Bloomington in the autumn

The autumn is probably one of the best seasons to spend in Bloomington.  With the crisp air, falling colored leaves, and smells of barbeque and tailgates, it brings to you the true college town atmosphere.  Not only is Bloomington ranked as one of the best college towns in the U.S., but it should also be considered to be one of the best destinations for visitors and tourists.

With nearby Brown County, stroll the streets of Nashville, IN, shopping for antiques, boutiques, and goodies.  Stop by The Big Woods Pizza and Brewing Co. for a local brew and pizza.  This weekend, we had the Breakfast Pizza … biscuits and gravy with an omelet all in one! Mmmm …

Don’t forget the infamous Oliver Winery.  An Indiana favorite has jazz festivals, outdoor seating, and fun activities for the whole family.  They also have an outlet on the Square in downtown Bloomington.

Lastly, the city of Bloomington has cool boutiques and local restaurants to match your flare.  Chose from “farm-to-table,” ethnic, and good “down home” Indiana and American fare!

Book your trip to visit IU today!

Whew … Quals … CHECK!

Depending on the institution, your comprehensive exam(s) is another hurdle to jump through to obtain your Ph.D. Some institutions call them your comprehensive exams, others call them qualification exams.  I just finished my two qualification exams, and I feel good … kinda! ;)

I hope I did well, but to have these exams in the middle of the semester while I am teaching, research, and conducting other academic responsibilities can be stressful and overwhelming!  Don’t fret … I chose to do them in the middle of the semester, so I guess I asked for it.

They say that if you made it far enough to the qualification exam process then there is no reason why you wouldn’t do well on the exams.  I sure hope this is the case.  Anyhow, I’m one step closer to ABD … all but dead! ;)

Know that when you get to this point, you are not alone!  I had lots of support from friends, family, colleagues, and professors and advisors.  Thank you all!

Too big? or too small?

Coming to a Carnegie Research 1 institution may seem daunting, especially if you are coming from a small liberal arts college.  However, there are many benefits to a large institution.  First of all, the resources and facilities are plentiful.  It’s easy to find the books and equipment you need.  Even if the campus does not have it, one of the other IU campuses may and it will be shipped to you for free!  In addition, the diversity of the student body allows you to interact with international students, those with different upbringings and backgrounds, and others in a field of study you may not have ever heard about.  Interdisciplinary work can be exciting at a campus like this!

Besides academically, there are plenty of options for extracurricular activities to participate in and get involved with.  Whether you are artsy, political, religious, or just plain ol’ wanna chill with your friends there’s something for everyone!  Don’t get frightened with the size of the institution.  Nothing can be TOO BIG, right?  Super size my graduate degree!! Well, maybe not like that, but a place like IU has everything for everyone (except for engineers ;))!

Why come to IU?

If you are checking out this post, you should be scheduling a trip to Bloomington soon! Indiana University Bloomington has high caliber academics and a vibrant campus life and community.

If you are a fanatic sports fan, join us at the football tailgates and basketball game watches. Don’t forget to buy your season tickets to see the game live too! You will love the atmosphere in Assembly Hall. WOW! The cheers and screams exhibit our school pride! Also, don’t forget our championship soccer and baseball teams. Most sports events are free of charge for students!

If you aren’t into sports, the world-renowned Jacobs School of Music has amazing ballet and opera productions. Watching a show in the Musical Arts Center is like being at the Metropolitan in New York City. Really! Don’t believe me, come and check it out yourself! Also, our IU Auditorium has traveling Broadway shows and concerts, and don’t forget the Union Board events in the Indiana Memorial Union. I’m watching a movie there tonight in Whittenberger Auditorium!

A short stroll off-campus through our front door – the Sample gates – brings you to Kirkwood Avenue. A downtown vibrant with ethnic food, nightlife, shopping, and leisure activities is a good excuse to take a break from studying. Festivals and events line the streets during the spring, summer, and fall. Don’t forget the Farmer’s Market at Shower’s City Hall.

If you are an outdoors person, go hiking in our rolling forests and watch the leaves change colors in the autumn. Brown County, one of Indiana’s most beautiful places in the fall, is only a short drive away. Check out boating and fishing at our lakes, and if you are a novice, check out and be a member of IU Outdoor Adventures.

IU and Bloomington is filled with fun activities to keep you busy! Come for a visit and you will feel right at home! See you soon and GO IU!

Should you go to grad school or go to work? Trust your gut!

Especially in today’s economy, this question is asked constantly. Should students go back to school? How much will it cost? What is the opportunity cost? How much would I make if I worked? When deciding whether to apply to grad schools, people ask a multitude of questions, including these. Many are concerned whether going to graduate school is a good economic decision. Although this is important to consider, I would suggest that you trust your gut!

If you are unsure about how graduate school fits in your future plans, then maybe you should wait to work and then figure out what your passion is. If you know that you do want to go to grad school, then do it because the funding piece will fall into place. I recommend that you do what makes you happy.

After going to graduate school, then entering the workplace, I knew I wanted to go back. Sure, there is an opportunity cost as I am foregoing potential income; however, I LOVE what I do and what I will be doing for the rest of my life!

TRUST YOUR GUT and go forth! GOOD LUCK! … and welcome back to school!

Campus internationalization

Internationalization is both an internal and external phenomenon for higher education institutions.  Because of our globalized world economy and the increase in international opportunities, this impacts everyone no matter their interests of study and research.  Whether or not you study physics, education, law, business, or psychology, our worlds are becoming more and more international.  That is why it is important to consider how international your institution is when deciding where to attend.

IU is international.  Along with its international strategic plan and its new School of Global and International Studies, IU’s alumni reach all corners of the world.  The programs here allow for study, research, and travel abroad to learn about your area of discipline in another country.  Experiences like these can only help you in your pursuit for a job.

Campus visits are important!

Now that everything is submitted, it is now time to wait for responses. It is important to keep in mind that rejection letters are inevitable. Don’t let them get you down. There are many options out there, and it is not the end of the world.

However, you should still be proactive in the meantime while you are waiting. Do you yet know your list of preferred schools and why you want to attend them? Have you visited them? Visiting an institution and getting the “feel” to what it is like to be there will help you make a decision and not regret it later. Each institution is different. The campus life, environment, and structure can be a huge impact on how you will enjoy spending years there. Do you like big cities? Small college towns? A scenic campus to walk through? Visit, visit, visit! Visit IU by emailing us at emissary@indiana.edu! I hope to meet you at IU! GO HOOSIERS!

Collaborating across disciplines … be helpful without discrimination!

Always reach out with open arms! It is important in academia that you do not get stuck within your bubble.  The world does not work that way, so why should we?  Interdisciplinary studies and research is critical now more than ever as our world becomes more globalized and disciplines overlap to help solve society’s challenges.

As an academic, your success will be determined on how well you can be creative and innovative with your resources as higher education funding becomes more difficult to come by.  As a result, more collaboration and cooperation across departments and disciplines will not only enhance your own overall knowledge of your subject area but also show your ability work with others.

Here’s an example: my research concentration is in higher education policy, specifically in governance, funding, ethics, and diversity.  Although I am an education policy studies student, I collaborate with higher education and student affairs (HESA), informatics, and public health masters and doctorate students.  This kind of collaboration allows me to learn about other areas of academic interest that touches my area of research.

I encourage you to begin working outside of the box and collaborate with others.  Not only will it be helpful in your academic career but also your professional work.  It’s always good to be open, helpful, and embracing of others!

And now your waiting? What to do next?

Now that you have sent in your application, you must be wondering what you should do next.  Double check with your school if you need to submit separate applications for fellowships and scholarships.  You will want to investigate these opportunities.  It’s a good idea to talk to faculty of your department to see what departmental opportunities there are to apply for.  Fellowships will provide opportunities for you not only to seek funding but also experience.  What is important about fellowships is that they allow you to be secure regarding funding and during your first year as a graduate student, you can explore other options if your fellowship is only awarded for one year.  If fellowships are not an option, begin looking for other financial assistance either through campus employment or working in the community if you are in need of funding while studying. Many schools and departments have research centers that may be looking for help.  Make sure to be exhaustive in your search.

If you have missed the deadline to apply for fellowships, create a folder and collect information for the next year.  Being prepared will help you keep a foot out front and have all necessary documents, recommendations, and information ready to submit at a moment’s notice.  If you are needing recommendations, do not procrastinate.  Professors will write you a better recommendation if they have time to prepare and not have to use a “canned” letter.

Stay tuned to next month about filing for a FAFSA.

 

Publishing … an important component of academia!

So holiday break brought some good news … an article I worked with a professor on will be published in the Education Law Reporter. An important aspect of academia is to research, write, and publish.  Some tips to accomplish these goals are:

1. Find good mentors who know the system well and can guide you through them

2. Collaborate with faculty members and other graduate students.  Find where your strengths can compliment theirs.

3. Work together and keep each other accountable.  Working with others help you keep yourself accountable and on track to achieve a goal.

4. Research and write on topics that interest you. This is a long process and if you are not interested in the work you are doing, it will become a task not a pleasure!

5. And last but not least … have fun!  Write about interesting and current topics, but also collaborate with fun colleagues!  You can learn so much from each other but also have so much fun!

Good luck!  Research … and write!