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

June 11, 2012 - 12:49am
For most graduate students, writing papers and a dissertation is one of the more dreadful parts of the research process. Writing, and organizing your thoughts in such a way that it becomes clear for peers in your field, can be a challenging task. As a result, writer’s block is one of the most commonly heard troubles of graduate students.
June 7, 2012 - 9:05pm
A few months ago, I wrote a GradHacker post on studying for comprehensive exams. This post is a follow-up, with suggestions on how to successfully write the exams themselves.
June 5, 2012 - 4:49pm
For most of us, the days of long and leisurely summer vacations are likely over. But after a long spring semester, how are we supposed to rest up for our work during the summer and fall? The summer months offer a great opportunity to reflect on the past academic year and reenergize for the year ahead.  Here are a few things you can do to recharge your mind, body, and spirit, whether you have a day, a week, or the entire summer.
June 4, 2012 - 6:48pm
I recently finished The Information Diet,  and I felt that the metaphor was the most powerful part of this book. Johnson's assertions that our current informational climate serves us up cheap fillers in the way of celebrity news and downright unhealthy partisan rhetoric rang true for me. I have long been concerned about the issue of the Filter Bubble in which all the data that Google, Facebook, and more are collecting about us lead to all the algorithms only showing me what it thinks I want to see. Johnson's Information Diet is a call to action against this and many other informational ills perpetuated by our networked consumption. The challenge issued is to approach consumption of all media in the same way we might approach healthy eating: recognize what is junk and stop consuming it.
May 30, 2012 - 4:50pm
I love the concept of Summer Reading. It often seems that non-academic reading is a pleasure that needs to be put off during the semester. If one does indulge the non-academic reading habit it needs to be kept secret, like watching Smash. Despite my responsibilities both as a student and as teaching assistant this summer, I plan to use the extra hours of daylight to dip into some juicy beach reads.
May 28, 2012 - 7:05pm
I began playing capoiera a few months ago, and I am terrible at it. Which is pretty perfect. My foray into the Brazilian fight-dance began academically enough, but the process of practicing something that I am not -- and will perhaps never be -- good at has been a refreshing change of pace during a life point of increasing responsibility and supposed expertise development.
May 24, 2012 - 9:44pm
This year, I made a fortunately successful run on the academic job market, and I'm looking forward to beginning my tenure-track position in August. Until now, I’ve resisted posting on those experiences. I have, however, commented on the job search more broadly. For instance, I’ve discussed the need for doctoral students to simultaneously prepare for the academic- and non-academic job markets. It seems odd to me, then, that I haven’t offered some hacky, this-is-how-you-do-it tidbits for writing the academic cover letter, preparing a writing sample, practicing for interviews, and acing the campus visit.
May 22, 2012 - 8:28pm
We love technology and social media here at GradHacker. It is a great way to connect to the world, to network in innovative ways, and to learn about what is currently going on in your discipline. We can create, edit and format every inch of our dissertation online, allowing our committee to dynamically edit on Google Docs or directly attach to our Zotero bibliographies. I would even go so far as to say that my smart phone is the most important grad school tool that I own. I can't tell you how many times I've been glad that I can get my Gmail, check my Dropbox or Tweet. My iPhone is like my personal Tinkerbell or Navi, constantly helping me get to the right place and alert me of everything that is going on. But this is also the problem... I can always be reached
May 20, 2012 - 9:17pm
  Okay, here goes…I’m here to confess: I’m an 8th year doctoral student. I admit this in hopes other drifting graduate students will realize they are not alone, and perhaps summon the courage to accurately assess the situation and make needed changes. My first couple years were full of excitement—I welcomed any chance to talk about the Ph.D. program and my classes. As the years went by, I became reticent, hoping no one would ask how grad school was going. If asked, I would have to acknowledge my lack of progress. I avoided research conferences, knowing they meant encountering former classmates, now graduated and holding tenure-track professor positions.
May 18, 2012 - 8:07am
It's finally here, summer. That means long days laying out in the sunshine, late nights with friends and extended trips to far away places away from the hustle and bustle of the university. Oh wait... you're a grad student. Then it means long days of trying to teach summer classes, late nights working on ones own research and extended trips to libraries and other universities to raid their archives and labs for that pivotal missing link that would turn your dissertation into a masterpiece. Fear not though, GradHacker is here. Over the past semester we've had articles that cover every aspect of grad school from how to turn your stress into delicious baking or how to deal with fighting committee members. Not only that, we launched our podcasts which interviews academics on broader issues and discusses the articles from the last few weeks. In case you are new to GradHacker, or just need some inspiration to survive the summer, here are our top posts from the last semester.



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