The Queen’s of the Stoneage concert is coming up, and so I’m writing in song lyrics more than usual. (If you’re not familiar with the song “A Long Slow Goodbye,” click this YouTube link immediately, if not sooner)
It’s time for a change at Gradifying and while we’re sad to see Atif and Rachel move on, we’re pleased to welcome two new writers, Jeremy Walsh and Dustin Washburn. Before they introduce themselves, Amanda and I each wanted to say a hearty thanks to Atif and Rachel and a fond farewell.
My first year writing for Gradifying was great. My hope is that I helped at least one person with something, whether that be their relationship with their supervisor, how to increase productivity, or where to find great ice cream in Kingston. I learned a lot, myself, as a writer for Gradifying—including that I need to take my own advice a lot more than I do! I also made 3 new great friends this past year: Sharday, Rachel, and Atif. It was nice to see three more familiar faces on campus every once in a while! While I am super excited to welcome Jeremy and Dustin to the team I’m also very sad to say goodbye to Rachel and Atif. The passion and wittiness they brought to the blog will be very missed but, alas, onto bigger and better things for them—all the best guys!
Amanda Tracey, M.Sc.
Department of Biology
As for me, like for Amanda, the transition is bittersweet, but since Atif and I have been working together since the beginning, the original team parting ways is also the end of an era. Thankfully, though, I now count him among my best friends. I won’t blow any secrets for him, but I know he’s imminently on to big and bright things in his career. Given all this, I want to register how proud I am of him as a friend as well as how the insights that have made him successful in his work have been so valuable for making Gradifying a truly quality resource—notably for professional development around knowledge translation, but I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention the Star Wars trivia, too. Likewise, we lose a unique perspective in Rachel’s departure. She brought a wealth of knowledge, from personal and professional domains (and how would the professional fail to be a personal experience, anyhow?) having to do with accessibility, mental health, and what it means to be as adventurous with life opportunities as you are ambitious in your work. So thank you for bringing your considerable energies to the blog, Atif and Rachel, and I’m sure we’re all looking forward to seeing what great things we’ll find your names attached to in the future.
Now, may we introduce what’s bound to be a buddy comedy in the making, the very clever and all-around-stand-up-guy Jeremy Walsh and the thoughtful yet incomparably funny Dustin Washburn.
First, from Jeremy:
To whom it may concern:
My name is Jeremy Walsh and I am currently in my 2nd year of studies, working towards a PhD in Exercise Physiology in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies (SKHS) at Queen’s. In a nutshell, my research focuses on HOW exercise and other types of cognitive activities improve brain health (ie. brain plasticity, cognitive function, cerebrovascular function, etc.). I am fascinated by exercise-neuroscience / brain plasticity; however, my ‘scientific’ interests extend well beyond my specific research focus.
I have been a grad student in the SKHS at Queen’s since 2010, having completed my MSc. in 2012, and I consider myself to be very fortunate, as I could not ask for a better group of colleagues. It’s pretty cool constantly being surrounded by like-minded people who continually encourage personal growth, inside and outside of school. When I’m not in the lab, I stay busy playing a plethora of sports, cycling, playing guitar, and working as a lifeguard at ARC pool… after all, these activities are great for your brain!
I am an enthusiast for new experiences and I am excited to be a part of the Gradifying blogging team. Through my writing, I strive to shed novel insight on the many facets of life as a grad student and life in beautiful Kingston. Also, when opportunity presents itself, I plan on giving you an exclusive peak into the macho-man life of hog-ridin’ Dustin Washburn!
…and finally, meet Dustin:
I have never really been one to follow blogs. I’ve usually found that they’re written in a meandering aimless manner, and after I’m done I look at my watch to see how much of my life just passed me by. There are, of course, blogs that I’ve read through. Most of them to are ‘how to’ blogs – computer how-to’s, motorcycle how-to’s, [insert problem of the day] how-to’s. Of those, roughly 85% of them had terrible solutions and left me looking at my watch. As I reflect on this observation, two things occur to me: (1) I want to read about something that has a purpose that relevant to me, and (2) I want there to be information that is thought out, or well researched, or at the least, sensical. There have been the rare blog, however, that I have happened across by chance (perhaps a circumstance similar to that which brought you here) and something about the author’s writing didn’t allow me to pull away. I simply had to keep reading. Based on this, a third thing has occurred to me, which is that if a blog doesn’t satisfy needs #1 nor #2, I can enjoy it if (3) it’s written with sincere expression and an eye toward revelation.
So, who am I? My name is Dustin Washburn (scroll down until you find my profile), and I am a fellow graduate student here at Queen’s. What am I going to be writing about? Dunno yet. Very generally, it will be about my experiences being a graduate student five years in. It’ll be about the ins and outs of navigating your program – perhaps how to address supervisor or administrative difficulties; maybe how to consider career options or how to prepare yourself for them. There will be times when I have had an observation as a graduate that has changed my perspective, and I’ll share that in the hopes that it may lead you to a new perspective during a time that you could really use one. At times I’ll challenge you to find a movie or song reference that I used to helped me portray a thought. Maybe I’ll ask you if you can help me come up with an alias based on my writings in the event that I’ve become too famous on account of my mentally moving and spiritually uplifting Gradifying posts. Best case scenario is, it depends on you. Best case scenario is you write to me (firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on a post) and tell us what topic(s) you’d like to learn more about. I’m here to write to you, and if I’m not writing something you want to read about, then there isn’t much point in me writing at all.
Until I hear from you, we (the Gradifying team) will come up with some topics that we think you’ll enjoy (or at the least find useful). So, pour yourself a coffee, check today’s weather, open your computer, and allow yourself to fall into a topical post with wisps of insight that, if you please, may apply broadly to your day.
So thank you to our readers past and present and we hope you’re looking forward to the coming year of the blog. As always, and most of all, we want to hear from you. (Intonation is everything). We’re currently coming up with a short survey to understand better what you want out of Gradifying, so be on the lookout for that in your inbox sooner rather than later.