May 23, 2013, 11:00 am
A few weeks ago, I discussed how I discovered toward the end of graduate school that mentoring is a fantasy. In short, what I mean by this is that in any advising situation both parties often have expectations of how the relationship will work and that these expectations do not always align with each other or with reality. I came to this realization after one of my dissertation readers suggested I add a bit of Heidegger to my project. (If that sounds like the set-up to an academic punchline, well, it’s Friday, right?) Eventually, I declined, and my reader didn’t bring it up again.
As I’ve reflected on this event again recently, I’ve come to a new realization, summed up neatly in this post’s title: the point of grad school is to learn to say “no.” Let me explain.
When I was finishing my undergraduate work, I found myself looking forward to grad school as an opportunity to stop…
May 2, 2013, 8:00 am
Towards the end of grad school, I learned a key lesson about academia. I was discussing a draft of a dissertation chapter with my second reader. Although not my adviser, her work was critical for the arguments that I was building about psychological trauma and technology. Toward the end of the conversation, she said something to the effect of, “You know, this chapter could really use more Heidegger.” Inside, my heart sunk a bit. “Great,” I thought, “more to read. And from an author whose work I don’t really know.” But I dutifully wrote, “More Heidegger,” in the margin of a page, and after the meeting, I checked out a copy of The Question Concerning Technology.
I read Heidegger and tried to understand how his views on technology fit into his and my larger projects. It wasn’t especially easy going. And perhaps in the third day of thinking about Heidegger, I had an epiphany that was…
October 4, 2011, 3:00 pm
ProfHacker’s ethos from its inception has been to not provide an answer to any given question. Instead, we supply an answer that is useful to us (or to the writer of a given post), and then we ask you how you handle that particular situation. We believe in crowdsourcing. Today is one of those posts that is pointed asking you, readers, a few questions. We (and by this I mean the industry of higher education) need to do something differently. We need to train graduate students for careers that are outside of higher education.
Last week, I wrote about Conscious Career Choices, a course that encourages those considering alternative academic careers (or careers that are outside of higher education) to think differently about the skills learned in graduate school (in this post). Today’s column concerns this same issue, but instead of looking to an external course to help…
August 9, 2011, 3:00 pm
Earlier this summer, I joined a nationally-known health club. Working out daily and having numerous personal trainers show me the finer art of weight lifting has taught me much about the art and skill of my profession as an educator. I did my research on this gym. I knew what I wanted to achieve, I understood the long-term nature of my goals, and I understood the limitations of my situation (that I wouldn’t suddenly transform into a super-model). I knew that I wasn’t in shape enough to be a gym standout, but I was determined to work the hard and achieve the goals I’d outlined for myself.
Yet the style of teaching I received at this gym wasn’t what I needed. I wanted to be challenged, pushed. I wanted my body to be sore at the end of each workout. I wanted to know that I was working as hard as I could. I wanted to know that the trainers (trainers I paid to see)…