Writing about (not) writing


IMG_0005There have been a number of discussions in this blog about writing theses, papers, essays, proposals, and other documents within academia. To switch gears a little, I will be writing about NOT writing. (In the same moment of writing that last sentence, I just realized how haphazardly it reads and decide to use it as title for this (written) blog entry.)

You will probably agree if I say that most of us are writing all the time. Apart from the classical documents I mentioned, there are other occasions for writing: emails, texts, Facebook posts, tweets, and many more.


Who is leading the chase? – The dynamics of research fields

dynamicsAs a researcher, every time you enter a new research field or start to work on a new problem you need to review the knowledge that is out there already and find out about what is currently being done in that field. A great part of getting to know what is actually out there is usually done with some sort of literature review or survey. Sometimes, a literature review is a formal part of the first year of grad school and is completed in the form of a write-up.


The academic travel season

I am off west! While writing this blog post I am on my way to the US to spend a month at Washington State University in Pullman (WA) and University of Washington in Seattle (WA). This is my first trip in the 2013 academic travel season, and I am really excited.


Exploring the Montreal Underground

I haven’t been very active on the blog recently, and I won’t even try to make up reasons. Instead, I will just attribute this to the lack of inspiration. Last weekend, however, I experienced something really exciting I decided to write about in our blog. More specifically, I spent Friday night in Montreal’s underground city exploring the “Art Souterrain” exhibition.


Happy Submission Day!

Happy submission day everyone! After some time in the grad school business, it seems to me that the academic work-flow is governed by submissions even more than anything I experienced before. As a graduate student you are expected to submit applications, proposals, abstracts, articles, posters, presentations, and a lot more things. The days on which such documents are due are very special days: Submission days. (more…)

A Practical Guide to Halloween in Canada

*by peasap

Although Halloween has become more popular in Europe, for me it remains a very North American rite. This has been only my second Halloween season on the new continent, but I feel like I am ready to write a practical guide to Halloween, covering some essential knowledge for the newcomer.

Let’s start with the most important thing about Halloween: the costume. Now, responsible grad students might ask: “Do I really need to spent time thinking about a suitable costume and dress up?” And my answer is: Yes! Just switch off your brains and follow the mainstream! Also, it is a great opportunity to take the role of one of your childhood heroes or anyone else you would like to imitate for one evening.

The first thing I have discovered about Halloween is that costumes do not necessarily have to be scary. In fact probably about 80% of costumes don’t have anything to do with scary creatures of the zombie type popularly associated with Halloween. I’ve also learned that creativity rules on Halloween. Don’t just go into a store and buy the next-best-costume. Instead, make up something halfway new and possibly build your own costume. Apart from the fact that it is usually cheaper to make a costume instead of buying one, it’s just more fun and you can use your presumably immense creativity on something other than research!

In case you decide to make you own costume, here are what I consider to be the important guidelines, based on experiences with my own costumes in the past.

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