Category Archives: Advice

A Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures, III: Making the Most of the Visit as a Student (especially a new one!)

This post is part of the “Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures” series, a collaborative endeavor by NGSC bloggers Deven Parker, Grace Rexroth, and Conny Fasshauer, all Romanticist graduate students at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drawing on our collective experiences organizing guest lectures at our university, our aim for this series is to offer advice and tips for NGSC readers hosting visitors at their institutions or attending one of these events.

“New” is relative—we’ve all been students for a long time, in some form or another. But when you’re a graduate student who hasn’t yet taken their exams, or you don’t have as firm a handle on your dissertation project as you’d like, it can be easy to make excuses for yourself that allow you to avoid interacting with visiting scholars. Here are some ways to combat those insecurities. (A note: I’m using CU Boulder’s recent set up for Michael Gamer’s visit—a seminar, a talk, and a few social events. Your university may have different opportunities, so substitute those in wherever appropriate.)  Continue reading A Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures, III: Making the Most of the Visit as a Student (especially a new one!)

A Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures, II: Networking or “Relationship-Building” on the Road. Literally.

This post is part of the “Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures” series, a collaborative endeavor by NGSC bloggers Deven Parker, Grace Rexroth, and Conny Fasshauer, all Romanticist graduate students at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drawing on our collective experiences organizing guest lectures at our university, our aim for this series is to offer advice and tips for NGSC readers hosting visitors at their institutions or attending one of these events.

“Networking” is a word I dread more than laundry day.

Because I wandered through the corporate world for several years before finally deciding to go to grad school, the term “networking” conjures up myriad awkward experiences – themed cocktail parties, company logos, uncomfortable seminars where strangers assess the grip of your handshake…it’s not my idea of a fun Friday night.

…and yet…

With English department sizes shrinking, enrollment numbers dropping, and an ever diminishing job market (thanks NY Times op-ed), networking is arguably a skill we need now more than ever. So, in addition to preparing for comps and formulating a prospectus, “networking” has joined the inner sanctum of my PhD goal list. Practically speaking, this means that, in addition to attending conferences (those hallowed networking meccas), I actively seek opportunities for building relationships in the field. “But how does one go about ‘networking’ outside of a conference?” you may ask. The glib answer: become a chauffeur.

Continue reading A Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures, II: Networking or “Relationship-Building” on the Road. Literally.

A Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures, I: The Planning Process

This post is part of the “Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures” series, a collaborative endeavor by NGSC bloggers Deven Parker, Grace Rexroth, and Conny Fasshauer, all Romanticist graduate students at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drawing on our collective experiences organizing guest lectures at our university, our aim for this series to offer advice and tips for NGSC readers hosting visitors at their institutions or attending one of these events. See Grace’s post on transportation as a networking opportunity, and Conny’s post on making the most of the guest’s visit. 

Hosting visiting scholars for talks or seminars at your institution can be a wonderful thing. As many NGSC bloggers have recently discussed – like Jacob Leveton in his post about the importance of community building – forming scholarly networks beyond your university not only leads to new friendships but also to opportunities to receive support and guidance in your scholarly endeavors beyond your usual advisors. If you’re a regular reader or contributor to the NGSC blog, I’m sure I don’t need to further extol the benefits of extra-institutional support networks and friendships. That being said, as my contribution to this collaborative series, I’ll discuss the concrete logistics of hosting guests for talks and workshops. Continue reading A Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures, I: The Planning Process

Behind the Scenes: Editing “Studies in Romanticism”

Back in June, I posted some rambling reflections about my current position as Editorial Assistant with Studies in Romanticism. Over the summer, I had the pleasure of communicating with SiR’s current Editor, Charles Rzepka, about his own experiences and expectations with publishing the journal. I asked him to provide N-GSC Blog readers with some insights into the journal’s submission process, editorial decisions, and the dreaded reader evaluations. Here, I offer you some highlights from our conversation:

Continue reading Behind the Scenes: Editing “Studies in Romanticism”

Confessions of a Crazed Ph.D. Student, or, A Very Honest Account of Exams Preparation

I am currently wading neck deep in the quagmire that is comprehensive exam preparation. Countless fellow students warned me ahead of time that this would be the most challenging aspect of my pursuit for a doctoral degree. While that remains to be seen, I can admit that the last few months have been exhausting to say the least. Below, I will narrate some of the realities I have thus far experienced, both good and bad, with as much honesty as possible. Whether you can relate, commiserate, or completely disagree with me, I hope that my transparency will help prepare others for their own exams.

You will have an “oh, sh*t” moment.

There will come a point where you think you have a handle on your list, that you are on top of your reading and this whole thing will be a piece of cake. It’s not. Continue reading Confessions of a Crazed Ph.D. Student, or, A Very Honest Account of Exams Preparation

Get It Together, Leveton!: A Romanticist’s Resolutions for the (Academic) New Year

For me, getting to candidacy this year was challenging. Of course, in the end, all went well. I found reading for my qualifying exams rewarding, and having the dissertation prospectus approved was a joy beyond measure. Nevertheless, allowing myself a moment of honesty and vulnerability in this forum, despite the year’s successes I’m left with the feeling I broke with the strategies for success devised in part through blogging with the NGSC, and which were successfully implemented my first and second years. This year, I found myself reading and writing into deadlines–as opposed to allowing thought to open up and evolve over time. Accordingly, and inspired by Deven Parker’s similar post, I thought that composing a piece in the wake of the conclusion of Spring Quarter regarding resolutions for the upcoming academic year starting July 1 would be a positive step towards restoring a sense of balance in how I approach my work. My hope is that it will be helpful to caucus members who, like me, can craft solid work strategies, but may struggle from time to time to sustain the good academic habits carefully cultivated.

1. Goal Setting Continue reading Get It Together, Leveton!: A Romanticist’s Resolutions for the (Academic) New Year

Studies in Romanticism: An Assistant’s Perspective

This post discusses some of my experiences as an Editorial Assistant for Studies in Romanticism since 2012. These are, of course, my own experiences in journal publishing, and all journals probably work differently, having their assistants focus on different tasks. Below, I offer some reflections about the job and my copyediting projects. In my next posting, I’ll offer a follow-up conversation with SiR editors, including some advice on the publishing process and insights for grad students—so stay tuned! Continue reading Studies in Romanticism: An Assistant’s Perspective

Join the Red Pen Society: an argument for copy editing

Editing is the bane of my existence. It’s monotonous. It’s time consuming. It’s well, hard. Choosing what words and sentences to amend or even eliminate often feels like butchering your own children. But what happens when you are entrusted with someone else’s baby? Acting in an official editing position in any capacity, be it for a manuscript, article, or publication of any kind, is an honor and a privilege—albeit a terrifying one.

Maybe you are one of the lucky ones, and taking out a red pen or sitting with a large cup of coffee at your computer with thousands of words waiting for the guillotine of your keystroke is an exciting task, not a daunting one. Bless you. Despite my undergraduate degree in journalism and years spent as a school newspaper editor, I still struggle with copy editing. But I am trying to change. Continue reading Join the Red Pen Society: an argument for copy editing

Interview: Dr. Patricia Fara

The Romantic Period’s scientific achievements affected all aspects of writing and poetry, especially as the public witnessed new discoveries. Captain James Cook’s circumnavigation of the globe influencing Coleridge’s writing of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and William Bligh’s mutiny on the Bounty influencing Byron’s “The Island” are two examples of this fascination. Joseph Banks, an English naturalist, botanist, and patron of the natural sciences participated in Captain Cook’s voyage and has remained an important figure in Romantic science scholarship as well as the history of science.

Dr. Patricia Fara is one of the scholars who has written about Banks and Romantic science. Famous for publishing work beloved by both academia and the wider public, Fara urges scholars to resist limiting themselves with disciplinary boundaries, categorizations, and stiff formalities. Filled with fascinating historical context and beautiful prose, reading Fara’s work is both intellectually stimulating and fun. Continue reading Interview: Dr. Patricia Fara

Proposing a Special Session for MLA

Last week, I submitted a panel proposal for the next MLA convention in January 2016. (alternative title for this post: What was I thinking?!?)

I was motivated, in part, by an important realization about my own position on the academic career ladder:

There comes a time in every young scholar’s life when she must realize that she is no longer part of the junior graduate cohort. Suddenly there are an uncountable number of faces that you don’t recognize around the department, and conversations being held about seminars you didn’t even know were being offered. This signals only one thing: you’re now horrifyingly closer in position to that new assistant professor who just got hired than you are to the first-year doctoral students. You are more scholar than student, more faculty than freshman. (When did this happen, exactly?!)

Continue reading Proposing a Special Session for MLA