welcoming new grad students
i'm welcoming a new cohort of grad students tomorrow morning, bringing to mind hazy memories of my first year of graduate study.
i didn't start grad school until january, so that i could find a responsible stopping point with my employer. i had been working full-time in social services for a few years, so i was dealing with some reentry shock that first semester. over the summer, i determined to give it a better effort. before my second semester, i therefore sat down and wrote the memo at left: motivational bull.*
i came across it in a file with some other old paper from grad school. i've shared the memo with at least two undergrads, as they left the minnversity for graduate school. re-reading today, i wanted to edit a few cringe-inducing passages (and you can probably see that i did white out a few words before passing it along to my undergrads), but kept it as written.
here were my nine "be..." aspirations for the year: be cool, good to your partner, positive, sociable, healthy, strong, creative, righteous, and goal-oriented. as you can see, i didn't mention grades or publications or prelim exams, but i was pretty concerned about the kind of person that i was becoming. i think that just putting these simple aspirations on paper told me who i was and where i'd like to be going. i'm not sure whether such an exercise would be useful to others, but it might be worth a try -- even if, like me, you are skeptical of such motivational bull.
*here's a word version that might be a little easier to read.