Well, dear friends. Your friendly neighborhood Albanian archaeologist has gone a bit MIA of late. Why so, you may ask?
Life – more specifically, life in academia. This is more a note to check in than a proper post. Check-in with who exactly I’m not sure, but if you’re reading this; Hi, I’m letting you know that I will be back soon. With killer content and insight – I hope.
Grad school can take a toll on you, so much so that it envelopes you. There is deadline after deadline. You have to read constantly, you have to publish, you have to attend classes, teach classes, ” do research,” plan research, apply for grants, attend social events, talks, evening lectures, conferences.. the list goes on. I will be the first to admit, I struggled to keep up with all of this.
On the surface, I weathered my first year of grad school rather well. I got straight A’s in my classes, landed some grants, went to conferences and talked about my research. I even conducted preliminary dissertation research in Albania and Kosovo this summer (a post that is on the drawing boards I assure you).
In my first year, I often felt like I was running as fast as I could but not getting anywhere. As soon as I completed one task, another fell in my lap. You got a grant to fund your summer research? Great. Better start thinking about the next one you’ll apply to. You finished your 20 page research paper? Amazing. Better start the other one you’ve put off until now.
These are the themes that I would like to explore in this platform because I don’t think that I am alone in thinking like this. The fact that so many graduate students deal with depression, stress, anxiety, and imposter syndrome is a glaring redlight that there is something seriously wrong with the system so many of us idealize. Many of us pursue graduate degrees because we want to further our field, because we want to be creators of knowledge, we want to be academics. But the game has changed, it has become toxic. And we need to have a discussion about this.
I hope you will stick around until then.
Love, peace, and positivity,
Your friendly neighborhood Albanian archaeologist.