What does it mean to be a “real grad student?”

First of all, yes, I am going to post three times in three days. Why? I am going to post three times in three days because, after that, it is quite likely that I won’t post for another 3-6 months.

Now.. I felt that the end of my last post, while fitting for the uncertainty and ambiguity of a PhD program, was a bit flippant. I don’t want to be flippant. I’ve been given a great opportunity, and I really am trying to make the most of it. Sometimes I fail. Other times I am relatively successful.

What does it mean to be a “real grad student?”

  • It means I give myself the permission to be taken seriously. This does not have anything to do with calling professors by their first names. Some will probably take my modest behavior for lack of confidence. Sometimes it is, but often it is just that I observe the title of “Dr.” as an earned distinction and a social formality. I will not call a professor by first name unless that professor asks the class to do so and I feel like I have a working professional relationship with that professor. Moreover, I believe I have to consider (as I was discussing with a friend yesterday) the ways in which the experience of women professors, and perhaps specifically black women professors, is devalued when students call them “Ms.” or by their first name. See these great articles, “Some College Students Earn a ‘F’ in Respect for Women Teachers” by Dr. Ebony Utley, and “On Being Called Out My Name.”
    • Being taken seriously means that I truly have something important to contribute to the conversation. It means that I talk when I feel that I would be adding something to the intellectual environment of the course which another student is not going to add at that particular time. I ask “stupid” questions if doing so will help another student who is even more introverted than I am. If a professor asks me about my perceived value of a course, I give them an honest, but thoughtful, answer.
    • Being taken seriously also means I wear my “She has read too many books and it has addled her brain,” “Well behaved women seldom make history,” and “Beware – ignorance protects itself” shirts as often as I want and I dye the ends of my hair a deep blue. I do make an effort at standard professional dress, though – career pants go with everything!
  • It means I have established a balance between my duties as a teaching assistant and my duties as a student. I answer student emails and mark papers in a timely manner, but I do so without diminishing my commitment to my courses and/or my writing.
  • It means that I am taking multiple routes to increase both my participation in an academic community and my preparation for AC and alt-AC careers, so that if one of those routes turns out to be a dead end, I have other options.
  • It means I have (mostly) established a work/life balance, too.
  • It means that I am more excited about my work than I am overwhelmed.

In the past two and a half months, I have made all of these changes to the way I approach my PhD program. I’m really looking forward to what I will learn next!

19 Science-Fiction & Fantasy Novels by Women of Color You Must Read by Anjali Patel

Read: So far from God, The Gilda Stories

Read and loved: Parable of the Sower, Ash, Salt Fish Girl

Must read as soon as possible: The Summer Prince, The Salt Road, The Stars Change, The Lost Girl

Check out the full list by Anjali Patel here:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/akpatel462/19-must-read-science-fiction-and-fantasy-novels-by-15qst#.ltomo82a6

This week on Adventures in Grad School … !

This week on Adventures in Grad School … !

  • I realized I could take the tunnels all the way from the visitor centre/bookstore, which is next to my bus stop, to the building where I take classes and teach … and subsequently realized I was lost.
  • I applied for a part-time job in academic advising and for a grant to start a speculative fiction reading group … more details to follow!
    • As part of these endeavours I shamelessly and awkwardly networked, in the way that only an introvert, trying desperately not to be an introvert, can.
  • Sleep deprivation was a factor in this complex equation.
  • After nearly six months, my townhouse started to feel like home to me.
  • And, I started to feel like a “real grad student” …

… whatever that means. “What does it mean to be a ‘real grad student?’

Taking applications for mom friend/grad student commisserator/apostate

I was riding the bus the other day and thinking how, 12 years ago as an undergraduate, I couldn’t imagine taking the bus to campus. I really couldn’t imagine it.

I also had no children. I was the kind of person who would acknowledge the hard work of people who had to deal with work and kids on top of school, but had no idea what it actually required.

Now, I walk my 4 year old to school before rushing to campus for class, meetings, or my teaching assistantship. I rush back after each of these, every day of the week excepting Wednesday (on which I’m usually home) to pick him up.

I found myself looking at the other people on the bus, wondering to what extent their life is like mine. I thought about how cool it would be to meet somebody who is almost exactly the opposite of how I was 12 years ago.

Someone who is a bus rider. Someone who juggles school with multiple other commitments, and sometimes drops the ball. Someone who knows what it is like to have to make difficult choices and who almost never has the time to attend parties, but would like to sit down with coffee and reading every once in a while.

Any takers?

Weekend Links!

Postdoctoral fellowship in Alternative Futurisms at University of California Riverside, and much more..

Gerry Canavan

Marquette University invites applications for the Arnold L. Mitchem Dissertation Fellowship Program. Mitchem Fellowships seek to help increase the presence of currently underrepresented racial and cultural groups in the U.S. professoriate by supporting advanced doctoral candidates during completion of the dissertation. The fellowships provide one year of support for doctoral candidates who are well into the writing stage of their dissertation work, are U.S. citizens, and are currently enrolled in U.S. universities. In addition to library, office and clerical support privileges, Mitchem Fellows receive a $35,000 stipend plus fringe benefits, research and travel monies for the 2015-16 academic year. The teaching load is 1-0.

* UC-Riverside Call for Postdoctoral Fellow: “Alternative Futurisms.”

* NEH watch: Save the Overseas Seminars.

* When Harvard is one of the worst colleges in America: colleges ranked by social mobility index. Marquette doesn’t come out looking all that great by this standard either, though it…

View original post 431 more words

8 YA Science Fiction & Fantasy Books with Black / Afrikan Teen Heroes and Sheroes!

I loved The Chaos. It’s accessible and challenging all at once, touches on body image, colorism, bullying, ableism, sex, has multiple LGBTQ characters, and is, quite simply, a very interesting and fun read. I am not familiar with any of the others, but I plan to read them; for those who are looking for works that feature black teen protagonists but teeter on the edge of adult novels, I would suggest Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death. Also, Okorafor’s Akata Witch is a great, mostly young adult novel.

Chronicles of Harriet

In her insightful article, Kid Lit Equality – Fantasy or Reality?’ author Zetta Elliot says “There’s clearly a direct link between the misrepresentation of Black youth as inherently criminal and the justification given by those who brazenly take their lives. The publishing industry can’t solve this problem, but the relative lack of children’s books by and about people of color nonetheless functions as a kind of “symbolic annihilation.” Despite the fact that the majority of school-age children in the US are now kids of color, the US publishing industry continues to produce books that overwhelmingly feature white children only. The message is clear: the lives of kids of color don’t matter.”

While there should be much more literature written for and about Black youth, there are several great works out there. Below is a list of some of the better and more unique works for YA readers, aged 12-18…

View original post 1,301 more words