Today we have the pleasure to feature a guest post from Katy Meyers, a graduate student in the department of anthropology at Michigan State University. She is the editor of GradHacker.org, and writes regularly on mortuary archaeology news at her site Bones Don’t Lie You can follow her on Twitter @bonesdonotlie
Let’s not sugar coat this, grad school is tough. Grad students are expected to not only ace their full course load, but also teach classes, apply for funding, attend departmental events, present at conferences, publish their writing, and continue their own research. At the same time, grad students want to help each other and their undergrads by donating their time to blogging about their disciplines. With our time divided between a dozen academic interests, we also have to balance this 80-hour work week with our personal lives. If you are thinking about becoming a grad student, here’s some advice for your first year: find a great support system.
There are thousands of graduate students who are also dealing with the challenges of post-secondary education. It was with this in mind that the idea of GradHacker began. It started out as an idea among the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative fellows at Michigan State University to create a bootcamp to educate our peers on how to use social media to help out in an academic career. The question was, how do we continue to connect grad students together to help each other solve some of the unique challenges we face? The answer was GradHacker.
GradHacker is a collaborative blog for grad students, by grad students. Our contributing authors are all grad students from a variety of universities and disciplines. We are always accepting new authors or guest posts from any grad student in any university. We are dedicated to creating a community of grads who can benefit from hearing the stories, tips, and challenges of others who are experiencing the same things. The topics that we will tackle are just as varied as the individuals who are writing them, and while the original idea for this spawned from the goal of teaching other grads about technology to ease their lives and help with networking, we want to expand the idea of ‘hacking’ to all aspects of grad life. Posts discuss topics such as raising kids in grad school, how to propose a digital dissertation to your committee, how to volunteer in grad school, the basics of twitter, strategies for being a teaching assistant, and even healthy recipes.
So how can this help you? I’m not going to lie and say that I have great advice for astrophysicists, but we do have great advice for grad students and undergrads looking to go into grad school. How can you help us? Become a writer! We are always looking for new grad students to share their challenges and successes.