Gradifying Updates, Midterms, and Expanding (Your) Horizons

Like mother superior, I may have jumped the gun – while you haven’t got the SGPS posts I baited you with, but you can look forward to some guest contributions soon. Atif will be bringing you a post that responds to the perennial questions “What does PSAC actually stand for? And what does a TA union do?” and Megan is thinking of sharing the words of some of her Faculty of Ed colleagues on a few important grad issues.

The first month of the new school year has passed, and the blooming, buzzing confusion of running to your classes, getting over what feels like prosopagnosia trying to recognize which students are in your tutorial sections, and figuring out the dynamic of new peer groups is all starting to coalesce into something like a routine. Paradoxically, this only means that the next seismic shift is somehow upon us: midterm. This probably goes a bit different in every program, but what we all have in common is that it looks like your watch must be broken and some angry toddler with a crayon got a hold of your day planner. Award applications are due, there are perhaps literally tons of undergraduate papers and exams to mark, assignments are gearing up, and you just can’t account for where all the time has gone. Speaking of award applications, did you hear that the OGS process has changed this year? Check out the SGS site for details.

Though it may seem like the last time to be thinking of reaching for those higher bits on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it’s now that we most need to practice self-care and plan out our time in order to be really present in all of these hours that seem so prone to slipping by. My wife, for instance, has blighted our kitchen with a giant comps calendar. It ain’t pretty, but it keeps her stress levels down and the catastrophizing to a minimum. To further help you balance on that thin line between procrastination and being a hero (or a martyr), I found this article about the mood benefits of just 20 minutes of light exercise like walking. If you’re like me, just the title (“What Happens to Our Brains During Exercise and Why it Makes Us Happier”) will be enough to wring out a week’s worth of placebo effect. “Oh man, I already walked the dog today,” I told myself. “I’m already doing things that are brain-enhancing. I’m winning.
To extend the usual platitudes that just basically tell you to do things right, here’s something that might help you put all the good advice into action: SGS’ Expanding Horizons series. These workshops and seminars are free and you can figure out which ones you want to take by looking at how they’re organized – by theme, or by your degree stage.
Anyway, the take home message here is twofold: remember Megan’s wisdom from her summer post about exercise – it’ll make you a better student especially in the busy times; and don’t forget to keep on top of those important dates that are creeping up on all of us or to use the SGS’ resources to help you.
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3 comments on “Gradifying Updates, Midterms, and Expanding (Your) Horizons
  1. Colette says:

    Ok grad students the challenge is on. I will exercise for 20 minutes each day and start looking after my health. i.e balancing my work with living a healthy lifestyle (plenty of sleep, some exercise, some social time). I also hope to see some of you at an Expanding Horizons workshops. Let us know how you go.

  2. Sharday says:

    I’m already with you, Colette. Should we have a six pack competition?

  3. Hmmm, let’s just start with the exercise and see if the 6 pack decides to be a part of it! Perhaps Megan you can give us some pointers

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