If you polled every graduate student on a given campus and asked them if they had ever pondered the above question (or some form of the question) before, nine times out of ten, the answer would be a resounding “YES!” and for very good reason.
Spring semester has arrived! Despite the fact winter only recently began to feel and look like winter, it’s time to bounce back into the swing of things and begin and end the semester with a bang.
Wake up. Go to school. Go to work. Go to the library. Go home. Study and write some more. Wake up the next day. Do it all over again. Food? Sleep? Who needs those, right? WRONG! With the scholar grind at an all-time high as a graduate student, it is easy to get so lost in the hustle and bustle that we forget to look out for someone very important: ourselves. No matter how overwhelming the challenges, always keep YOU in the front of your mind. Sometimes, ok most times, this seems impossible to do, but it can be done! How…you ask?
Bloomingtonians seem to have an almost pathological love of lunch. Between noon and 1:00pm every day, a huge proportion of the campus shuts down as the staff heads off to eat. It’s like the nostalgic, small-town satire where literally everything in town (even the stray dogs) hangs out an “Out to Lunch” sign as soon as the clock strikes noon. I know that’s the traditional lunch time but 1) who actually gets an hour for lunch? (The answer: IU Bloomington), and 2) I worked at the University of Minnesota for about 7 years and never saw anything like this! Bloomington is very weird in this regard.
So, this massive lunch-hour exodus has two important implications for graduate students. The first is obvious: don’t try to get any university business done between noon and 1:00pm. Don’t try to sort out a registration anomaly, file paperwork for a research grant, or contact the department of your minor advisor to get a form signed. Don’t!
The second implication is less obvious. Since 90% of the population of Bloomington, IN goes to lunch at the same time, this means the restaurants are clear and accessible at every other time in the afternoon. Beyond that, you will find that a few establishments even have discounts if you go for lunch after 2 or 3pm.
What does this have to do with you? Well, as a graduate student, you probably do not keep regular 9-5 hours. If you are like me, you are working from like 7am – 3am most days. As such, “lunch time” need not be at noon. It’s not like you’re punching a clock or staying compliant with federal labor laws: you can eat whenever you want to! Sure the little Blooming Foods deli behind Nick’s English Hut is pretty crowded at 12:18pm but, if you go in three hours later, you will find it nearly empty and that many of their pre-packaged deli stuff is on 30% discount.
Putting down my books on a weeknight can be difficult and turning off my laptop on the weekend can be even harder. Breaks are necessary for a graduate student in coursework, studying for qualitative exams, writing proposals, and dissertating. I wrote a previous blog about the Musical Arts Center and the performances featured there, which are usually student centered including ballets, operas, and orchestral concerts.
It wasn’t until 2013 that I discovered exactly how amazing the IU Auditorium is. Working as a Co-Chair of the Committee for Fee Review (a committee of students across IU Bloomington campus that reviews the fee allocation for all student groups and auxiliary units on campus) I met Doug Booher, the Director of the Auditorium and learned some very important things about this institution on campus. It is an award winning and nationally recognized university auditorium, as well as being a top student employer on campus.
The yearly calendar of events and performances is impressive to say the least and student pricing is pretty great too. I’ve seen Bill Maher‘s stand up and most recently the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform at the IU Auditorium. There are even season ticket options to make sure you take those necessary breaks and enjoy a play, musical, dance concert, or public lecture!!
Sometimes, writing a dissertation can be exhilarating. There is nothing like that day that you check something major over the ToDo list. On other days, however, it can be lonely and/or boring. On those days, it really helps to reach out to others who have been where you are. Here are links to a few of those blogs:
- The Thesis Whisperer: http://thesiswhisperer.com/
- Chaos and Noise: http://morsla.wordpress.com/
- Research Tales: http://joannelehrer.wordpress.com/
- PhD Talk: http://phdtalk.blogspot.com.au/
- Conditionally Accepted: http://conditionallyaccepted.com/
- PhD comics: www.phdcomics.com
I hope they help you remember that you are not alone.
As a doctoral student AND someone who struggles with maintaining a fitness routine, one of the things that I love about IU is the IU Recreational Sports programs. Continue reading
I think one of my favorite things about IU is the sheer amount of activities to do in Bloomington! I have a lot of interests, and I have a pretty adventurous spirit. I like to try new things, and Bloomington has a lot of great opportunities to explore. Even better, student discounts and free events are the best! I just recently went to an Itzhak Perlman (check him out playing Schindler’s List theme) for $20 on a student discount. Just on one campus, you can experience D1 sports teams, world-renowned musical performances, art exhibits, cultural festivals, indie bands, and much more. When I need a break from academics, I can pick and choose what types of events I can spend an evening with.
Some great links that I check out from time to time:
The IUB events calendar: http://events.iu.edu/iub.html
Athletics Calendar: http://www.iuhoosiers.com/calendar/events/Musical Performances: http://music.indiana.edu/events/
Bloomington Community Events: http://calendar.bloomingtonscene.com/
Managing your time as a PhD student is exhausting. I often find myself blinking at the sheer number of tasks that need to be completed. Since the start of this academic year, I have juggled revisions on my parts of my dissertation, learning Swahili, attending research skills workshops, writing conference presentations, teaching, and managing my three non-dissertation research projects. Even though I have experience in these areas, they still take lots of time. I dream about having a research assistant. LOL.
I know that there are two types of people in my PhD world: (1) those who are productive by nature; and (2) everyone else. This post is for that second group. Continue reading