Higher Education Webinars
A Blog from GradHacker and MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online
March 29, 2012 - 9:11pm
I love to travel, so I was excited when I began to put ideas together for my dissertation and realized that I needed to conduct research in France and elsewhere. My husband, on the other hand, was not thrilled, and who can blame him? Research takes a long time, and we might have to be apart for weeks or even months. By the time I finish my research, we will have had to find creative solutions to make our long-distance marriage work for more than a year. We’re already more than half-way there and have found that despite the crazy schedule and the physical distance that has separated us, we feel closer now than ever before. While I won’t claim that we have everything figured out, we’ve learned a few things along the way.
March 27, 2012 - 8:55pm
As a grad student, I’ve successfully proposed courses as part of applying for teaching opportunities within my home institution. I proposed and taught a thematic, first-year composition class for my home department three times. I proposed and taught an introductory medical humanities course for the Collins Living-Learning Center at my home institution. I won a teaching assistantship in the department where I earned my PhD minor, and proposing a summer course was a part of the application process. My success partly stems from being an instructor of record for seven years. I’ve also been on the other side of the process: as a member of my department’s Composition Committee, I helped faculty to evaluate course proposals submitted by graduate students (but not in the same years mine were under consideration!).
March 26, 2012 - 7:57am
I'm about to write a 900 word blog post about guilt, and I feel guilty about it. Why? Because I could be spending this time working on my dissertation. In fact, this is how I feel about most things that aren't my dissertation. I feel guilty when I'm hanging out with my friends, out to dinner with my fiancé, doing laundry, watching March Madness, or reading...*gasp*…a book for fun. It's not a particularly healthy way to go through life, and it places a great deal of stress on every moment of the day, since even when I'm trying to relax, I know I could be working.
March 22, 2012 - 11:02pm
Whether you’re into bread, pastries, cookies, soups, sauces, casseroles, or other delightful, delectable, and preferably time-consuming sundries, elaborate cooking projects can be a welcome distraction from those towers of books scattered and stacked precariously around your living quarters. It’s true that, at this stage of the game, each of us has our own arsenal of finely-tuned “productive” procrastination techniques to help us avoid the real work of reading, writing, and grading, and far be it from me to pass judgment on anyone’s time-tested methods. But while baking started out as an avoidance strategy for me, it has evolved into a tool for invention.
March 20, 2012 - 9:26pm
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.
March 20, 2012 - 7:03am
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 - 7:34pm
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 - 10:01pm
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 - 6:31pm
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 - 9:29pm
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.
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