This is my second year at Fordham...Act II of my MA (in English, in case you were wondering). I guess that makes me kind of like a middle child. I'm not a n00b anymore, and I can help new MA students who need advice (which actually makes me feel really good, like I'm useful). But I'm not a PhD student either, not focusing on a specific period, not thinking about my dissertation or my orals or tenure-track positions.
Well, not more than theoretically anyway.
But I still found this open letter to new graduate students really interesting. Some of it I hadn't thought of before, some of it I had thought of and dismissed, and some of it I experienced all too vividly all too recently. I've put my favorite examples from the letter below.
E.g. #1: "Expect to feel lost and out of place for a bit." One of my undergrad profs warned me that starting graduate school "is like hazing." I thought she was exaggerating. Now I think this article is putting it lightly. (Imposter Syndrome is real, people!)
E.g. #2: "Build an online profile." Doesn't this happen naturally for most people nowadays? Of course, you should always Google yourself just in case, and sometimes it's even beneficial to be proactive and create your own website, but I think building a positive online profile grows naturally from most people's constant use of the internet, and from most graduate students's constant desire to achieve. And will people really think badly of you if they Google your name and nothing comes up?
E.g. #3: "Build a personal research library." O.k., so I'll admit it right off the bat: I'm one of those weirdos whose main goal in life is to accumulate a library the size of the one in Disney's Beauty and the Beast (and then somehow find a nice place to put it all). But I'd never thought of creating a research library, with little notes and summaries and labels and...wow. This is a type-A personality's dream. I feel like I'm behind now...
E.g. #4 (from the section with advice tweets from readers):
"@clioweb: Do everything you can to do work you enjoy, and enjoy the work you do. Otherwise, it truly is not worth it." I think this is the best of the contributed advice. It's so much easier to do anything when you're happy.
What do you guys think is most valuable from the letter? Is there anything you wish you had known before you started/are glad you know now before your first semester starts? Is there anything you totally disagree with? Anything you'd add? A lot of commentors on this article have said that they think the list is really only valuable for PhD students. Do you think that's true?
I'd love to hear what you all think!