Category Archives: Practical Matters

All things useful and important.

Tempus Fugit: The Fine Art of Time Management

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Lo! Behold the bleak, surrealist landscape of Winter Quarter.

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!

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Advocating for some Advice on Advisors

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?

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I have so many questions!

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!

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Writing Q & A with Jeff McMahon

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.

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9 Winter Life Hacks

Guys,

Winter is here. Ned Stark warned us and now that it has arrived, we must face the cold, cold truth.

Although the Chicago winter is tough, it doesn’t have to be entirely horrible. Below I have compiled Maph Central’s V.I.I. (Very Important Items) for the winter as well as some more general tips for the cold weather. Chicagoans, feel free to post additional advice in  the comments!

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We will all become The Winter Soldier

Very Important Items:

Sarah: Scarves! “In Chicago it’s not the actual temperature that gets you, but the wind-chill. A scarf makes all the difference.”

Maren: Fleece-lined tights (or fleece-lined anything) and Glogg Winter Drink.

Kerri: Puffy Jacket. It may not look as cool as your wool peacoat, but it is time to embrace the sleeping-bag look.  Continue reading

The Thesis: Fall Edition

Dear MAPHers,

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: Part III (Managing Reading and Workload)

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.eatpraylove

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!

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Eat, Sleep, Read: Part II (On Sleep)

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 eatprayloveemotionally by taking care of yourself and managing your workload. For Part II, we’ll cover some tips that may help you get better, more restful sleep during your time in MAPH.

 

“Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!” – Grad Students (or Shakespeare, I guess)

 

Sleep and grad school don’t always mix well. Between classes, writing, reading, and other demands, there aren’t enough hours in the day, and it will inevitably seem like there aren’t enough hours to get a full night’s sleep. But keeping a regular, healthy sleep schedule in grad school will make you so, so much happier. As someone who pulled all-nighters all through undergrad, I can attest that the best life change I implemented during my MAPH year was committing to being better about sleep (I only pulled one all-nighter during MAPH, by accident—long story). Below find some tips that might help you get more restful sleep on a more regular basis!

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Stacks on Stacks on Stacks: A Guest Post on the UChicago Libraries

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!

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“Libraries raised me.”
—Isaac Asimov

The UChicago library system is—as it should be—a labyrinthine construct with countless treasures, secrets, and codes. Discovering what it holds and how to access it can be one of the great pleasures of graduate school. If you, like me, take tremendous joy from learning how to wield your library to your own wild, intellectual ends, take note: herein I will share with you some of my discoveries. Continue reading

Eat, Sleep, Read: A Wellness Series (Part I, Eating Healthy)

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 easier physically, mentally, and emotionally by taking care of yourself and managing your workload. For Part I, we’ll look at the best ways to eat well during grad school.

eatprayloveEating well in grad school can be tough. It often seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to plan out, cook, and actually eat a balanced diet. But even some small efforts in this area of your life can pay huge dividends when it comes to keeping you happy and energized throughout the year. Here are a few tips on how to fit a healthy, frugal diet into your life:

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Here We Go!

images-1Maphers,

Colloquium went by so quickly. I blinked, it passed, and now all I have is a series of blurred images containing bagels, farmer’s markets, and power point presentations.

Fair warning- this quarter will pass by just as quickly. The quarter is only ten weeks, which is kind of terrifying when you look at a syllabus. But Fall Quarter also provides an established schedule and, mostly importantly, we get to enjoy free food and drink at social hour every Friday!

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