…from the comfort of your home

As a graduate student, the IU library is your best friend.  Did you know that you could download journal articles directly to your computer even when you are at home?  Here’s how you do it.  First, install the IU VPN on your computer.  Then use your search engine of choice (PubMed, Ovid, Google Scholar) to search for journal articles.  When you find an article you would like to download, click on the IU-Link and you’ll be prompted to save.  This will allow you to save it directly to your computer…in your pajamas…from your apartment.

There are many other reasons why libraries are great.  Katie Birkwood, a librarian at the Royal College of Physicians in London, gives a few of them in this talk from 2011.

Grad Life Advice:Late Night Study Grind!

The late night study grind is indeed no stranger to graduate students. Most nights will be filled with tons of reading material and note taking that you need read for the next days classes. Although reading ahead of time is strongly suggested, often times you won’t have time to do so, so you must submit to the late night study grind. So here are a few tips to get you through the night! Continue reading

Why IU?

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Image courtesy of ampathkenya.org

AMPATH is one of the main reasons that I chose a doctoral program in Epidemiology at IU.  AMPATH, the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare, was established in 2001 as a partnership between Indiana University School of Medicine, Moi University School of Medicine, and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH). Continue reading

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 ;))!

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!

New Year’s Goal: Complete Qualifying Exams

Last Friday morning, I began the first weekend for my qualifying exams. As a third year student in my program, it is now my time to work towards completion of my degree. The qualifying exams for the Higher Education and Student Affairs Program consists of two questions spread over two weekends. I received the first prompt at 8:30 a.m. on Friday. My 20 page response (minus appendices and bibliography in APA format) was due on Monday afternoon by 4:30 pm. (Which means that in less than 9 hours, round 2 will begin!!!!!!!!)

Qualifying exams are designed for doctoral students to demonstrate the wealth of knowledge that they have received during their academic tenure. The purpose is to respond to an issue or problem using the tools that I am supposed to have gained in 2.5-ish years. As my second weekend approaches, I am certain that I have written wwwwaaaaaaayyyyyyyy better papers than that. However, I am confident that I demonstrated that I have learned and can apply the knowledge of my field.

I am so excited to finish this last semester of coursework. As I contemplate the next year or so of my life, where I will be writing my dissertation, I am confident that I have gained tools and have had experienced here at Indiana University that has laid a foundation for me to become a leader in my field.