MAPH is an intense year, and reading time quickly becomes a scarce resource—so we here at MAPHtastic polled some of our current students, staff, and alums to see what books they wish they had read before doing the program. See below the jump to see what might be a good beach book for the summer before, or what theory people wish they had read before the MAPH Core class in fall!
This is a very busy, stressful time of year. I remember Week 8 last year as a haze of frantic typing, coffee spills, and semi-permanent relocation to the Regenstein. I wish, however, that I had set aside more time to take care of myself. I would have had a better time during finals and also spring break.
- Sarah recommends baths. For the right person, this is a relaxing activity, made even more relaxing with the right bath salts (here are Sarah’s favorite).
Come winter in MAPH, most students find that they have much less structured time than they did in fall. Without Core twice a week and the set precept/social hour schedule on Fridays, the average MAPHer’s week looks very different from the fall.Winter inevitably means lots of unstructured time and lots to accomplish in ten weeks—which makes time management one of the biggest challenges this quarter.
For instance, I know a lot of you only have Tuesday/Thursday classes this quater—how do you make sure you’re structuring M/W/F (and the weekend) to stay on track and keep making progress with your thesis, course readings, and job hunts? Keep reading for some tips on managing your time and staying productive through the long winter months!
Winter quarter contains a lot of uncertainty.
Who do I want to be my advisor? How do I ask him or her? What is my thesis object (some of you may not know yet- hang in there!)?
What will I eat on Fridays, now that social hour is only once every few weeks?
How can I do reading for class as well as for my thesis? There are only 24 hours in a day, and I need 8 of them for sleeping!
And then there is the question on so many of our minds- What will the last season of Parks & Recreation be like? What happened in that three-year time jump? So many questions!
Whether you stayed here for the break, visited family, or hibernated in a cave in the Alaskan wilderness for three weeks, we are glad to have you back and hope the quarter gets off to a great (albeit cold) start!
Here is Some Mentorly Advice to Get You Going:
Below is a Q & A with our very own Writing Advisor, Jeff McMahon. Read below for advice on writing, particularly the final papers everyone is facing right now. Both Matt and I met with Jeff last year and benefited from his advice and the opportunity to talk through our own writing blockage.
Exactly a year ago, I went into Jeff’s office for help with a 20 page paper on 3 different objects and left about 30 minutes later, tired but optimistic, with 1 cohesive argument. Remember, too, that you can meet with Jeff to discuss papers, the thesis, and principles of argument throughout the year.
You may be solely focused on completing your finals right now. That is fine and, in that case, feel free to return to this post in the future.
However, if you are also starting to think about the thesis, read on!
Late November feels like a weird time, or at least it did for me last year. Mostly because we’re encouraged to think about the thesis, but without taking any action. Meaning, I was told to think about potential advisors, but not to approach them. Or to think about my object, but not to write about it yet. All of this felt somewhat confusing and frustrating… but it was all excellent advice. Continue reading
Eat, Sleep, Read is a three-part series on wellness in grad school. MAPH is a challenging year in a lot of ways, but you can make it way easier physically, mentally, and emotionally by taking care of yourself and managing your workload. For Part III, we’ll cover some academic tips that might help you manage your workload and deal with school-related stressors.
Obviously, one of the biggest stressors in grad school is the workload. In fact, it’s probably the biggest stressor. Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating well—all these important aspects of wellness become difficult to maintain because there’s constantly so much to get done. So we’ve come to the last (and perhaps most important) post of this wellness series: how to manage your academic workload and find some balance in grad school!
Dear MAPHers: below, you will find a guest post from Bill Hutchison (MAPH ’12, Mentor ’13), who is a current PhD in the English Department and an avid patron of the UChicago library system. We’re happy to present this MAPHtastic classic, as it is full of sage wisdom about how to navigate the vast troves of knowledge in the Reg, Mansueto, and beyond. Enjoy!
“Libraries raised me.”
As the quarter gets underway, you’ll notice a ton of emails in your inbox from the various CAS workshops on campus. You may have heard a bit about these interdisciplinary working groups from preceptors and professors so far, but to recap briefly, workshops are seminar-style meetings of informal research groups sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies. These meetings (which are usually once every two weeks) offer a venue for professors and graduate students to convene in an informal setting where they share, discuss, and critique each other’s work. (Also, there is usually nice cheese involved…)
Right now, there are over 70 different workshops ranging from Poetry and Poetics to Mass Culture to Gender and Sexuality (see the full list here). I guarantee you will find at least one—and probably several—that pique your interest. And when you do, go to their webpage and sign up for the listserv. Then you’ll get updates on when/where they are and what to read in advance. Signing up does not commit you to going all (or any) of the workshop sessions—you can attend as many or as few as your schedule allows.
Last year, I joined the Theater and Performance Studies Workshop early in fall, and it became one of the best parts of my MAPH year. The workshops are a big part of graduate student life on campus, and if you like to learn more about them, GSA will be hosting a Master’s Monday “Introduction to CAS Workshops” on October 13th at 9:30 am. I am a firm believer that there are some very concrete benefits to getting involved with a workshop during this year. For instance…