Wednesday, July 07, 2004

To be honest, I never used Career Services at my college either. They only seemed to be very useful if you were looking for a job on Wall Street or something like that (we had a lot of those business/econ people).

I had the idea, when I was applying to graduate schools, that being a graduate student would be just like working with my undergraduate advisor. He said I was already doing graduate level work, so I knew I could handle the research. He treated me as an equal and was always looking out for me and figuring out what would be best -- what meetings to send me to, finding opportunities to go observing with colleagues of his, etc. I had no idea that most advisors are a lot more selfish than he was, and a lot less socially adept.

I was a little horrified when I started graduate school and was told I had to teach two lab sections per week, prepare a syllabus and so on. It's like they thought we would magically know how to be effective in the classroom. Even the college I'll start teaching at next month has done better than that, despite the fact that they only hire people with previous teaching experience. They've sent some sample syllabi and guidelines and things to give us an idea of what we need to prepare for classes. It's not much, but it's more than I got from my graduate department when none of us had ANY teaching experience!

But you know, I would do this all over again, too. I don't even know if I would make any slightly different choices. Would I have really chosen a different advisor? I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had gone to the Physics Education program instead -- something I was really interested in, but at the time I decided I wanted to take my chance and do astronomy research. You know the crowd I would have been with -- would I have become a clone?

In any case, I'm glad you're not the alternative you! I cannot see you as a go-go astronomer. Can you see me as a PER clone? Yikes.

I think you hit the nail on the head that in many ways it's not how good you are at doing research or solving equations or things like that that gets you through graduate school. But can you take the weird stresses and pressures? Can you do some things that make you miserable? Will you have enough (emotional) support?

Thanks hoagieboy.

- makigirl

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