Hello! My name is Liza Zitelli, and I will be taking over the writing duties for the Grad.Life blog! I’m happy to be in a position to take over the fine work of Alexandra Loizzo, the first Grad.Life blogger, and Naima Coster, who took over the post after Alex graduated. I took the weekend to read through the Grad.Life archives; at times poignant, at times humorous, and always thought-provoking, it was a great read! My only sadness upon reading these posts during the weekend arose from the fact that I hadn’t been a follower of the blog up to this point.
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In fact, I didn’t even know the blog existed! To be fair, I arrived on the GSAS scene back in 2003, before (way before – almost a decade before!) the Grad.Life blog began. In fact, it was probably before most blogs began – when the blogosphere was enjoying the early stages of its big bang, just at the beginning of the era when blogs were becoming a real mainstream form of communication and source of information for institutions and programs. And over the course of the pre-blog years, I guess I got into such a routine of getting my information from Blackboard, from emails, and from word of mouth, that I never took real quality time to venture out of my information-comfort-zone to utilize, discover, or take note of some of the new updated methods of communication available within the GSAS. It makes sense (says Liza, rationalizing to herself,) that, as such a long-time student, I might have missed this boat.
Still, I was unnerved when I was offered the position of writing for the GSAS blog of which I never had heard tell, never mind had read. Having been a graduate student for so many years, in many incarnations, I want to think that I am a connected, long-term, entrenched member of the GSAS community. I began my Master’s in English here in 2003, and then have worked through several forms of fellowships and teaching associate positions, both full and part time for different stretches, slowly grinding out my up and coming dissertation. But somehow not getting the memo about Grad.Life over the last two or three years made me begin to think a lot about what it means, exactly, to be a part of the GSAS.
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Sure, we all can get caught up in the bubble of our own head, research, classes, department, teaching positions, and outside lives. But learning so late in the game that there was a blog dedicated to, and written by, GSAS students, left me feeling – I don’t know – left out, out of the loop. In the same way we need to read journals in our field, and to take advantage of professionalization tools offered by our city, university, and departments, we also need to be aware of the community resources around us. Graduate life is not just about teaching and researching. If it was, it wouldn’t really be a worthwhile pursuit. Learning about Grad.Life was a huge reminder to me that in our profession, we have to make it part of our duty to stay connected, and stay with the times.
Ok, so lesson learned, and writing will commence for the semester! Yours truly is humbled and discomfited by my utter lack of awareness – and also I’m afraid of karma, because now that I am going to be a contributing writer of the blog, I want to make sure Grad.Life is reaching all the students it is intended to reach, and more!! Over the next semester, I will be posting blogs that will attempt to reach out to the student body, hoping my 9 years here will be able to provide some great insights. Obviously, I will need to learn some things along the way, too! But that is the great thing about writing – it always leads to discovery.
Above all, I’m excited to be able to reach out to the Fordham GSAS community in this way after all these years of being a part of the community. Graduate school blogs, from what I sense, can be a refreshing and replenishing site for reflection, sharing, and regeneration for graduate students who want and need to know that they are not, by far, alone – that there is, in fact, a community around them – and that the community has a site in which to see, build, and shape itself.
Until next time! Yours, Liza Z.