(This blog post was written in response to Jane S. Halonen and Dana S. Dunn’s Chronicle of Higher Education article, That New Hire Needs Your Help.)
I’d like to start off by thanking Professors Dunn and Halonen for their thoughtful and compassionate article, “That New Hire Needs Your Help.” I am a new hire in my department as of August and I’ll admit that when I saw this article pop up in my inbox, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that someone was concerned about my adjustment to my new job.
As they rightly point out, “sometimes the stakes are really low and the politics vicious.” In what follows, I would like to elaborate on this point and also contribute one or two points that I feel were missing from their list. I hope that my anecdotal evidence will prompt those of you who are concerned with the welfare of your new faculty to heed one or two of my requests. Continue reading
When I got my current tenure-track job, I sighed with relief. Not only had I done the impossible, it meant I wouldn’t have to go back on the job market 6 months later. After applying to nearly 100 jobs and enduring two years worth of rejection, I was over it. Yet here I am…trolling the job list and considering applying to jobs again this year.
It’s early October, which for most people means that the semester is about halfway over. In some regards, it feels like the last 7-8 weeks flew by…but at the same time the next 7-8 weeks feel like an insurmountable hurdle.
A quick note on mental-state: I’m finding that this is the point at which I finally feel like I can come up for air, so to speak. My routine is established, my students feel familiar, I’ve reincorporated writing time back into my week, and the courses I’m teaching no longer feel haphazardly put together. That being said, the sentiment is coupled with what feels a lot like the end of the honeymoon phase in a new relationship. I’m becoming more aware of the tensions among colleagues that prevent things from getting done. I’m realizing that I don’t necessarily agree with the way faculty get evaluated across campus. My students are starting to get restless and bored with the material. So, I find myself wondering, how can I reboot the semester and make sure the second-half doesn’t feel lackluster compared to the first?
PRO-TIP: When the honeymoon phase ends, seek new connections on campus that can spark added enthusiasm. Find a mentor.
The research and writing on what we know as impostor syndrome abounds, and with good reason. People from every walk of life experience it and it’s nearly impossible to get through grad school without the myriad of questions inspired by self-doubt: what happens if my advisor realizes I’m way less experienced and/or well-read than everyone else in my cohort?; am I going to disappoint my advisor with my lack of abilities?; I can’t believe everyone can have such informed opinions on Roland Barthes…why am I just now hearing of him?
Most of those questions are prompted by a lack of self-confidence brought on by comparing oneself to a host of high-achieving, accomplished peers. I think most graduate students are reticent to tackle impostor syndrome head on, because they’re hopeful that it will just slowly dissipate. (At least, that’s how I felt.) I know I was DEFINITELY hopeful that it was a sensation that would stay contained within my graduate school career. But recently I had an experience that caused it to come roaring back. My first thought upon realizing it was back… “Great, now I get to deal with the assistant professor version of this arduous mental health challenge.” Continue reading
This whole post could probably be distilled into one single PRO-TIP.
PRO-TIP: Start thinking about your book proposal way before you think you need to. An significant number of presses will expect to see projects that already have a fair amount of momentum behind them.
More and more these days, presses (university or otherwise) are asking for supplemental information along with book proposals. The basics are all the same, but many presses would now like for you to be well-connected socially. In other words, they want to see evidence of an audience, marketability, or of your book’s momentum. We’ll return to this quandary in a moment. Continue reading