Category Archives: Community Enrichment

Why a Professional Support Network is Important

Sitting on the RamVan recently, I was surround by Gabelli undergraduates (I could tell because one of them was dressed in a three-piece suit). All of them were discussing internships– how they got them, where they’re interviewing, how they’re prepping– and the benefits and drawbacks of various placements.

And it got me thinking… I don’t remember that kind of practical sharing and support as an graduate student here. That’s not to say that those of us in the humanities or social sciences don’t support one another, but I think we want to do so as scholars. We talk about our research interests or intellectual theories and discuss mentors and academic experiences. I think it is less natural for us to automatically jump to talk about jobs and careers.

A lot of that worry stems from our feeling that we’re impostors– academic frauds who are not as worthy or as knowledgeable as our colleagues (check out this great overview of impostor syndrome from CalTech). If we are anxious and less-than in the classroom, how much farther behind are we on the job market? What can we offer?

But the best part of the conversation going on around me on the van yesterday wasn’t the interviewing tips (honestly they were nothing special) but how relieved the students sounded after explaining their anxieties. They bounced ideas off of each other and were open about how much work they had and the pressure they were all feeling to succeed.

We all have to work hard. And while I think that in grad school, working hard is normalized and working “for” the degree is expected, in my experience most students also want to be the naturally quick and intelligent person. We want to skim, not have to read the book; understand the problem sets in class the first time; write a dissertation chapter quickly– we want to have the answers, not admit that we’re worried we may have the wrong ones.

But asking the question, admitting gaps in our knowledge and confidence, is just as important, especially if you can do so within a trusted peer group. As summer approaches and things calm down, many people us the break to reconnect with research partners or cohort members– if you can, also use it as a time to discuss anxieties or talk through problems. You might be surprised that your peers are struggling with the same issues.

  • Dewis Shallcross, Director of Student Development, GSAS ‘14

 

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Filed under Community Enrichment, Professional Development

Winter Woes…

snow

Rose Hill, Winter 2015

Oh winter; thou art a cold hearted Bee. The months of November through (let’s face it) March, are a rough, particularly if you’re from a state where snow is more a concept than a reality.

As a Floridian, the cold is my nemesis and New York is my battleground.

Now, before you Chicagoans and other Midwesterners get riled up, don’t worry—I know there “ain’t no winter like a Midwest winter.” But as a woman who didn’t even see snow until she was a ‘tween’, I reserve the right to complain about 20˚ days (and to be completely unproductive when stepping outside means facing freezing winds).

However, as we all know, life is cruel and apparently ‘cold’ isn’t a valid absence excuse—a fact which I think we should all reevaluate with our various HR reps. So, here are some productivity (read, leaving the house) tips for those unused to whipping cold winds freezing your features.

Students, you have the best of both words. On one hand, wearing flannel pajamas for the majority of the day can be a cozy reality, and on the other, you often have to move from one building to another multiple times through frozen wind tunnels (a.k.a. quads). Getting out of your warm bed or couch-nest to haul across town to class is the worst. So I recommend the following:

  1. Actually leave the house before dark. Making it to a 6:30 seminar in the freezing dark is about the least appealing thing in the world. Go early, sit in the (usually overwarm) library and do some work while it’s still light. Which brings me to…
  2. Layers. Layers. Layers. Cannot emphasize wearing layers enough. Guess what? That classroom or library is going to be about 80 degrees once the furnaces get up to speed and you are going to be a sweaty mess unless you have a t-shirt under your sweater.
  3. Buy a ceramic coffee cup. This sounds silly, but it’s actually the best thing I ever bought in December. The ceramic gets nice and toasty without burning your hands and it’s not metal so it won’t get too cold if you can’t manage to hold a cup with gloves on (cough*me*cough). Plus, almost every department/office in a school will have water dispensers that have a hot faucet—bring some tea bags or lemon with you so you’ll always have a warm drink.

Basically, I’d hibernate if it was biologically feasible; but since I (grudgingly) need to go outside to make the doughnuts, I guess that I’ll have to brave the weather.

Any tips from seasoned cold-professionals?

Dewis Shallcross, GSAS ‘14
Administrative Assistant and Events Coordinator
dshallcross@fordham.edu

 

Would you like to be a student contributor? See our upcoming topics schedule and then submit your proposal online!

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Welcome to the Blog!

As a current Fordham staff member and a GSAS alumna, I’m excited to introduce the newest element of our professional development project! For me, one of the toughest aspects of graduate school was going from a regimented, class driven undergraduate environment to a self-motivated, research-based graduate life. Your social and academic life changes drastically with the transition to ‘graduate student’—particularly if you’re moving to a new city with an unknown cohort—which is why having a resource like this blog can be a boon for student both incoming and returning.

Our blog, along with the amazing GSAS Futures initiative, will help students become aware of and get involved in professional development and social opportunities around the university.

Every month, blog entries will tackle a different aspect of student life or professional development, sometimes highlighting opportunities for involvement, sometimes just providing an outlet and open discussion of the stresses of graduate school. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is dedicated to providing opportunities and information that will make your graduate experience one to be remembered! 47832_116619995060421_6225723_n

Check in every week for new content and information on upcoming events!

Dewis Shallcross, GSAS ‘14
Administrative Assistant and Events Coordinator
dshallcross@fordham.edu

Would you like to be a student contributor? See our upcoming topics schedule and then submit your proposal online!

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Welcome from the Dean

Eva Badowska, PhD, GSAS Interim Dean

Eva Badowska, PhD, GSAS Interim Dean

Welcome to the Fordham Graduate School of Arts and Sciences blog. Whether you are a newly admitted student or an existing member of our graduate community, I hope that you find this to be an informative resource that will help you reach your goals.

Graduate school was an experience that I still look back on with fond nostalgia. My time as a graduate student shaped me personally and professionally—I hope that this blog and the resources it provides help to make your experience as memorable.

Eva Badowska, PhD
Interim Dean
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
gsasdean@fordham.edu

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Filed under Community Enrichment, Scholastic Enrichment