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A Blog from GradHacker and MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online
April 14, 2013 - 9:58pm
As I write this, I am stuck in a small town in Ohio after an accident on the freeway on my way home from a conference. (I hit a semi wheel that came off a truck and smashed my car’s suspension system. I’m fine but, sadly, my car is not.) Whether it’s a semi wheel, a sick child or spouse, our own illness, family issues, or something else, at some point in our academic career, life gets in the way of our work.
April 11, 2013 - 9:08pm
I'm really bad at chess. My little brother was always amazing at the game, and was somehow always a few steps in front of me. I'd snag one of his knights, and this would cause him to capture my queen and put me in check. I had always thought that the reason he was so good was because he cheated or knew some trick to the game that I didn't. It was the same way with Risk. While I focused on conquering countries with funny names, he conquered everything else... and eventually me.
April 9, 2013 - 9:09pm
A few weeks ago I stumbled across this essay by Amy Boesky in The Kenyon Review that reflected on her time ghostwriting for the Sweet Valley High series. What caught my attention was the fact that she wrote for the series throughout her time as a doctoral student (okay, I admit it--I actually started reading because I spent countless hours in my formative years with the Wakefield twins). Boesky's description of her work made me think about the ways what we do outside of our grad school work can be a real benefit to the development of our grad school selves.
April 7, 2013 - 7:47pm
I can hardly believe it; after ten straight years in graduate school, I will be graduating. There were definitely times in my graduate career when I thought this day wouldn't come, but it's just a few short weeks away. Graduation is a special event that calls for a bit of preparation, including some things you might not consider. Here are a few reminders.
April 2, 2013 - 9:38pm
Last week, I successfully defended my dissertation. (Yay!) It’s a huge milestone, and I am exhausted and happy and proud. But my degree isn’t quite finished yet. As much as I would like to just bask in good feelings and watch some cartoons, there are a number of tiny details to finish, from submitting the final dissertation to signing the right forms.
March 31, 2013 - 9:12pm
Does the following situation sound familiar to you? Your supervisor gave you some papers to start exploring your topic. You start reading, excited to learn more about the subject. Then you start looking up all the references and continue reading from there. You follow a few journals in your field and print out all the recent relevant publications on this topic. Meanwhile, the number of publications you want to look at keeps on growing
March 28, 2013 - 8:15pm
One of the most exciting aspects of grad school is the opportunity to engage with senior scholars in your chosen field. For grads of color, this can also be an opportunity to meet one of the few professors in your field that not only shares your research interests, but might or might not look like you, talk like you, or share a similar background. Using African-American professors as one of many groups of color, we can see that the academy has a different structure for people navigating it from this specific social location.
March 26, 2013 - 9:18pm
The academic job offer is the moment you've been waiting for; after working for who-knows-how-many-years, you've finally been invited to take a real, grown-up place at the academic table. Once you get an offer, you may be tempted to say "yes" right away--after all, negotiating the academic job market is a harrowing, stressful process which can have the unfortunate side effect of crushing your self-esteem. You may be tempted to grab that offer and hold on for dear life with no thought as to what might or might not be included in it.
March 25, 2013 - 9:08pm
During the Fall 2012 semester I was diligently working on my annotated bibliographies for my comprehensive exams, a task that often takes a full year of preparation if not longer. My goal was to finish analyzing the 150 sources, write them up, take the exams, and, at some point in that semester, also write up my dissertation proposal. The hope was that I’d be ABD (all but dissertation) by the winter break, or at least mid-way through the Spring semester.
March 21, 2013 - 8:41pm
The dreaded written comprehensive exam. Many graduate students will have to pass some form of comprehensive exam at some point in their program. This can often include putting together a multi-page grant-style project proposal. Putting one of these together can be a daunting process if you are unprepared. But have no fear, there are ways to make crafting a solid document far less painful.
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