When it comes to graduate school, most people’s first thoughts jump to experts in training in a narrow field of study, but further consideration might reveal the truth – graduate school, in fact research and teaching in general, is very reliant on collaboration. It is a key component that differentiates the good scholars from the best, and is a skill that is carefully acquired and refined throughout a career. If you need further evidence of this, just take a stroll around the IUB campus – you will see a building constructed especially for collaborative work, which is even named the Multidisciplinary Science Building II (or MSB II for short).
The picture above is my weekly meal prep time. It may look like too much food but its an easy way to save money and time for anyone and everyone, whether you are a graduate student or not. Clockwise from top left I have tilapia, pork chops, chicken and potatoes, ground beef and salsa, and steak burgers. Cooking in bulk will save you time because you cook one time for the whole week.
Just a few pointers/tips so you can experiment with meal prepping:
#1- CROCKPOTS I have 2 and I will put meats/veggies in them and let them cook on low or high for hours. EXAMPLE: chicken breasts or drumsticks with some garlic, salt, pepper, and cajun spice and chicken broth on low for 6 hours. Then you can just broil them for a few minutes to get the skin crispy.
#2- EGGS I hard boil about 10-12 eggs for easy breakfast or snacks. I don’t have time to scramble eggs everyday.
#3- FISH So you cant make a ton of fish and expect it to stay fresh- but it will last a day or two. I love tilapia for breakfast. I buy a ton of frozen tilapia fillets. Thaw them and put some cajun or chipotle seasoning on it. Heat a bit of olive oil in non-stick pan and sear it. Adding green chile sauce to it while its in the pan. Easy, fast, lean protein.
#4- LOTS OF TUPPERWARE Yep you need a lot to save in fridge or freezer and to take with you everywhere.
#5- MRS DASH SEASONING (no salt) Great and easy seasoning. I have a cabinet full. Most spices and marinades are full of sodium.
These are just a few suggestions to make life easier when schedules are chaotic!
I can truthfully say I have NEVER pulled an ALLNIGHTER in all my undergraduate and graduate career. Want know how? Continue reading
After coursework…life changes. I wish someone would have told me how isolating research and writing can actually be. Continue reading
Finding time for your research around your class, teaching, and work schedules may seem daunting by itself – but what about fitting your schooling and research into your long term plan, applying for jobs, figuring out a place to live, and finally starting your career? It can all be overwhelming – but like a puzzle, once you find the corners, build the edges, and sort the pieces, everything starts to fall into place and the middle begins to fill in.
So don’t despair – there is hope! No matter how despondent you may feel at times, hold the line and keep plugging along, because you will piece your puzzle together and reach your goals. Continue reading
Grad school is all about being able to bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Whether it’s a class assignment that didn’t turn out the way you expected, a manuscript that gets rejected, rejected again, and still rejected once more, or data that just do not want to cooperate with your hypotheses, adaptability is one of the most important skills to have as a graduate student. Ironically, most graduate students tend to be a little neurotic (after all, chances are that to get this far academically you have to care, ya know, a little bit). So, how did I, neurotic grad student Evelyn develop the adaptability skill? Glad you asked. Here are a few tips:
1) Focus on what IS working for you. Make a list of your tasks for the week, and cross them off as you go along. That way, even if you hit a road block, you’ll be able to objectively see what you have accomplished. Hopefully that will give you the “oomph” you need to push that road block out of your way.
2) Play an upbeat song. My go-to is “Roar” by Katy Perry (I’m *almost* not ashamed to admit that). Whether it’s something cheesy or super serious, find music that speaks to you and put it on repeat until you’ve found a new solution.
3) Think outside the box. If you’re banging your head against a wall with no luck, try banging your head against a different surface–maybe you’ll get different results! But, in all seriousness, sometimes a little change in perspective will help you discover your Plan B. For example, if it’s data that’s not working, what’s a new way you can think of your hypotheses? Try sharing your thought process with a friend outside your field. They may see something that you have taken for granted differently.
No matter what you do, don’t give up! Even if it feels like you’ve gotten all the way to Plan Z and still don’t know what to do, pat yourself on the back for your resilience, and keep pushing. Maybe plan AA will be the one that works
Are you interested in student government? Do you love the idea of making a difference, or at least being around other people who try their hardest to do so? Great! The Graduate & Professional Student Organization (GPSO) may be for you! This organization is the governing body of IU grad students, and the various committees and officers serve as our voice to the administration and campus at large. Each department gets one representative (or more, if it’s a big department) and that person votes on behalf of their student constituents. That person also serves on one of many committees (the Diversity committee, Sustainability, Programming, etc.), and those committees work to pass resolutions which help let the administration know the issues that graduate students are thinking about. Check out the website for more information!
On February 7th, executive members of the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) participated in the “Black Scholars Showcase” at the Neal Marshall Black Culture Center on IU’s campus. Graduate and undergraduates students presented various research presentations from dissertation proprosals to conference research papers. Pictured below are (left to right) Gloria Howell (Secretary), Carl Darnell (Black Chair), Katrina Overby (President), and Brandi Caruthers (Vice President).
So what are you into? Ok great, that’s exactly what you should look into. Chances are, at IU there is an organization or club that touches on that exact thing that you like. For me, I like salsa dancing Yes, there is a club for that. I have competed in a couple triathlons. Check, there is a running club, biking club, and swimming club (and team). Professionally, there are so many options. I am part of a student organization for those within my field of study. I am part of the Emissaries for Graduate Diversity. The opportunities to join an organization or almost limitless. Outside of the university there is a professional organization for just about every field in existence. I have yet to hear of a field that does not have a national or international organization for said field.
From personal experience, you will not have enough time to participate in every organization pertaining to your interests. They key is to select a couple and be active in those. Balance is important: you don’t want to pick to many and experience burn-out or exhaustion; you don’t want to pick to few and not have many experiences outside of coursework. 2-3 organizational affiliations seems to be healthy for any grad student…from what i can tell. For me, that has seemed to work pretty well.
So everything seemed to be going well but there is now an enormous boulder in your way that you were completing not expecting. So grad school threw you a curve ball. Well welcome to the club. Know that you are joining some elite company. Let me guess, you’ve always been an excellent student? You’ve always gotten along well with all of your professors and just about all of your colleagues? For the most part, you achieve all of your goals? Does that sounds familiar? Well if that accurately describes you then know that you are the rule, not the exception. So what happens when things don’t go quite as planned?
The nature of grad school is one in which challenge is a common occurrence. Grad school is meant to be difficult. It is designed to stretch you. It is not intended to be like the undergrad experience. Arriving at that realization can be difficult, even painful. I know making the transition from undergrad to grad school was very difficult for me. Could how I handled a challenge as an undergrad work to handle an obstacle or challenge in grad school? Nope.
So what to do then? Regardless of the type of obstacle or the depth of the challenge, it is really important to know that you are NOT ALONE in facing an unexpected situation. I can count 4 or 5 times between the MS and PhD where I felt like I had been punched in the gut: some outcome had gone 180 degrees from what I was expecting. As a God-fearing person I am a strong believer in doing all that you can within your control and then not stressing the rest. I believe strongly that how you respond to difficulty is revelatory: you reveal yourself to yourself through adversity. So what has experience taught me? I truly believe that hard work and smart work can overcome a lot of the challenges and curve balls that arise in grad school. I truly believe that a humble attitude is 100% to maintain a level of peace and sanity during grad school. I believe in you-get-what-you-give or what-goes-around-comes-around. In fact, every single person (including myself) that reacted positively to adversity or challenge had a positive experience down the road. Every single time. There are so many other grad students who likely have had a similar challenge that talking to one (or three) you trust can only be helpful. The same goes for a faculty member or two that you trust. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that surrounding yourself with a core of people that you have high amounts of trust is very very important during grad school. This is one of the reasons why. Work hard, work smart, rely on those you really trust, and you will likely be just fine and have an equal or even better outcome then what you originally planned. That seems to have worked well for me.