Notes on Surviving and/or Flourishing in Graduate School

Mark Ortiz (far left) graduated from the University of Alabama in May 2015 with degrees in Religious and Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Geography at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he studies the connections between global climate politics and ethics.

Survival…, what a dreary thought. As a climate change researcher, the concept of survival calls to mind dystopian images of underground bunkers, moribund ecosystems, and tough political trade-offs. Graduate school, while taxing, is (or should be) considerably less miserable and trying than these apocalyptic scenarios.

That said, graduate school is difficult. I’ve found it helpful during my short tenure to mine the wisdom of people who have been through it before – professors and colleagues further along in my program especially. Here, I offer a couple of the lessons I’ve learned during my first three semesters of graduate school which will hopefully have resonance beyond the walls of the academy: Continue reading

Writing Well: An Incomplete Set of Guidelines

Frustration

It’s that time of the semester: final essays. But before you mash the
print button or send that paper to your professor, you should take a
quick look at this writing advice from Prof. Matthew Bagger. Prof.
Bagger gave these tips to his REL 360 course but they are helpful for any papers you may have coming due this semester.

“If there’s anything [God] hates, it is… oozy writing.”

–William James (1905)

A good persuasive essay presents a cogent and compelling argument with clarity, elegance, and verve.  The following guidelines should help you craft an effective essay.

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