Reflections. And then some.

Last week I was talking to a fellow graduate student. This particular graduate student and I do not meet very often. Yet we share the bonds and camaraderie of ones going through their PhD programs. During the conversation we both realized that we do not know too many details of one-another’s lives, yet we could safely assume that during the few years we been in our degree programs, we have all been through some of the worst phases of our lives. And we learnt to live through them.

I am close to the end of my program. In a PhD program, the end is not an event. The end is a process. And I am at the beginning of the end. I can share some reflections. (more…)

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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Why Do I Write This Blog?

Why would you voluntarily commit to a project in which you have to make yourself sit with the computer for longer than you anyway do? Why would you write for the blog, as if you don’t do enough writing while trying to churn out a doctoral dissertation. And you don’t even get paid (when did graduate students ever stop complaining about that!).

What is in it for me?

Simplistically: nothing.

But really, my sanity!

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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…)

Why I chose to do my doctoral work in geography

It started when I was in grade 3.  Me and my friend Robbie used to go straight home after school and the first thing we did when we got to Robbie’s house was go to his room and get out the National Geographic Atlas of the World.  Robbie lived close to ET Kenney school in Terrace, BC, where I grew up, so we didn’t have to wait long.  We walked fast telling stories or jokes or having deep conversations along the way.

Encouraged by the best teacher I ever had, Ms. T (now Mrs. S) Robbie and I developed a love of geography.  When she would ask the class “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and kids would raise their hands Robbie and I always had our hands up first and we always answered (not quite in unison, since Robbie was outgoing and I was shy) “CARTOGRAPHER!” (more…)

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