|A trip I made to explore campus prior to orientation and classes.|
I am excited though to have an established blog from which to share the experience. This past Tuesday was graduate orientation at Kent State. It was much bigger than I thought it would be, but it included masters and doctorate students from every department/major of the University. The afternoon was spent selecting sessions we thought would be most beneficial. I attended two that were extremely informative, although they also made me a little more frenzied.
|Two down, one to go. Can't wait for|
the day when the Kent sticker
reads Alumni under it as well.
The second part was a little scary, but also part of my dream: publication. They are typically talking publication of your papers to journals and such, but there was also talk of books. For example, one of the speakers has a professor who is writing a book and she asked if she can write a chapter. He said yes. Her name will be in the credits of that book and she can put it on her CV (No, not a resume. What is a CV? Click here). PhD students are expected to have published three or four times by graduation, a process that will take papers way beyond the time and grade restrictions of a class semester.
This session led me to the discovery that the field of academia depends upon networking. The more people you meet, the better. The more exposure you have among peers, the better. The more you can do, the better. And that's why they tell students to attend conferences at every turn. We were even told to get student business cards especially for the purpose of meeting people, making connections, and being remembered. Weird to hear at first, but the more they spoke, the more I came to understand why. The world of higher education is vast. In my little piece of nowhere Ohio alone, I had the choice of three major colleges I could commute to for the PhD program I wanted. If you're expected to publish material and work together on topics, then you have to be in the know within your field. And one of the best ways to do that is through who you know. You never know who will be doing what in the future and if they remember a discussion with you on that topic and have a way to contact you, well you could end up with a project heading toward publication, among other opportunities.
The second session gave access to a panel of current Kent professors. We asked them anything we had on our minds and they all answered honestly. There were a lot of good questions asked and I was particularly excited about their confidence in us. Two questions asked that pertain to me in particular concerned working students; those who have worked between degrees, as opposed to going straight through, and those who are working full time jobs alongside the degree process. Both of these apply to me and the professors' responses were encouraging. They said work experience between degrees benefits students greatly because it prepares their minds to look at the workload and their image in a different way than someone who has always been a student. Seeing all of the work and experience needed beyond the classroom I asked if they had any more or different advice for people working at the same time...mentioning that I also commute an hour and have three kids. They said to plan ahead for the things you know you have to do and those that are most important to attend and accomplish and say no to the rest. And one professor of English added in that working students are among the best he ever has! So, I feel better about it now.
Well, that was just part of my orientation day. My classes start Monday and I am on edge to get this started after a year of discussion about it. Wish me luck!