Thursday, October 27, 2011

Grad School: It's not JUST about research...

Sometimes, life gets ahold of you and blocks of time disappear that you can't account for, no matter how hard you try. For example, it's October 27th - OCTOBER. Where did the semester GO? Where did 2011 go, for that matter? People always say that time speeds up as you get older, and I really think that's true.... I remember an hour seemed like forever when I was a kid, but now an hour is a blip on the radar and goes by in a second.

The theme of this busier-than-ever semester seems to be writing; aside from writing this blog (which I really, really try to make time for, I promise!) I have 2 manuscripts in progress, another 1 or 2 manuscript ideas waiting in the wings, several writing projects for my actual courses, and a wonderful surprise article for a Canadian museum magazine, which I was totally unprepared for but really excited about writing. This fall I also planned to attend 2 conferences, which means preparing a poster and a presentation as well. One of those is over and behind me (and was an INCREDIBLE experience), but the presentation is still to come, next month. I am also deep in the process of writing a fairly prestigious grant (which I probably won't get) and applying to a PhD program for next fall (which I probably -and hopefully- will get). With all of this going on, I am also spearheading a graduate student effort to revamp some of the teaching components of the TAs in our department, including a complete revision of an evaluation form and working with a doctoral-candidate-turned-post-doc to develop an inclusive training program for new graduate students. Oh, and also.... there's my research to work on. Whew.

This is by no means a "let's brag about my accomplishments" post, so I hope it's not coming off that way so far! My goal here was to show you that graduate school is definitely not just about the research. There are so many other things that you can get involved in, whether you plan to or not. A lot of the things I am doing are more for me because I love them and feel passionately about them, rather than actual requirements. Graduate school is a very unique time in a person's life. You have the opportunity to get involved in a lot of different things and try them on for size, see what you like and what you don't, and strategically plan your next move as an adult. I really feel like this is the time in my life where I am finally growing up. There are things I do now and opinions I have that are drastically different that what they were 2 years ago. I feel like I am ready to take on the next challenge - but first, I need to finish my research thesis and graduate!!

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