Dear Faculty, Please Vary Your Assessments

Early in my college education, I thought grading malpractice had to do with faculty giving preferential treatment and/or better grades to certain students. As I progressed through college and graduate school, I came to understand that unethical grading goes far beyond simple favoritism; it involves pedagogy, faculty engagement, and knowledge of the student experience. AsContinue reading “Dear Faculty, Please Vary Your Assessments”

Buying Property as a Grad Student

Put on your rose-colored glasses and pretend you’re privileged for a minute: you have relatively little or no student debt. You have some savings. And you’ve just been accepted to graduate school. Life is good. Now, where will you live for the next 5-8 years of your life? In my case, I bought a condo.Continue reading “Buying Property as a Grad Student”

How to Remember What You Read

Not too long ago, after one of my lectures on Islamic History, a student observed that I never use notes to teach and asked, “How do you remember it all?” It’s a perennial question for graduate students: how can you possibly remember everything you read? In that moment, my response was, “I just do.” Well,Continue reading “How to Remember What You Read”

Finish Your Thesis (yes, that’s an order!)

If you’re struggling to envision what the end product of your MA thesis should look like, read on! Most MA programs have a dedicated timeline for when drafts of your thesis are due and outlines for what to include in your thesis. If your program hasn’t provided that information, this brief framework from my timeContinue reading “Finish Your Thesis (yes, that’s an order!)”

Aren’t I Your Student?

Are you a student who has ever felt like or been told that you’re not that professor’s student? Join the club. Each type of university has its own set of problems regarding access to faculty or faculty engagement with students. Large, commuter schools just have too many students, so professors have a hard time connectingContinue reading “Aren’t I Your Student?”

How Do I Stop Procrastinating?

I put off writing this piece long enough… One of the most frustrating aspects of being a student is seeing others be productive when you can barely get started on any given task. What a way to feed your imposter syndrome! That was certainly the case for me as a grad student. Yes, yes, weContinue reading “How Do I Stop Procrastinating?”

Signs of Abuse in Academia

Note: This is a post about my personal experiences and the way my circumstances dictated how I approached abusive academic situations in graduate school. I don’t have advice about how best to deal with academic abuse because each instance is unique and because our circumstances are probably not the same. But know that you’re notContinue reading “Signs of Abuse in Academia”

What is Imposter Syndrome?

“I don’t belong here.” “I shouldn’t have gotten an A in that class.”“They made a mistake accepting me to this program.” “I didn’t deserve a good grade on that project.”“Everyone else is so much smarter than me.”“I’m a fraud.”“I don’t know what I’m doing.”“I’m not smart enough to finish my degree.”“I suck at research.”“I don’tContinue reading “What is Imposter Syndrome?”

How to Pick an Academic Advisor

One of the most common misconceptions I see among students searching for academic advisors– especially in the Humanities and Social Sciences – is that they need to find someone who works on the same “topic” (geography, time, or whatever else might be the litmus) as them. The “topic” of a project is often defined byContinue reading “How to Pick an Academic Advisor”

How I Finished a Master’s Program without More Student Debt

*Disclaimer* Not everyone will be able to follow the same model, but don’t let that stop you from trying to find other ways around taking on more student debt! The Program As an undergraduate I applied to about a dozen grad programs, and I ultimately settled on the Master’s program at the University of Chicago’sContinue reading “How I Finished a Master’s Program without More Student Debt”