Technology on Campus

Using every and all forms of technology is completely acceptable and recommended in grad school. Indiana University makes it easy for people like me to understand new email interfaces, citation management softwares, setting up wireless printing, and more.

  • University Information Technology Services – the technological support and services for the entire university. I have taken classes on Excel and HTML for my graduate assistantships to help me learn new skills and brush up on others. There are various workshops and trainings you can sign up for through the university.
  • After I purchased my pride and joy, bane of my existence, laptop I had to download some appropriate software such as Office for MAC, Adobe, and the wonderful Endnote. These software programs and many more are available through the university.
  • Questions or issues with software, internet logins, pass phrases not working, or email servers giving you trouble…well the campus support center will answer questions by phone, email, in person, and by chat.
  • There is even a place to purchase hardware on campus right in the Indiana Memorial Union and discounted items through IU Surplus.

What I have described here is only a small part of the tech services and support here on campus. I am still learning about new tips and tricks all the time.


Getting Involved – Graduate Student Organizations

Once you get into graduate school and arrive on campus, you’ll probably take a little time to get settled into the town, your program, and your routine.  After that though, what then?  Well, fortunately there are number of great student organizations that you can choose to become a part of.

As a graduate student, you are automatically eligible to join the Graduate and Professional Student Organization (GPSO), the official campus-wide student government body for graduate and professional students.  There are also programs such as the Emissaries for Graduate Student Diversity that work in a more focused manner to promote a more specific interest, such as diversity.  Some of these organizations are specific to graduate students and gives you a chance to interact with people outside of your own department, which is always a great opportunity to broaden your horizons.

SPHSG Fall2013 Group Photo 1

The 2012-2013 School of Public Health-Bloomington Student Government Council

Each individual school and department is also likely to have its own student government organization, which is a great opportunity to get involved, get to know other students and faculty, and share your input on a variety of topics that are important to your experience while here at IU and for future students.

Beyond organizations such as these there are innumerable other clubs and organizations that encompass almost any interest.  Many of these are open to both undergraduate and graduate students, so it’s a good opportunity to get to know more people beyond just graduate students.

When it comes down to it, getting involved is a great opportunity for you to balance your work and schooling with something that you’re passionate and interested in.  You can also meet many great new people and develop personal and professional relationships that can last far beyond school.  So go ahead and take a look to see what’s out there for you, who knows what doors will open when you get involved in a graduate student organization.

When things don’t go as expected: Car edition

Regular maintenance with your car will prevent these scary signals from popping up. However, when you have an 5+ old car expect major repairs and bills. Photo courtesy of

People tell you to save for grad school.  But what does that money go towards?  The most visible channels of your savings goes to tuition, fees, and living expenses.  However, one of the most unexpected expenses I faced Continue reading

Elected and here to serve IU graduate students!

Photo from

Photo from

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.


Navigating IU

Let’s face it: the IU-Bloomington campus is huge.  At almost 2,000 acres, it can be quite a challenge to navigate, even for those of us who have lived here for over a quarter of a century.  To ease the load a little, here is a quick guide to navigating IU:

First, it’s OK to walk around with a campus map.  Yes, people will probably laugh at you as they walk by, but they were in your shoes once too.  I’ve lived in Bloomington my whole life and despite that I still get confused as to what the building codes mean.  After 25 years, I still look at the map – it’s OK!

Second, explore the town!  I know graduate school life is busy (especially your first semester), but take the time to get to know Bloomington – it’ll save you time in the future when you need something specific AND you can be the one to suggest that awesome burger joint or cocktail bar when your friends are looking for a cool place to hang out.  Bloom Magazine is a great place to find information about local restaurants, shops, and more.  Conveniently, it is free and can be found at many local establishments (I usually get mine from Bloomingfoods on Kirkwood).

Breaking Away Poster 001

A must see for any IU student/alumni. Photo by Ren-Jay S.

Third, ASK!  I personally love to share my own personal taste and insights about IU and Bloomington – whether it’s about a good place for lunch or where to find information about how to find classes.  I can’t think of anyone whom I’ve asked for help who hasn’t been excited to share what they know.  When it comes down to it, people love to help (especially Hoosiers!).  So find someone who knows their way around the university and the town and let them be your guide and encyclopedia.

Finally, watch Breaking Away!  I would venture to say, it’s an unspoken requirement for any IU alumni to have seen that movie.  It will help you appreciate the university and the town, and see what the campus looked like over 30 years ago.  The film is delightfully entertaining and full of little bits of wisdom, and I guarantee it’ll make you appreciate the pains of growing up.

Navigating IU may seem like a daunting challenge at first, but as you grow to know the campus, the people, and the town, it’ll gradually feel like home.  Just keep seeking out new places, things, and people to explore and your appreciation of IU and Bloomington will deepen.  The best advice I can give you about navigating IU is how former IU Professor Oliver Field often concluded his letters: “Onward!”

Acclimating to Grad Life

No matter how long you plan to be here, knowing everything that is available to you can only be beneficial to you in the long-run.  Before I arrived, I asked (the same) recruiters who encouraged me to pick IUB what I should know when I arrive (i.e. such as places to buy cheap apartment stuff, suggestions for late night eateries, or where to go if I actually wanted to study).  After I arrived Continue reading