If I’ve learned one thing in attending social events as a grad student (and yes there are plenty to attend), it is that homemade dishes always are more respected than store-bought. Always. Closely related to that, if you make some tasty dip, you will gain fans, guaranteed. One quick dish that has not let me down yet in three years as a PhD student and two as a MS student, now my ace-in-the-hole: guacamole. While there are many delicious variations, I thought I’d share how I do it, which is tweaked from my mother’s version.
The caveat to all of this is that to-taste trumps every measurement…always. In fact, there is only one rule: do not measure; go with what you like. I taste it as I go, after every couple ingredients. I’ll put in bold the ingredients that are always consistent from bowl to bowl, even though the measurements may change slightly. Here is what I do:
- 5-9 medium avocados
- 1/2 to 1 whole medium red onion (sliced fairly small, but you do want occasional big chunks; and yes, I took the middle out.)
- several pinches of salt (probably more than you’d think); and several pinches of pepper (to match the salt)
- 2-4 cloves of garlic, minced finely
- 2 diced tomatoes (large-ish chunks, for texture)
- A handful of cilantro. Chop roughly.
- Heat: about half of a Serrano pepper (about 2 inches worth). I’ve used all kinds of peppers in the past. Whatever you choose, slice it finely and mix well.
- Fresh-squeezed lime juice (1-2 whole limes)
Main consideration: the salt has to counter the bland avocados and the acidity of the lime juice. So it will likely require more salt than you would ordinarily use. And then add roughly the same amount of pepper as you’ve added salt. Lastly, mash and mix with a fork…intentionally leaving it chunky.
Using every and all forms of technology is completely acceptable and recommended in grad school. Indiana University makes it easy for people like me to understand new email interfaces, citation management softwares, setting up wireless printing, and more.
- University Information Technology Services – the technological support and services for the entire university. I have taken classes on Excel and HTML for my graduate assistantships to help me learn new skills and brush up on others. There are various workshops and trainings you can sign up for through the university.
- After I purchased my
pride and joy, bane of my existence, laptop I had to download some appropriate software such as Office for MAC, Adobe, and the wonderful Endnote. These software programs and many more are available through the university.
- Questions or issues with software, internet logins, pass phrases not working, or email servers giving you trouble…well the campus support center will answer questions by phone, email, in person, and by chat.
- There is even a place to purchase hardware on campus right in the Indiana Memorial Union and discounted items through IU Surplus.
What I have described here is only a small part of the tech services and support here on campus. I am still learning about new tips and tricks all the time.
Photo from www.businessweek.com
Putting down my books on a weeknight can be difficult and turning off my laptop on the weekend can be even harder. Breaks are necessary for a graduate student in coursework, studying for qualitative exams, writing proposals, and dissertating. I wrote a previous blog about the Musical Arts Center and the performances featured there, which are usually student centered including ballets, operas, and orchestral concerts.
It wasn’t until 2013 that I discovered exactly how amazing the IU Auditorium is. Working as a Co-Chair of the Committee for Fee Review (a committee of students across IU Bloomington campus that reviews the fee allocation for all student groups and auxiliary units on campus) I met Doug Booher, the Director of the Auditorium and learned some very important things about this institution on campus. It is an award winning and nationally recognized university auditorium, as well as being a top student employer on campus.
The yearly calendar of events and performances is impressive to say the least and student pricing is pretty great too. I’ve seen Bill Maher‘s stand up and most recently the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform at the IU Auditorium. There are even season ticket options to make sure you take those necessary breaks and enjoy a play, musical, dance concert, or public lecture!!
Sometimes, writing a dissertation can be exhilarating. There is nothing like that day that you check something major over the ToDo list. On other days, however, it can be lonely and/or boring. On those days, it really helps to reach out to others who have been where you are. Here are links to a few of those blogs:
I hope they help you remember that you are not alone.
As a doctoral student AND someone who struggles with maintaining a fitness routine, one of the things that I love about IU is the IU Recreational Sports programs. Continue reading
I think one of my favorite things about IU is the sheer amount of activities to do in Bloomington! I have a lot of interests, and I have a pretty adventurous spirit. I like to try new things, and Bloomington has a lot of great opportunities to explore. Even better, student discounts and free events are the best! I just recently went to an Itzhak Perlman (check him out playing Schindler’s List theme) for $20 on a student discount. Just on one campus, you can experience D1 sports teams, world-renowned musical performances, art exhibits, cultural festivals, indie bands, and much more. When I need a break from academics, I can pick and choose what types of events I can spend an evening with.
Some great links that I check out from time to time:
The IUB events calendar: http://events.iu.edu/iub.html
Athletics Calendar: http://www.iuhoosiers.com/calendar/events/Musical Performances: http://music.indiana.edu/events/
Bloomington Community Events: http://calendar.bloomingtonscene.com/
Last year, I fell into my summer internship. That means I found my internship through networking with classmates and their connections. How the story goes: Continue reading
One of the benefits of the PhD at IU is the requirement across campus to obtain a minor. This requirement forces doctoral students to gain competency in a discipline tangentially related to their own primary program discipline. It is very useful to mix foci in this way to increase in breadth and depth of understanding with respect to your particular research interests.
Another aspect of cross-department work is the networking that takes place as a result. Some of my favorite professors have been those from other programs–both from my minor and from methods courses. Additionally, at the level of students, working with students of other departments and disciplines has been beneficial if not enjoyable. Comparing programs and experiences is one way to gain insight as well as stay sane. For me, it has been very healthy to hear what is working for my peers in other programs and disciplines. I highly recommend cross-pollinating your studies and work experiences in this way.
(Also, as a side logistical note, there are IU-sponsored technologies available if you would like to collaborate electronically.)
In ABC’s Scandal, the occupation of the main character–who is based on an individual and her experiences real-life in Washington DC–is that of a fixer. As a fixer, her role is to “fix” bad situations for politicians, private citizens, and sometimes for those within her own team. Unfortunately, at IU we do not have any fixers. Sad, I know.
However, IU does provide a website (“IU Protect“) to assist in the assurance of public safety and technological protection for its students and staff. But you want the good stuff, right? For all intents and purposes, each department has an unofficial fixer. Sometimes these take the form of department secretary, a faculty member, a very advanced doctoral student, or some other person with knowledge of the inner workings of the department but to whom you can turn for help and advice should you ever need it. The most important thing is to identify who this person is and gain their trust.
The great thing about Bloomington is that it is easy to get involved with the community. Bloomington has the one of the largest non-profits per capita in the nation. It is actually only the 2nd city, after New York City, to have at least 1 fully-staffed person dedicated to volunteering in the mayor’s office. Because of that, it was easy, like me for example, to get involved with one of the soup kitchens in the city like the Bloomington Community Kitchen. The resources of the website and the place made it so easy for me to connect that I was able to help out all throughout summer a couple times a week.
City of Bloomington Volunteer Network