to construction.
August 26, 2012 - 8:39pm
A recent essay on InsideHigherEd discussed how academics commonly disregard deadlines. When reflecting on this, I began to think that this habit begins as grad students.
August 23, 2012 - 8:59pm
To cap off our crossover week with ProfHacker, Alex sat down with this week’s contributors for an insightful conversation about their approach to maintaining a productive schedule. Building on this week’s posts, Alex reviews the authors’ suggestions for improved workflow and poses some follow-up questions on the technology and techniques they suggested in their contributions.
August 22, 2012 - 9:23pm
Why think about productivity systems at all? Why try to think about ways we can be more productive? Doesn’t that imply we’re not doing enough, or that we’re wasting time?

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