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

April 19, 2012 - 9:11pm
From Thursday morning to Saturday night, I have been (and will continue to be) reporting live from the Society for American Archaeology 2012 conference in Memphis, TN. I am currently a second year PhD graduate student in Anthropology, with a focus on Archaeology. Conferences are important, regardless of your discipline. As a grad student we can easily settle into our departments, but the real world is much more diverse and is a reality we need to learn to face. Not only are the people attending your academic conference the same individuals who shape the discipline, they are also your peers.
April 17, 2012 - 8:37pm
Being "well" covers all sorts of areas often ignored by busy grad students.  Often we are very concerned with avoiding germs in order to chug through our semester, teaching loads, comps, and writing. This is especially apparent when we are in the final weeks of the semester. No one wants to get sick during a period where you have to deal with not only your final exams, but also grading the exams of others. Students are dropping left and right from sickness, both faked to avoid finals and real from too many all nighters. Grad students become obsessed with avoiding the finals flu. But beyond just having an arsenal of Airborne or Emergen-C on you at all times, what does it mean to be well?
April 15, 2012 - 6:40pm
When I started graduate school, I lived with a girl who owned a sweet-natured and protective black lab who bonded well with me. When my first roommate graduated, I happily accepted a new roommate who owned a miniature pomeranian and a Persian cat. Unfortunately, this did not work out quite as well as the previous living situation, as the pom took to relieving himself in my bedroom while I was at class, and the Persian exhibited a depression so severe that she sat unmoving on a chair for days at a time. These situations underscored some of the advantages and disadvantages to owning pets in graduate school.
April 12, 2012 - 8:35pm
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about using Twitter as way to develop an academic identity. Mike M. asked me about the large amount of people who I follow and how I go about "filtering out the noise." That question inspired this post because I realized that, while I spend a lot of time discussing how to engage with various social media sites, I rarely talk about when and why I intentionally disengage with them.  
April 11, 2012 - 7:13am
At my institution, spring break is now a good three weeks behind us.  As the academic year lets out its last gasp of life, the natural world is teeming. At least, it is here in southern Indiana, where we’ve been blessed—er, cursed, depending on your tolerance to tree pollen—with an extremely early spring. Lately, the liveliness, vibrancy, and productivity I see outside of the classroom sometimes contrasts pretty sharply with what’s going on inside. Many of my students are in a Spring Slump, and I’m desperate for them to snap of it because, well, the semester’s not over yet.  
April 10, 2012 - 8:02pm
Check out the newest episode over at podcast.gradhacker.org! Alex and Andrea interview Ethan Watrall and Amanda French to discuss THATCamp; what is it and why should grad students care? The hosts then discuss a number of Gradhacker stories.
April 8, 2012 - 8:44pm
Professional service is one of the many elements of becoming a professional that many graduate students don't consider to be an important component of graduate school. It often slides under the radar, somewhere well below writing, research, and teaching. While almost all students understand the importance of joining professional organizations, attending conferences, and presenting at those conferences, few take their involvement beyond that step. However, there are many different ways to be involved in your professional organization, and a number of important reasons to do so. Many graduate students don't know how to become involved, or what options for student involvement exist. And, like anything else, taking on service responsibilities has its drawbacks.
April 5, 2012 - 9:17pm
I was born logical and creative and comical and dark and practical and dreamy and compassionate and angry. I was born understanding myself as a whole; I never questioned my own composition. For a long time in my life, I believed that I could be anyone. But lives move forward in choices and in those choices there is growth. Most of those choices are necessary, but some of them are false. It never occurred to me that one day I would have to begin the doppelgängers's dance, the double-walking life of one made to divide one’s self. Again and again in my life I have been presented with a choice that I now know is false: the choice between artist and analyst.
April 3, 2012 - 7:52pm
During my first PhD anthropology theory course, it was suggested to us that we should start writing every single day. Our professor told us that we needed to sit down for an hour every single day, or most days of the week, and just write. We shouldn't focus on a specific topic, or try to answer a question, but rather we should just write whatever is on our mind. Honestly, I've been a fairly good writer since high school, and I wrote a lot in undergrad, so I wasn't concerned with it. I had to do half a dozen 25 page papers during my masters, and I had just finished writing my thesis. Practicing writing was the least of my worries.
April 1, 2012 - 10:45pm
On the weekend of June 15th, I will be attending the fifth THATCamp Prime. What is THATCamp? Founded by graduate students at the history department at George Mason University in 2008, THAT stands for 'the humanities and technology'.  It is an 'unconference' in that the structure and agenda is decided on-site on the first day of the conference itself. No papers. No panels. This model facilitatesTHATCamp's strengths: productive results, networking, and knowledge sharing.


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