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…
December 14, 2012, 8:00 am
[This is a guest post by Katina Rogers, senior research specialist with the Scholarly Communication Institute. You can find out more about Katina at her website or by following her on Twitter at @katinalynn.--@JBJ]
The final weeks of the year, always a time for reflection and renewal, are doubly so for humanities scholars because of the timing of the MLA and AHA annual conventions (and for some, the academic interviews and ensuing anxiety that accompany them). Recently, a number of conversations discussing new models for graduate education have taken place, giving the encouraging impression that we are in a moment when long-standing issues in higher education, including employment rates for PhD holders, may be receiving renewed attention that will transform into action on a broader scale. At the same time, some of the conversations have generated heated criticism.
In a single week,…
November 1, 2012, 8:00 am
One thing any academic recognizes is the fact that there is always more work to be done. There’s always another article to read, another experiment to run, another set of data to code, or another archive to consult. And so this leads, reasonably enough, to some anxiety about just how much work one should be doing at any given moment.
Graduate students, especially newer ones, understandably need guidance in learning to recognize the norms and values of the academy. And so, a few weeks ago, an unnamed department in astronomy apparently sent this message (via AstroBetter, where there are great comments, too) to all the graduate students in their program:
First, while some students are clearly putting their hearts and souls into their research, and spending the hours at the office or lab that are required, others are not. We have received some questions about how many hours a…
June 1, 2011, 3:00 pm
[This is a guest post by Katy Meyers, a graduate student in the department of anthropology at Michigan State University. She also writes regularly on bioarchaeology and mortuary archaeology news at her site<BonesDontLie.com>; you can follow her on Twitter: @bonesdonotlie. She is also the editor of <GradHacker.org>, which can be found on Twitter (@GradHacker) and on FaceBook.]
Let’s not sugar coat this, grad school is tough. Grad students are expected not only to ace their full course load, but also to teach classes, apply for funding, attend departmental events, present at conferences, publish their writing, and continue their own research. Never mind the fact that grad students are also trying to maintain a balance between the 80-hour work week and their personal lives. Many grads are also getting married, having kids or simply trying to have friends external to their research….
March 9, 2011, 8:00 am
[ This is a guest post by Katy Meyers, a graduate student in the department of anthropology at Michigan State University. She also writes regularly on bioarchaeology and mortuary archaeology news at her site www.bonesdontlie.com (Twitter: bonesdonotlie. -- @jbj]
I have been a first year grad student for the last three years. I’m not saying that this makes me an expert, but I have learned what it takes to survive (and excel) during your first year of graduate school.
Surprisingly, throughout these past few years, zombie apocalypse films have served as both a comfort and inspiration for my own survival. It turns out that the rise of the undead serves as a great metaphor for graduate school. The way the characters battle against seemingly insurmountable odds, with their ragtag team and unending optimism… it’s been inspirational. Drawing from my favorite zombie films,