Well, hello there! I guess I lied before when I said that I was done blogging for Glendon because… I’ve returned! Except for now it’s Glendon graduate, grad-school Laura blogging as oppose to Glendonite Laura. I’m really just the same person but maybe a bit more cynical than before and I like to think I can use bigger words, after only two months of grad school, but I don’t think that’s actually true.
As mentioned before, after falling in love with the Canadian Studies program at Glendon, I decided to pursue the study further at Trent University where it was recommended, by both my cousin and some very influential Canadian Studies professors at Glendon, as the place to be when studying Canadian Studies. So, off I went. And I can’t sit here and lie and tell you that I wasn’t/still am terrified because frankly, a lot of the time I feel like I don’t know what’s going on but I guess that’s life.
Along with all the changes that come with being a grad student, I think the biggest adjustment that I have had is being a TA! With Glendon’s class sizes being super small already, having a TA, never mind BEING the TA, is such a foreign concept to me. During the first week of school, we had a few days of TA training where various professors came in to discuss what makes a good seminar and how we can be the best resource for our students. One of the first questions that was asked to the group was, “who has never had a TA before?” Being the shy person that I am, I held my hand back a moment and waited to see if anyone put up their hand. There was maybe 3 of us.
What I have come to realize is that even though I did not have any direct interaction with a TA, the small sized learning environment that I was able to thrive in at Glendon, has helped not only myself as a grad student but is a learning environment and style that I understand and can hopefully teach my students the benefits of as well through the seminars that I lead.
A classmate of mine, we will call him Travis, upon being asked how he was going to run his very first seminar during the first few weeks of school replied: “I don’t know…I think I’m just going to push all the desks back, make everybody sit on the floor, and you know, just ask them, ‘what brings you to my fireside?'” Yeah…that happened. (He’s one of those people who can totally pull this off though)
Besides asking people what brings them to my fictional fireside, Glendon gave me a better understanding that fostering a fun and welcoming small learning environment, where question are always encouraged, is key to learning and is something I hope to bring to my tutorial groups.
As for my own studies, grad school is essentially you and (at the most) six other people sitting around a dining room looking table talking about ideas and the assigned readings. Well, at least it is for me. Although the academic level of conversation is often higher than the undergrad setting – after all, some of the people in my own grad seminars are PhD students (eep!) – this is a situation that Glendon has prepped me for for the past four years. Sharing your ideas with a small group of people and taking advantages of the individual attention.
With that, I hope this is my first of monthly blog posts about life as a Glendon grad and now grad student.
Until next time.