I am a first generation college student, meaning I am the first person in my family to go to college—let alone get an advanced degree. While this is something to be extremely proud of, it comes with its challenges. I had no idea what to expect during my undergraduate experience, and even less (if that’s possible) of an idea of what graduate school would be like. But I think the things I wish I could have known apply to anyone who enters academia for the first time. You will be nervous. You will take a misstep from time to time, but you will overcome as long as you stay focused. With that being said, here are my top 5 tips I wish I could have known as a first year graduate student:
I’m Craig Rood, an Assistant Professor of Rhetorical Studies at Iowa State. Fall 2016 marks the start of my second year here. The goal of this blog, as I understand it, is to provide insight about some of the available career options for graduates of Iowa State’s PhD program in Rhetoric and Professional Communication. Bremen asked me to describe my transition from graduate school (I finished at Penn State in 2015) to a tenure-track faculty position at a research-intensive school. Academic jobs vary, of course, and people’s experiences in the exact same job at the same school vary. So seek out many perspectives. Here’s my take.
Tom Lindsley graduated from the RPC program at Iowa State University in 2015. He is now a Senior User Experience Designer at Workiva in Ames, Iowa. When he’s not busy easing users’ pain, he likes to stay busy with projects such as hosting AmesFindsFilms, an annual YouTube film fest in downtown Ames, Iowa.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Choosing Between Academic and Non-Academic Careers
Making the leap from the ivory tower into the non-academic workplace is an intimidating proposition for many graduate students, especially for those who may never have known adult life outside higher ed. The humanities culture is built around the expectation that we will spend the rest of our working lives making a career at the front of a classroom and in the pages of academic journals. Classmates expect this of us. Advisers expect this of us. Professors expect this of us.
Dr. Kristin Arola Skyped with Phorum to talk about her research interests (multimodal composition, design, rhetoric, and feminism) and how her upbringing near an Indian reservation drives her later research with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, where “crafting objects involved considering heritage and harmony with the environment as a important aspects of making meaning using different materials and modes.” Dr. Arola also spoke about the negotiating the job market and the importance of having control of your time.
Dr. Kristin Arola is a professor of rhetoric and the director of graduate studies at Washington State.