Uncommon Ground

Tag Archive: graduate school

Legos and graduate school

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 12.49.36 PMGraduate students are very creative, and I recently learned about an anonymous graduate student in her/his sixth year at a private, West Coast university who is more creative than most – @legogradstudent. I’ve been out of graduate school for more years than I like to admit,1 but I can still relate to the feelings @legogradstudent captures in her/his tweets. S/he has just short of 2600 followers now, but I’m sure that number is going to grow. Inside Higher Ed described her/him this way in the article that brought her/him to my attention:

Lego Grad Student has fans across disciplines, who often use some variation of “devastatingly true” to describe his experiences. Indeed, his tableaux focus not on the intricacies of his research but rather on the human experience of graduate school: feelings of being on a treadmill to nowhere, being beaten to the intellectual punch by colleagues, using sophisticated avoidance techniques during a class discussion and the horror of seeing free food disappear before his eyes at departmental events.

If you’re in graduate school, if you have friends or relatives who are in graduate school, or if you’re just interested in graduate school, you owe it to yourself to follow @legogradstudent on Twitter or Instagram.

134 years last June, if you must know.

Letters from graduate school

I recently learned of a new website that is worth putting in your bookmark list or adding to the subscription list of your RSS reader: Letters from graduate school. Here’s what they say about themselves.

For every graduate student, graduate school is a different experience filled with ups, downs, failures, and successes. The goal of Letters from Graduate School is to build a collective of graduate school experiences—your experience, in your own voice! (http://lettersfromgradschool.org)

There are four essays in Issue 1 (August 2016)

  • Love and abuse in graduate school, by an anonymous contributor, which makes a plea for teaching graduate students “that their love for research doesn’t have to be siphoned out of a finite pool of respect they’re allowed to show towards themselves.”
  • Writing on an island, by Becky Vartabedian, which describes a physical practice that helped her find her way out of the isolation that is an inevitable part of doctoral study.
  • Post-PhD: the jobs didn’t get and the one that I did, by A. Seun Ajiboye, which talks about how he found what profession he wanted in (and how he got there) after realizing that he didn’t want to be in academia.
  • Don’t check your optimism at the door, by Renee Geck, which provides some excellent advice – “Grad school doesn’t have to be a year of ignorant bliss and then a dreary trudge to the end. If you find people whom you trust to help you through the worst patches, chances are you’ll come out the other side a lot better than the people who go it alone.”

If Issue 1 is any indication, Letters from Graduate School will be a valuable resource for graduate students and graduate advisors. I look forward to reading the essays in future issues.