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January 13, 2012 - 7:47am
It wasn't supposed to happen this way. I was supposed to breeze through graduate school without any changes: start in my hometown, comp in my hometown, defend in my hometown, and finish in my hometown. After that, I could move away, find the right girl, get married, get a job, and so forth. Here's what wasn't supposed to happen: I wasn't supposed to start grad school, find the right girl, comp, move to another state, get married, and then defend and finish somewhere else. I certainly wasn't supposed to have one committee member move to Texas. I definitely wasn't anticipating another one getting a research fellowship in England. I understood that my dissertation was going to be a solitary struggle in some ways, but not like this. Not me, in Virginia, with the closest committee member being my advisor, in Michigan. But, life, both mine and those of the people I'm working with, "gets in the way": our circumstances change, and we have to figure out how to adjust.
January 10, 2012 - 6:48pm
A new year brings a renewed resolve to really get things done. As graduate students, finding strategies to improve productivity are worth their weight in gold. While there are countless mobile and web applications that can improve one's workflow, I thought I would highlight a few here that have helped my workflow in my three main "resolution" areas: teaching; research and writing; and staying healthy.
January 8, 2012 - 8:56pm
I discovered “The Daily Dozens” while attending a workshop at the Winter Wheat Festival of Writing at Bowling Green State University. The Dozens are a daily writing exercise designed to kick-start ideas by doing something that we all love and are good at--making lists. A poet might use such an exercise to come up with images, or a series of conceits to hold a poem together. A fiction writer might come up with quirks for a character. An academic might use the Daily Dozens to generate thoughts on an article, solutions for an intellectual problem, or lesson ideas.
January 6, 2012 - 9:02am
I have a confession: I love snow. You might not understand the profoundness of this confession, but I was born and raised on the Central Coast of California in a city slightly north of Santa Barbara. The ocean and 70F weather were normal for my family during the winter. We would make regular trips to the beach, eat Jalama Burgers (a delicious treat from my hometown), and chill on the sandy shore with the water lapping slowly at our feet. However, one thing the Central Coast doesn't have is snow. That part of California is a too far south and too close to the ocean for snowy weather.
January 3, 2012 - 10:48am
In this post, Amy Rubens reflects on the new semester and “first day” rituals. As a section leader, instructor of record, or professor, how do you begin the first day of class, and why? This year, I’m the section leader and grader for an introductory American Studies course. Prior to this appointment, I’ve been an instructor of record for composition and literature courses for a number of years. In this post, I offer some reflections on my own first day rituals in smaller, discussion-based courses in the humanities that service a variety of majors.
December 21, 2011 - 6:23am
On Monday our authors discussed some of the things that they think would be great gifts for grad students. Today, the rest of our authors give their suggestions on even more gifts for grad students. Grad students can always use more Amazon credit. You may also consider purchasing a subscription to Amazon Student Prime to get free two day shipping and access to Amazon's streaming content.For those networking grad students in your life, a leather portfolio is always a good idea. They’re helpful for meeting on campus, conferences, and just looking like an all-around professional. Plus, you can find a portfolio to meet all price points from $15 online all the way to a couple hundred dollars if you’re looking to really spoil someone. And a unique suggestion is to donate in their name. For any man or woman of letters, giving the gift of literacy is a great way to honor his or her work. Also consider the National Writing Project, which seeks to impact literacy K-16. Warmest holiday cheers from GradHacker!
December 19, 2011 - 7:45am
Here at GradHacker, we all have things that we want and that we think are great gifts for grads. From some of our authors, here are our suggestions for last minute gifts for grads. These include great on the go gifts like Reusable, BPA-free food storage containers for transporting left-overs from home to campus. An attractive journal made of recycled and/or sustainable materials to use for recording ideas whenever the muse strikes. Kindle, iPad, or tablet case for added protection and durability. Some of our favorite music and book selections. And tech stuff that every grad student needs like a subscription to Dropbox. Instead of trying to select a band, consider giving a yearly subscription to Pandora or Spotify, so your grad student can pick their own tunes! Suggestions by Amy Rubens, Julie Platt, Katy Meyers, Terry Brock, and Trent Kays Happy Holidays!!
December 15, 2011 - 8:19pm
This is a GradHacker post by Trent M Kays. The end of the semester is a finite thing. It will happen. It comes every year right about the time most graduate students don’t think they can handle anymore work. I’ve always welcomed the end of the semester, and I’ve always lamented the end of the semester. If you think this attitude is, much like the Shakespearean tradition, contrarian or, perhaps, oxymoronic, then you are correct. However, the idea of the break is nothing to celebrate. Well, at least not yet anyways. It is something to be avoided and disdained because we aren’t done yet. At my university, like many universities, the official last day of class was over this past week, and while we often take that last day of class as a celebratory day, our dilemma is far from over. We still need to grade, meet with students who wish to argue about their grades, meet with our advisors about classes or work for the spring, meet about future meetings, etc. This crunch time is perhaps the most stressful of the entire semester: the last week, the last hurrah, the last push toward our break from insanity.
December 13, 2011 - 4:05pm
In this post, Andrea Zellner talks about how to deal with the stress of grad school over the holidays. Whether it be that you are agnostic about the holiday season or not, there really seems to be no escaping it. With campus closing down for next few weeks, the pressures build as we prepare for gift giving, traveling, and generally surviving the holidays. On Monday, Amy Rubens gave us some sage advice about how best to prevent potential mishaps that result when leaving our grad school homes for our homes of origin. While troubleshooting is one excellent way to handle and prevent some of the stress associated with this time of year, I believe there are particular stresses that are come with being a graduate student at the holidays.
December 11, 2011 - 4:33pm
During the first winter break of my graduate school career, I left campus for more than a month. When I returned, I discovered that all of my mail had been removed from my mailbox and had been returned to the senders courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service. Easy rookie mistake. As you wrap up the semester, start preparing for your departure from campus (if that's in the cards for you). "Winterize" your life. Even if you're leaving campus for a short period, planning ahead is important, and you should consider the needs of your academic, professional, and personal selves. Written by Amy Rubens, Indiana University PhD candidate in English, @ambulantscholar
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