A Quick Word of Encouragement to Graduate Students

Since this week has been crazy—prepping to take the Praxis exams and working through immigration stuff with my husband—I’m going to keep today’s blog post short. I just want to offer some words of encouragement to graduate students. Mostly because I was one not too long ago, and my dream job is to work in an MA-TESL program training future graduate students.

  1. Don’t get discouraged – Rejection is the name of the game in academia. You’ll face it, and you’ll face a lot of it. Get used to it. Develop ways to cope with it. My first article (2015) took three years to get published…lots of rejection. It finally found a good home in the Journal of Language and Sexuality. The same goes with job hunts. My first year on the market, I applied to over 90 positions on three continents. I got two offers, and both of those came late in the game. Since then, I’ve applied to 60 posts in two years—trying to move closer to my spouse—and I’ve gotten one interview. Come up with ways to cope with rejection, get comfortable with it. And, be well aware that you picked a career path that will build emotional fortitude. You. Are. Strong.
  2. Don’t take it personally – This is related to the first. But, it goes further than that. Don’t take anything too personally in graduate school. Don’t take negative interactions with your advisor too personally. They’re people too. If they nod off during one of your presentations, it’s because they have been burning the midnight oil for months trying to publish enough to secure tenure, all while keeping up with teaching and commenting on student work. If you have a rival, know that’s a high school-level rivalry and let them worry about it. Spend your mental and emotional energies elsewhere. If only a handful of people show up to your conference presentations, that’s not a slight against you. Take the opportunity to make connections with other professionals in a more intimate setting. TL;DR get the most out of your experience and don’t lose steam because you take everything as a personal slight.
  3. You can do this. If I did it, you can do it with flying colors.
  4. You go this, enough said.

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