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Update: In Grad school where ppl suck ass (The title is Clickbait)

December 16, 2018

I started grad school last January. When I first began I wrote a blog called, "In Grad School where ppl suck ass." The title was clickbait. I still maintain that, "I have no complaints. Everyone seems cool". In the blog I mostly wondered about how my stay at UConn would go in my program, given that there would most likely be a mix of gatekeepers, people working to reinforce the traditional way of doing things in academia, and people like myself, people working to change the status quo.

 

I would like to update you on what I have learned. To do this, I will try my best to answer the questions I posed a year ago. 

 

What happens to the people like me? The people who have to depend on their cohort to survive? (Graduate school can be draining af.) What happens to the people who define education differently? These people are made to interact with their cohort, who have ideologically different views about the way things should be. They are forced to depend on their cohort for direction in regards to TA or RA jobs. Oftentimes, they come from different countries and different states. As their cohort are the only people they know on this new plantain, they are coerced to depend upon them emotionally. What happens when you have to depend upon people whose beliefs, teaching philosophy, and work are diametrically opposed to yours? To your vision of the world?

 

You begin to value difference. You begin to value differences of opinions because you begin to value the people who hold those opinions. You begin to value the skills, knowledge, and way of thinking that people have, regardless of their differences. You try and learn from them. You become a better person in the process.  

 

Grad school is "draining af." It can make an insecure mess out of the strongest soul. Working together with others as you get through the process is key. It won't really matter that you are surrounded by people who think differently than you at the beginning because everyone is just trying to do the best they can to put one foot in front of the other. In the beginning of grad school, you have to take classes geared towards training you to think and write a particular way. You will have to rely on each other to get through this process. Your differences won't really come up much. When they do, it will seem like a nice reprieve from the regular stress that you deal with on the daily. 

 

 

What do you do? How do you cope? What is the nature of your relationship with your cohort?

 

 

I am the only woman in my cohort. Hell, I am the only black woman in my cohort. While, I wish there were more WOC, I LOVE tf out of everyone in my cohort. In my cohort there is an amazing black man who is a social justice love warrior, a cool af Asian dude who impresses the shit out of me bc he has a freaking kid and does all the shit that I do (and doesn't seem as stressed out as I do), a funny white dude who fucking translates ancient texts and knows interesting shit about buddhism, a man from Greece who gives the best life hacks (like telling me when to change my tire), another white dude who embodies analytic philosophy in the best way (his accent gives me life), and a chill af white dude whose comments are always on point. 

 

I have never felt like I had to cope with their differences. If anything, their differences have helped me cope or navigate through grad school. Many of them are analytic philosophers. Many of them specialize in logic and language. Many of them have different political views that I do. As I don't have experience in analytic philosophy, it is nice to be able to rely on them when I read analytic philosophy papers or when I have to complete logic assignments. 

 

I wish there were more WOC to talk to. It is possible to find community with minorities elsewhere though so I will try and make building community with minorities a goal of mine's in the future. 

 

How does this impact your relationship with your professors? What is your relationship with the  professors who prescribe to the old way of thinking? What is byproduct of your relationship with the professors who don't? How do they live?

 

I took a class with this analytic professor who specializes in logic. The man changed how I view analytic philosophers. Taking his class was one of the best experiences that I've had at UConn. He introduced me to Alain Locke. We read Sally Haslanger in his class. He was real open minded. He was real helpful. Most importantly, his care practices were grounded in a love ethic. My experience with him taught me that not all analytic professors are like the close minded, unconsciously racist analytic professors I've had in the past. 

 

I've had experiences with professors who have philosophies about Philosophy that I disagree with. I've had experiences with professors who allowed me to practice, write, and think about the type of stuff I have dreamed of doing. All of my professors have been instrumental in making me a better scholar. Each of them have reinforced my desire to help change the establishment in their own way. I am thankful for all of them. 

 

Last year, I predicted that we would " all move each other a bit and frustrate each other a bit. But more importantly, learn to care and appreciate each other a bit more".

 

I guess I was right as always.lol

 

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