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I know lawyers and doctors (MD and PhDs) and public officials all from my time here at IU, but none are possibly as interesting as the vocalists I have met that are pursuing advanced degrees. Not only do you have the chance to attend Jacobs School of Music operas at The Musical Arts Center for discounted student pricing, but you get to see fellow graduate students showcase their hard work and talent on stage (as well as the musicians in the orchestra pit).
Operas are dynamic, fun, and exciting. It’s also a far more complex world than I originally thought. Imagine singing for 3+ hours! Imagine learning songs in French, German, or Italian! There are altos, tenors, baritones, counter tenors, sopranos and mezzo sopranos, contraltos, and bass baritones to name a few! I am no opera aficionado, but I absolutely love them and take advantage of every opportunity to attend a performance and learn more.
Just like attending your first IU basketball game, going to the Lil 500 race, playing cornhole (I never heard of this in Los Angeles), and experiencing the Taste of Bloomington– I think attending an opera (at least once) should be on everyone’s list. Who knows, you just might become a season ticket holder! After all, Jacobs School of Music is one of the most renowned in the nation.
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Challenge yourself to try something new. The pressures of graduate school and perhaps living in a new area will force you to try new activities, utilize different study techniques, and step outside your comfort zone. I picked the IU Mini, a half marathon, to challenge myself during the first year of my doctoral program.
I am thankful for graduate student groups like the Black Graduate Student Association, because that is exactly the medium I used to
peer pressure contact and interest fellow graduate students to train and run the race with me. My listserv message was met with lots of interest from ladies in different programs and schools that were ready to tackle this challenge.
Some of these ladies are currently writing dissertations, while the others have graduated and moved away from Bloomington, but training through a snowy and icy winter for a spring half marathon has bonded us forever. Nothing like wearing ear warmers, running gloves, 2 pairs of warm tights, base layer shirts, fleece jacket, and warm socks to brave the 25°-30° weather for weekly long runs.
Here I am almost 3 years later and deep in the world of powerlifting and weighlifting, but something is telling me to try it again, perhaps train harder this time and improve my time. Truthfully speaking, I just want to run it so I can have a
cuter better picture at the finish line, because I actually hate dislike running (still waiting for that “runner’s high”), but I love working out with friends. Obviously I have time to decide, but it’s always in the back of my mind. The race is right here in town with plenty of undergraduates, graduate students, alumni, and community members running right next to you. Perhaps it’s time for another listserv message??
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Photo from http://www.indiana.edu/~gpso/
The Graduate and Professional Student Organization (GPSO) is an organization dedicated to serving the entire graduate student population at Indiana University, Bloomington.
- Need money for a conference to present your amazing and original work?
With a core group of elected and appointed officers the organization works to provide financial support with research awards, travel grants, and even conference funding.
- Are you having issues with using your graduate student health insurance plan?
GPSO is first and foremost an advocate for graduate students, working on student health care, stipend reviews for current graduate students, and campus safety concerns to name a few.
- Where am I going to live? Is there childcare near IU? How do I set up my new IU email account?
While the officers and staff of GPSO cannot act as real estate agents or IT support , they can lead you in the right direction by putting you in touch with the correct individuals. There is also a great resources tab on their website.
- How will I meet other graduate students not in my school or department?
Community building is very important in graduate school. In addition to networking and building a new base of friends, its a great time to take a step away from reading, writing, and working. GPSO plans great social hours, professional development events, and family friendly events.
OKAY! OKAY! You caught me! I am a little biased about this organization. From 2011-2013 I was the elected President of GPSO. Either way I wholeheartedly believe in the work of GPSO. I urge incoming graduate students, as well as current student students to get involved and take advantage of the many opportunities offered through GPSO.
Photo from https://financialliteracyseminar.eventbrite.com/
Engaging graduate students in a discussion about long term financial preparation and success can be difficult. Who has time to think about retirement when I have a dissertation to write, rent to pay, and conference registrations?????
I am lucky enough to have a graduate assistantship that is grad student centered. Working with Indiana University Human Resources and TIAA-CREF we have developed a survey instrument to ask grad students what is important to them financially. Hopefully with this data IU can develop seminars focused on financial issues to better prepare graduate students for when they graduate and accept those amazing post-docs, tenure track professorships, or jobs in the public or private sector.
As a graduate student that has completed a Master’s degree and now in the dissertation stage of the PhD, I can say that it is difficult to plan long term when I have to address more immediate financial concerns such as student fees, rent/housing, other miscellaneous costs, and looming student loans. I am learning that I should still be saving for the FUTURE.
Aside from great academics, research opportunities and a top Gender Studies doctoral program (if I do say so myself) at Indiana University, there is another place in Bloomington that has stolen my heart.
Courtesy of IU Gender Studies
Bowling Green Falcons vs. Indiana Hoosiers
10 – 42
Photo by L. Gregory Campbell
You’ve read a million chapters, completed assignments, and conquered your email inbox. What’s next?
College football Saturday is here. Put on your cream and crimson and grab your student ID (I’m assuming you already purchased your student season tickets). Walking to the stadium be sure to stop by tailgates hosted by departments, graduate student groups, and fellow classmates. Play a round or two of cornhole and begin your walk into the stadium.
Often graduate students become isolated in their research and work, it’s nice to take a Saturday and enjoy some football. I realize that football may not be everyone’s cup of tea…so college basketball is just around the corner.
Take all of this with a grain of salt as these are the confessions of a PAC 12/ Trojan alumna.
Fighting out of the blue corner : Graduate “Smarty Pants” School
Fighting out of the red corner : Full Time “Dollar Bills” Job
The blue corner came out swinging in my case. I knew that I wanted to at least get my Master’s right away. Coming from a private university where my upper level classes in Spanish and Gender Studies were small and intensive I wanted to keep the conversation going. Before there could actually be a legitimate ruling for the blue corner win, I sought out different internships and part-time positions in the fields I was most interested in. I worked and interned at health centers, non-profit organizations, and university offices. I also traveled during my summers so I could experience studying and working abroad.
The red corner made some gains as I dreamed of steady paychecks, set work schedules, and most of all NO MORE EXAMS AND PAPERS, but I knew that I couldn’t stop…at least not yet. With the support of my family I explained that graduate school was the necessary step in my academic journey. I spoke with professors, advisors, and internship supervisors to have a better idea of my options, but ultimately the decision was mine to make and I decided to apply and explain to different programs the importance of my future research.
Did I know exactly what I wanted to do? NO…but I had a general, yet lofty idea. That idea not only required a MA and PhD, but also work experience. From the B.A. -> M.A. -> Ph.D. (in progress) you could say I am a professional student, but I would have to disagree. While earning each degree I was a collegiate athlete (work), graduate assistant (work), or currently a research assistant (work).
Unfortunately, the decision, options, and circumstances are different for each person as to whether they should pursue full time employment after college or immediately apply to graduate school.
WINNER after a 10 second count : Graduate “Smarty Pants” School