Sunday, July 30, 2006

Back to Academia

When I started this blog, I figured that I would mostly use it to talk about my graduate school experience. Luckily, I have recently gotten much more interested in fun topics like sci-fi, gaming, and fabulous new internet developments, but just for a moment I need to return to whining about grad school.

Often graduate school feels isolating in that there are few other students in my program that have similar research interests. Also, our grad program really has no home department. As a result students from our program mix with students from other programs in classes. I often have more in common with students from a couple of other departments than I do with my own cohort.

As a result, students end up search the entire catalog for appropriate courses and even then some of the most interesting courses are usually unlisted special offerings. So word of mouth is important in deciding what courses to take. The department I TA for usually only offers one or two grad level classes each year and they rotate, so if you miss a class you might not get a chance to take it again.

Unfortunately, I seem to be on the bad side of the department chair. (After talking to several other students I'm not sure she has a good side right now.) So I'm faced with a really uncertain future as a TA in the department. I could search for positions in other departments but I really love teaching those classes and I like TAing for the same classes again and again because I can improve the class. I'm not sure whether or not I should attempt to kiss butt or just avoid as much as possible dealing with the chair.

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