What Made You Go To Grad School ?

What made you go to grad school

September is just around the corner and that can only mean one thing: the start of a new school year. So welcome back to the ‘ever-so rested’ returning grads and a huge warm welcome to new McGill graduate students!

To celebrate, or not, depending on how you feel about the dreaded ‘rentrée des classes’, here is a video asking a couple of graduate students why they decided to go to grad school. I think most of you will relate but feel free to leave a comment down below saying what made YOU go to grad school. Would love to hear from you!

I wish everyone a smooth start and check out Alek’sMarion’s, Fannie’s previous posts for tips and tricks on how to overcome some of the challenges faced during grad school. You’re in for a treat.

Good luck and I hope you get sorted into your dream house ( I’m praying for Gryffindor!).

Ps: If you want to meet us in person ( how cool!!) come and see us at the PGSS BBQ Bash on September 7th- you don’t want to miss it.

The wonders that humans are capable of

The human potential is simply remarkable. When human go against each other they can create things like war. They can create the terrible circumstances that were the subjects of a few posts last week. But when humans work together, they can create wonders.

At the Macdonald Campus, we created something of a small wonder this semester. It was quite magical. It was a flash mob.

Flash mob at the Mac campus. Photo credit: Sushant K Jha

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That crisp autumn air and the promise of a fresh year ahead

McGill Campus in the Fall. Photo: Claudio Calligaris

And so, gradually, comes the change in season. Flipflops are slowly — stubbornly almost –relinquishing themselves to boots, red and orange leaves are falling and fluttering about, and the light has changed. There is a definite, unmistakable autumn glow, and the old buildings on campus look like they are showing off a different face now, one that catches our eye in this light, and makes us surprisingly tilt our heads up to the sky on our everyday way home.

With the change in season and change in light comes a noticeable change in rhythm; campus feels livelier now, refreshed and revived with its student population. But there’s also a certain freshness and promise in the air, at least for me — a distinct sense of a Beginning, for new students but also returning ones. It’s a new academic year, a chance to take a great big deep breath and tackle our goals with newfound energy. As fresh as the top page of a notepad (or at least one where you’ve torn off all no-longer-appealing previous pages) or a highlighter that still colors the words on your page in a happy, bright yellow.  (more…)

On liminality… and what feels like the longest rite of passage. Ever.

Illustration by Aline Fouard

There is something contagious about the frenzy that is “back to school.” And when I say contagious, I mean it in a germy, plague-like, I-don’t-know-where-I-caught-it kind of way. It’s frantic and stressful and every year it manages to derail the carefully planned timeline I have for progressing through my program.

I should clarify that for me, the September frenzy has less to do with surviving the various froshy going-ons on campus, and more to do with organizing my eight year-old son’s entrance into grade three. Thus, for the past two weeks I seem to have done nothing but fill out forms, buy ridiculous amounts of HB pencils and glue sticks, and cope with the after-effects (exhaustion and crankiness) of adjusting to classroom rules after two months of freedom outside at the pool. (more…)

Welcome to McGill!

McGill, braving the cold and snow...

“I was so wasted…”, she said, rolling her eyes as she recounted how she doesn’t remember stumbling home and dragging herself out of bed for the French language placement test at nine o’clock in the morning. I smiled, trying to picture her pains and remembering those days gone by. The corridor was filled with (mainly) first-years, boisterous chatter and loud laughter. To be honest, I felt a little out of place and embarrassed to admit that I’m already a graduate. And of all things fun and exciting, a grad student… in air and space law.

One guy a few steps down the line bragged (perhaps too) loudly how he and his new mates managed to sneak into bars and get drinks with fake IDs. Many wore bright colourful matching t-shirts, with equally bright and colorful wrist bands that betrayed they were fresh  newbies. Others, perhaps feeling awkward, feeling alone, had their head down as they rapidly thumbed their phones to keep in touch with familiar friends or family far, far away. (more…)

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