Writing an Amazing Statement (Tips from Someone who Survived)

I don’t know about you, but lately life has felt as if someone pushed the “forward” button and all of a sudden we’re in the month of October. And if you’re applying to grad school, you might be at the point when you are beginning to panic a little. Applications are due in 2-3 months from know and you might be asking, “How the heck am I Continue reading

Connecting beyond your department

Once graduate school begins, you may find yourself constantly running into colleagues from your department. While your department is a fundamental component in your professional development, it is other members of the IU and Bloomington community that provide other unique perspectives. While graduate school is incredibly busy, it is important to find social opportunities outside of your department. From graduate student organizations, to volunteering in the community there are always groups and organizations where you can interact with awesome people from different walks of life.

There is also the Jacobs School of Music here at IU, so frequently there are amazing orchestras and other musical performances. During my first semester of my first year, I attended the musical Continue reading

Academics and Research and…?

A paper due today…read a gazillion pages before class tomorrow…research meeting with a professor the next day…and submit a journal article for publication the day after that. The grad school life. Being a scholar…doing what scholars do. That’s why we’re here, right? We have degrees to earn and changes to make and research to conduct in our respective fields.

Of course all of these things are important. The opportunities we have as graduate students, from working with A-list faculty and exploring our interests to attending conferences and submitting for publications, are amazing. We would be crazy to not take advantage of them. But amidst the academic-mania of classes, articles, writing, and conducting research, we have to create Continue reading

Up close and PERSONAL: Crafting Your Best Personal Statement

It’s that time of year when potential graduate students are diving deep into the graduate admissions process. Application after application…expanding your vocabulary and learning the meaning of every word humanly possible for the GRE…exchanging emails with faculty who will sell you to the committee by saying all of these TRUE, wonderful things about you…pulling together writing samples to show that you can hang with the best of scholars and have something to contribute to the field…updating CVs/resumes with your highest of high honors, publications and service initiatives. And what else? Ah. That personal statement.

Your personal statement is one of the most critical components of Continue reading

Xicanita on the Move

The majority of people are always in shock when I tell them that I am from California. The conversation usually goes like this:

“Hey where are you from?”
“What are you doing here!? Usually people want to leave Indiana and move to California. People in California are so chill and you guys have awesome weather!”

And I usually laugh and smile because I have lost count of the times I have heard people say this. But the truth is…I’m a Xicanita on the Move. The same curiosity that led me to study abroad during my undergraduate years is the same curiosity which led me to IU.

I know what you must be thinking, “Indiana is in no way as “cool” as traveling abroad.” But once you have had a taste of the unknown…of placing yourself in uncomfortable situations and learning to grow from them, then you are changed forever. You my friend are  Continue reading

Research potential graduate school programs – what exactly does that mean?

When one is asked to research potential graduate school programs, what exactly does that consist of?  Similar to researching for an undergraduate institution, this process is just a level above as the decision you make could help catapult your career.  The three things people most commonly should look for are:

1. Does the school have the program that you want?  Make sure the school has the department and program that most interest you.  You also want to make sure that the institution you are considering has at least 3 professors (or advisors) you would like to work for, just in case your top choice is unable to take you for any reason (i.e. loss of funding, does not have enough space to accommodate you, denied tenure, etc.).

2.  Location, location, location.  When drafting a list of potential schools, know what states or countries will be compatible with you.  Remember, this program will last anywhere for 4-7 years so make sure you pick a place where you can deal with the weather and cost of living.  A trap that some students get caught up in is the stipend amount; make sure to take into account the cost of living.  For example, if you are offered a place in Indiana with a stipend of $24,000 a year and offered a place in California for $27,000 a year, even though the California position is offering more money, you will get more “bang for you buck” in Indiana due to the cost of living.

3. Know the rank of the institution.  It is important to know how the programs you are interested in ranks nationally.  While you should not limit yourself to only ranked programs, getting your degree from a nationally recognized institution in your field can give you an edge when it is time for you to start applying for jobs.  The ranking of various graduate programs can be found here:http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools.

Other concerns such as having a family, medical conditions and job restrictions may also add into your choice for a graduate school.




Summer Job with Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs

I became a PhD student in the Department of Communication and Culture at IU after “retiring” from a career in Information Technology. IT was fine and the money was good but it didn’t give me the opportunity to grow intellectually. That said, IT work is still reasonably interesting to me and it has given me access to decent jobs around Bloomington when during the summer when my AI teaching stipend runs out.

This summer I have been working for the the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs* (DEMA) doing some web maintenance and updating work. While doing so, I got know the folks over at the Hudson and Holland Scholars Program which is a program to help non-traditional and underrepresented minority students succeed in college. They offer tutoring, mentoring, special skills courses (for credit!), and a great community. One of their big events is  Continue reading