After reading over 500 pages a week, knocking off 6000 word essays like it’s my job, grading papers until I have nightmares about grammatical errors, and spending a small fortune in coffee at the Trend – I can’t believe the Public Texts program my time at Trent is just about over.
So I figured for my last blog post, I’d like to share with you a few things I’ve learned over this past year:
- “What am I even doing here?” is a perfectly common question to ask yourself in grad school.
The first week of the Public Texts program, I was convinced I had made the wrong choice by coming here. It took me six hours to do my first reading. Everyone else seemed to know exactly what he or she was doing, and I felt completely inadequate. But after talking to other grad students and getting to know my cohort, those feelings of inadequacy quickly faded and I really began to feel like I belonged here.
TIP: Don’t be afraid to talk to people. Odds are, someone else is feeling just as inadequate as you are, and you can support each other through the stress!
- Teaching is really easy…except for when it’s not.
As a first time TA, I did not know what I was getting myself into when I stepped into my first class. On the one hand, teaching can be a huge burden. Sometimes, seminars can make you want to pull your hair out in frustration. It takes a ton of time and effort, the students don’t care, and you just want to get on with your own research. But at the same time, it can be incredibly rewarding. Last semester I got an email from a student, genuinely thanking me for helping him to improve. He really felt that I made a difference.
TIP: Don’t give up on your students, even when things might seem hopeless. They can surprise you in the best ways.
- It is really difficult to come up with things to blog about every week.
I’ve never kept a blog before, but this experience has really made me appreciate people who can keep up a daily blog. Sometimes topics fall into my lap and I know exactly what to write about (like #TheDress) and sometimes I had to be really creative and come up with something completely obscure (like Let the Masses Go!). But most of all, I really enjoyed writing this blog, and I’m going to miss the way it forced me to think critically about what was happening in the world so that I can share it with all of you!
TIP: As a grad student, don’t be afraid to write for fun. Academia can sometimes devour your soul, so you need to give yourself some creative freedom every once in a while.
So as this year comes to a close, and my time on this blog is up, I encourage you to join the Public Texts cohort for our colloquium event on Thursday April 16th at 2 pm in Bagani Hall. Come out and see what our amazing group has been up to all year and what they’re going on to do this summer.
And with that, I say thanks for reading this semester and stay tuned for the next Public Texts student who takes over this blog next year.