“Toi Toi Toi”

 

Photo from www.indianapublicmedia.org

Photo from www.indianapublicmedia.org

 

 

 

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.

 

Peer Pressure (the good kind)!

Photo from etsy.com

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??

Photo from hoosierhalf.com

Find Yourself by Finding Others

Photo from Walmart.com. Altered by Tiphani D

Photo from Walmart.com. Altered by Tiphani D

I am a firm believer that sweatpants, a T-shirt and an assortment of sugary snacks can be a human’s best friends, but sometimes these need to be abandoned in favor of finding your social and professional niche within the IU community. While it sounds daunting, and not at all as easy as blasting through a marathon of Law and Order: SVU, it is an extremely important skill. I will, in full disclosure admit to not mastering this yet, but it is important to make connections for professional development, and for you own mental health; grad school is hard, and having a circle of people you can talk to can make the process easier. Continue reading

What Profit?

courtesy of youtube.com

I was driving to Bloomington, my normal routine every morning my first semester of graduate school.  Now I know you’re wondering, “Why drive fifty miles back and forth every day?  Why didn’t you move to Bloomington?”  This is when the flashback noise would begin and the water effect would take you and I back to January 2012. Continue reading

Elected and here to serve IU graduate students!

Photo from http://www.indiana.edu/~gpso/

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.

 

Cooking! Affording grad life through eating.

Cooking in graduate school. Photo courtesy of www.chronicle.com

Through my assistantship, I am fortunate to have a stipend.  However, I am not rolling around in cash, and my stipend is just enough to feed me, house me, and have a little lift for entertaining me (movies, dinners with friends, and yes, shopping).  Yet, I have to be Continue reading

Ironing Out Your Future

Blog Post 2 - Ironingb

Take a look at your skills and figure out where you need to direct the iron next!

Wait, what does ironing have to do with graduate school?  Well, I didn’t really make the connection until tonight when I was ironing some shirts.  Much like ironing out the wrinkles in a dress shirt makes the shirt look crisp, clean, well-cared for, and presentable, ironing out the “wrinkles,” or shortcomings, of your professional career can help present you as a crisp, clean, valuable asset to a potential employer.

It wasn’t until I started ironing my own shirts that I began to notice when others had freshly ironed shirts or very wrinkled shirts.  Similarly, it wasn’t until I began writing manuscripts that I noticed some of the nuances that make a journal article stand out among the millions out there.  These things are ubiquitous and can be found everywhere – a good, firm handshake (but not a death-grip!), good eye contact, an engaging presentation (with no “um’s”), etc.  People notice these things.  You are hopefully starting to notice these things too, or perhaps you already do.

So go ahead – take a good, hard look at yourself and figure out where your wrinkles are.  And take some steam and pressure, and iron that wrinkle out.  Just like you’d do on a dress shirt.  Before you know it, your papers will be cleaner, presentations more engaging, jokes funnier, and your handshake will be firm, but not too firm.  And you’ll be well off on a career trajectory higher than you expected.  Don’t forget to iron your shirts – people will notice.  If you’ve forgotten, or never learned, here’s a nice quick guide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK6iQj-I_0w.

Blog Post 2 - Ironing

Ironing your clothes may be good practice for ironing out your career