Fordham GSAS: Grad. Life: January 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Reminders of Upcoming GSAS Events!

Hello All! Here are some events occurring around the GSAS in the upcoming days!

Wednesday, January 30:
What: Economics Round Table: "The Financial Cliff: The Economics of How We Got There, Where We Are, and Where We Are Going"
When: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Where: 12th-floor Lounge | Lowenstein Center | Lincoln Center Campus
Info: The panel discussion will feature some of the foremost economic leaders in New York. For a list of panelists and to RSVP, click here.

Wednesday, January 30:
What: Dept. of Theology Lecture, by Prof. David Gushee of Mercer University
When: Weds, January 30, 5:00 PM
Where: Tognino Hall, Duane Library, Rose Hill Campus
Info: The Department of Theology will sponsor a lecture by Prof. David Gushee of Mercer University (Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center on Theology and Public Life) related to his just-published book, The Sacredness of Human Life, with book signing afterwards. Prof. Gushee is a major voice in contemporary conversations about religion, politics and ethics on topics from the environment to nuclear proliferation, and abortion to torture.

Monday, February 4:
What: Medieval Studies Lecture Series, by Tia Kolbaba (Rutgers University), entitled "All Things are clear and open that are in the divine scriptures": Interpretative Ideals and Polemical Purposes in Byzantine Exegesis
When: Monday, 4  February 2013  |  5:15 p.m.
Where: Rose Hill Campus  |  McGinley Center Faculty Lounge
Info: Co-sponsored with Orthodox Christian Studies

Wednesday, February 6:
What: Workshop for Fordham Grad Students at the New York Public Library
When: Wed, Feb 6, 2:00-4:00PM.
Where: New York Public Library, 42nd St and 5th Ave.
Info: The New York Public Library has kindly agreed to offer a workshop to Fordham Graduate Students who wish to learn how to use the digital mapping tool, Map Warper. Space is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. The NYPL Map Warper is a tool for digitally aligning ("rectifying") historical maps from the NYPL's collections to match today's precise maps. This workshop is for anyone interested in learning a new digital tool, particularly for people using maps in their research. Sign up by clicking here. Follow the Fordham Graduate Student Digital Humanities on Facebook.

Thursday, Feb 7: 
What: Careers in Ethics, A Panel of Professionals and Ethics and Society Graduates
When: Thursday, February 7, 2013, 6:30PM
Where: Walsh Library, O'Hare Special Collections Room - Rose Hill Campus
Info: Interested in pursuing a career in ethics?  Join us for an exciting panel of outside professionals and Ethics and Society graduates engaged in or pursuing a variety of ethics-related careers. Reception with panelists to follow. Event is free and open to all!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Coffee v Tea

This is the first in a new series for the Grad.Life blog, the Versus Series, in which we compare and contrast two items and examine, perhaps loosely, the relationship of those items to graduate students, in a ambitious effort towards creating a reaching, nuanced, idiosyncratic, multi-faceted portrait and definition of graduate life -- or something like that.

    So, let's get to it: for you, is it coffee, or tea? One thing graduate students have in common everywhere is that they include some kind of hot beverage in their routines. This makes them not very different from everyone else in the nation, and perhaps the world, which is somewhat comforting. There is something about these easy to make, easy to buy, easy to drink-while-working beverages and grad school life that, like Beyonce's lips with the National Anthem, just sync up perfectly. But what makes a grad student prefer coffee to tea, or vice versa? What is your choice, and why? Let us know.
     Whichever one you prefer, here are some crazy facts about coffee and tea.

Coffee Fun Facts! 

  • Coffee was discovered in the 9th C by a goat farmer, who noticed his goats who had ingested the bean were acting crazy. Next time you see a goat acting crazy, you'll know why...
  • 100 cups of coffee contain the lethal dose of caffeine. Voltaire used to drink 50 per day!
  • New Yorkers drink 7 times as much coffee as people in other cities! Could this be because of the number of Starbucks on our streets?
  • In ancient Middle Eastern cultures, the only legal grounds for a woman to divorce her husband was if she could prove he did not provide enough coffee. If only it were so easy for Katie Holmes.... 
  • Coffee addiction as mother of invention: Scientists at the University of Cambridge wanted to be able to tell when their coffee was ready, so they invented the first webcam. Necessity, clearly! 

For some good links about the latest coffee news heard 'round the region and 'round the world, check out:
Coffee Prices Plunge
Tea Fun Facts!

  • Tea Sense/Cents: One pound of tea brews 200 cups -- making tea cost about ten cents a cup! 
  • Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world -- next to water.
  • 80% of tea in the US is served "iced." 
  • Around the world, 3 billion cups of tea are served per day.
  • The country that drinks the most tea per capita?---- Ireland!
  • Through the 18th century, solid blocks of tea were actually used as currency in Siberia!
  • The Boston Tea Party, in 1773, was one of the events that sparked the American Revolution. Believing that their right to "No taxation without representation" had been violated, colonists boarded ships and dumped tea into the Boston Harbor, destroying it. It was a protest on taxes by the British government and the East India Company, who had a monopoly on tea.

For the latest buzz on tea, check out these links:
Tea Prices To Increase?
Teaspoons and Petals, a beautiful blog devoted to tea!
Press Tea

Monday, January 21, 2013

Snow, or No?
   With some "snow showers" predicted vaguely and half-heartedly for this evening in the GSAS area, I've heard comments that run the gamut from "Nooooooo, please, no!" to "Snow, pleaaaaaase, snow!" What gives?? As we GSAS students scan the map, seeing our fellow graduate students in Boston, Syracuse, Buffalo, and Michigan about to receive another unambiguous snowy incident, while our region hovers on the "less than 1 inch" borderline, a distinctive split between disappointment and relief rushes into our minds. For some, a dilemma seems to pull on our heartstrings. I've heard my fellow students say they'd like at least one more great big ole snowstorm before the winter's over. I've heard others say they'd like to get through the rest of the winter "unscathed," without any more snow or winter storms, sliding smoothly into a spring with warmer, non-wintry rain.
    Why do some of us pray for no snow, while others dream of waking up to a winter wonderland, and some are caught in between? A person's past experience with snow seems to have some bearing in which camp they fall into, although the patterns are not consistent. Some of us GSAS students were accustomed to the four-season climate like we have in the Bronx, and so being accustomed to it makes us yearn for it -- ie, "It doesn't feel like winter without snow." Yet, the opposite sentiment is heard 'round the student population as well -- ones who are exhausted by the inconveniences that snowstorms evoke.

   For some, it is a novel experience. Those GSAS students who grew up in areas without snow, in moderate climates without four distinct seasons as we have in the Northeast, may yearn for it because it is new and exciting. And, some of this group, as I have heard, want to stave it off for the very same reason -- they feel unequipped for snow, and just want it to be calm and mild.
     Nostalgia plays a role for those who have stored up good memories of snowy days. Memories of bundling up, sledding, catching snow-flakes on the tongue, throwing snowballs, building snow-men, and then coming home, unwrapping yourself, and drinking something warm, rise to the surface when it snows, flooding us with emotional warmth and comfort.

   For some, it is less nostalgic and more sensory. I've talked to some individuals who like and enjoy the physical sensations of a snowy day -- the whipping wind, the soft landing of the flakes, the crunch of a boot, the sting of the cold, the smell of a blanketed street, the quiet of the snowy night or morning.

   And of course, there is always the chance for a cancelled class or two.  But for grad students, might the inconveniences outweigh all this fun stuff? What about shoveling cars and drives and sidewalks? How about the inconveniences of a closed library or an icy city block as you hustle to campus?

    It seems, in the end, that graduate students of the GSAS wouldn't mind one more snow storm -- in which camp do you fall? Are you feeling "no please no," or "snow, please, snow!"? Write in to let us "sknow."
Either way, stay safe and warm tonight!! -- Liza Z.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hockey's back, and what that means for Grad Students

So, #hockeyisback! Starting January 19th, the NHL will begin a 48 game season, with a nasty 5 month long players v. owners lockout now over.
The question on everyone's mind now is:
What does this mean for GSAS students?
The real answer is, maybe nothing. 

But, as a hockey fan, I'd like to make a few possible suggestions for topics of discussion or study, for yourself or for your undergraduate students. 

1. Marketing, Finance, and Business: Effects of the Lock-Out on NHL Financial Projections, 2013-2023. 
2. Cold War Studies: The Effect of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" and Relations between the United States and the USSR.
3. Cultural and Literary Studies: The Case for the Meaning and Symbolism of Hockey in North America. (See video below, which includes lines such as, "The routines and rituals that surround the rink are a language of dedication in need of no translation," and "Blood points a path directly to the heart.")

4. Urban Studies: Exploring the effects of a New York City Hockey Team on its Population, Growth, and Identity
Enjoy your "hockey studies!" 
Until next time, Liza

Thursday, January 17, 2013

MLK Day -- A Day to Give Back

Hello All!
As you probably all know, Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day -- day off for some of us!!! Yay! But I also wanted to use this space to remind everyone that Saturday, January 19th, has been designated as a National Day of Service in honor of Dr. King. It is part of President Obama's United We Serve initiative. Throughout the entire weekend, there are many opportunities to reach out to the community and give back a little!

Here are some links that you might want to check out!

To reach the United We Serve website, click here. On this site, you will find general information about the national initiative to increase community service projects and share your story.

For info on MLK day, click here. At this site, you can enter in your zipcode and find a project in your area. The site also has toolkits and information about promotion and media that can help you start your own project!

View the video below to find out more!

Here are some opportunities to serve in the Fordham area:

Food Distribution at Bethel Missionary Outreach

MLK Weekend Food Pantry Stock & Delivery

Garden Clean Up

Help City Harvest Make sure our supermarkets are safe in the Bronx!

I hope this information is helpful, and that get inspired to serve! Share your story with us here at Grad.Life!
Happy giving! -- Liza

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Road "Less" Travelled: Career Outcomes for Grads

Good morning and happy Friday!
    The Spring semester commences next week, so please go ahead and ENJOY THE WEEKEND! Should be a mild one in NYC -- fitting for the beginning of the "spring" semester. I hope Winter Storm Gandolf doesn't ruin the weekend for our Grad.Life friends and readers across the nation. Here's something to chew on for the day, and for the weekend, as we prepare for Spring 2013!
     This morning, I read an interesting commentary in the January 11th issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. In her essay "Advisors Should Ban the Word 'Placement,'" writer Angela Brintlinger calls for a re-tooling of the way we in the graduate school world think about, and label, "job placements" and careers for degree-holders. Brintlinger calls for a change in semantics and conceptualization of what happens after someone earns a graduate education -- she wants us to think of "outcomes" rather than "placements."

If we talk about outcomes instead of placements, and if we are open, honest, and transparent about what the job market looks like, then our students can take pride in their own talents and accomplishments[...] If we talk about outcomes instead of placements, we can work toward enhancing the value of the Ph.D. outside of academe, including educating ourselves about what "alternative career" preparation might mean.

Brintlinger puts "alternative career" in quotation marks to indicate that the "alternative" path actually has become the path for many, if not most, of existing graduate students. Yes, readers -- I know many of us dreamed of a job as a professor, as an academic, and that it may seem as if someone who is in graduate school for a Phd but does not want to, plan to, or end up on the academic job market is an atypical graduate student -- not following the "traditional" path. But the reality behind op-eds like Brintliner's, and others in The Chronicle over the last few years (especially in the great column, The Graduate Adviser, by Lennard Cassuto) is that the traditional pathway for academics is long-gone. The market has changed, and is changing. To borrow from President Clinton, it comes down to simple arithmetic. Brintlinger writes:
One colleague pointed out that if we all "reproduce" ourselves over the course of 30-plus-year careers, there will never be enough faculty positions for all our academic "children." My own experience as an adviser conforms to both national and Ohio State patterns in the humanities: Half of all students who start do not finish, and half of those who finish do not get positions in academe.
So, we have to face the reality that graduate school degrees do not -- can not -- mean what they used to mean. Here is the heart of Brintlinger's article, in my view: After discussing a student who received her Phd and then began working at an animation production company, she asks:
Did she need her Ph.D. to obtain her current position? Probably not. Was it worth her while to complete her degree? Absolutely.
The question is, rephrased, is a Phd in the arts and sciences inherently worth it, even if you don't "need" it for the career you end up with? Should we feel like failures, or somehow that we didn't follow through or finish, or that we "gave up" on academia, if we earn a Phd but then do not work as an academic? If you don't end up with a job in academia, did you mess up somewhere along the line?

     Or, should we change the way we view our degrees, thinking about them as preparation for more than just academic work? Of course, when we earn a Phd, we have loads of skills and information and knowledge that we didn't have before. We could be an asset to any company, business, or organization. We could be an asset to our country, and to the world. Education, even if not required for a specific position, has to be inherently good, right?
     What do you think? Let me know -- we love comments and discussion!
      Happy almost weekend -- whatever that means for a graduate student! :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Least Stressful Jobs of 2013... WHAT the....????

     GSAS students, and academics across the nation, are in a social media uproar over the Forbes list of "Least Stressful Jobs," of 2013, as "university professor" came in at number 1, above seamstress, medical records tech, jeweler, lab tech, audiologist, dietician, hair stylist, librarian and drill press operator. The list actually comes from a site called Career Cast, which compiles data about all different jobs and lists a "stress score" for each of them.

    My thoughts:
    First of all, what is a drill press operator? (had to look this up. seems cool!)
NYPL digital files: drill press operator

Drill Press Operator, from Career Cast Website
    Second - and here is where my piece will get controversial! -- how is librarian number 9? How isn't that number 1? That job seems pretty low-key to me. In my experience, librarians are amazing, awesome, helpful people, but they do not seem stressed out. The job requires extensive knowledge, but it doesn't seem like the actual job itself causes stress on the body or mind. Am I wrong? Maybe I am -- but it seems like a job I wish I had. Also, you can't take that job home with you -- it is not as if you can do the job from home, etc. You basically are at the library or you aren't. And you are in a place where people literally are not allowed to make noise -- seems anti-stress to me. Unless you have to yell at people a lot to shut up. 

   I mean, I am sure if you are the person in charge, running a library, it is pretty stressful, but I'm not even sure librarians do that kind of thing -- make budgets; hire, train, manage, and terminate staff? Anyway, cue the outraged!
  Thirdly, I feel bad for jewelers. Most have to run their own business, and, in this economy, when I'm sure not too many are buying lots of jewels and baubles (in fact, many are SELLING them), that seems pretty dang stressful to me.

   Dietician... yeah, that seems cool. I'd move that up on the list, maybe. I wish I could tell people to eat lettuce wraps and yogurt instead of pizza and ice cream. Seems like a great idea for a career, actually. I'd get really stressed though if I couldn't eat pizza. I'd be like that character in Legally Blonde who sells exercise DVDs and makes money promoting exercise as a lifestyle but in secret gets liposuction.

   University professor -- honestly, maybe I am biased, because this is what I aspire to be, and it is a hat that I wear now even while I am finishing my degree,  but I just don't get this one. I see my professors inundated with work. I am sending three of them a 60 page chapter in a few days, and want feedback on it by next month -- imagine how many requests like that these people get per month? per week, even? "Write me a recommendation," "Meet with me before class," "Give me an extension," "Change my grade," blah blah blah, the requests seem endless. I, as a student, have "asked" for some of these things, by the way; and, as a professor, I have been asked ALL of these things. It is strange to be on both ends of the stick -- I realize what the expectation is on the student's end, and also realize the pressure on the faculty's end.
Fordham College at Rose Hill

    I guess the most striking paradox of the whole thing is that no one wants her job listed on the "least stressful jobs" list -- you feel indignant, claiming that it is INDEED very stressful, and don't you dare to presume to say otherwise, and if you walked a mile in my shoes, and how can I complain to everyone about my day if everyone thinks I have the number 1 least stressful job in America? -- and yet no one wants her job to actually BE stressful. When I mentioned this paradox to my husband, he chuckled and commented insightfully that in Europe, this would not be the case. "Least stressful" would not be considered a knock on your life's work. In America, it seems it is.

Thoughts? -- L

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Book Product: Playaway Audio Books

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to a happy, healthy, productive, 2013! 
Here's the first blog post of the new year! 

Okay, so because I have sort of a full plate (although, knock on wood, I'm sure it could be worse), and because I drive a lot, I have, for the past five years or so, gotten into the routine of listening to books in my car. I love to read, so much, and mostly I love to read fiction, but writing and researching for my early American literature dissertation takes away virtually all of my "sit down and read" time. So my solution became to listen to books in my car. I listen to everything I can get my hands on from the local public library system: new fiction, old fiction, stuff I'd always meant to get around to reading, stuff I'd never heard of but gave a whirl. Listening to stories has become one of my favorite things to do.
It's kind of perfect for a busy graduate student. And, something new is happening in the world of audio books that will make it even better. Although audio books are still made in the CD format, digital mp3 audio books have also been doing well in the market -- ones you can download onto your Ipod, etc. But in this format, they are not really available to "borrow" from libraries, leaving us poor graduate students one more thing to budget for, or pass up. But recently, I spotted audio books being lent out in libraries in a new format: on Playaway Audio devices!
Here's what they look like on the shelves:

And here's what they look like inside the case:

     What you get when you check one out is an audio book, loaded onto a little hand-held device (sort of looks like a trapezoidal Ipod, with the book-cover design on the front), into which you can plug headphones, or auxiliary cables in your car, or speaker cables. It also comes with a Triple A battery.          
      They are great for me because I can plug them into my car, and listen while I drive, and then switch to headphones when I park my car and walk the five or six blocks to my apartment, or across campus, or wherever... it's even great for working out! I'm so motivated to get on the treadmill when I know I can find out what happens next in my book!!!
      Let me know if you see them around, and if you like them as much as I do!

Happy Listening! -- Liza