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Friday afternoon.

It’s snowing, and things seem quiet on-campus. I’m at the Tea Room where I just interviewed a fellow graduate student, Niraj Kumar, for a profile you’ll be able to read on the School of Graduate Studies website soon. Niraj is doing his PhD in biology. He came here from India three years ago and seems really passionate about his work and about being both at Queen’s and in Canada. Inspired by today’s weather, I asked him what it was like to experience a Canadian winter for the first time. He said he was a little taken aback by his first big snow, enjoying the novelty at first, but quickly getting sick of the white stuff. “I was fed up in 15 days,” he laughed.

Hey- at least it’s not freezing today — and the snow, which is falling in fat, sticky flakes, is clinging to trees and bushes in a particularly attractive way at the moment. But as Niraj explained: “days like this motivate you to stay in the lab and work more.”

In other news: I had my Proposal Approval Meeting (PAM) yesterday. That’s where you sit with your committee members plus the head of the department and discuss your research proposal. I went in feeling pretty relaxed, but one committee member was late, and the longer I had to sit there, the more nervous I started to feel. In some ways I was a little mislead. “Oh, it’s just an informal conversation,” one of the committee members told me. And though it was more-or-less that, I still had to answer questions and defend my decisions.

The end result was not too bad, I guess. All in all, I’ve been given a thumbs up. But predictably, in a sense, I was told to expand my theoretical approach in the proposal. Though that feels a little daunting, I think it will force me to focus my research by looking at it through a particular ‘lens’, rather than being a generalist (as my journalism training makes me sort of predisposed to be). I’ve got two weeks to nail something down, and then get it formally written up and resubmitted. I think it’s a do-able task. It’s nice to feel like things are formally underway.

And yet other news: If you’re in Kingston, you should definitely check out the Reelout Queer Film and Video Festival. It’s opening tonight and runs through until next Saturday. There are alls kinds of great, international films on the offing (83 of ’em!) — and tonight’s opening party has a “movie masquerade” theme. You can bet there will be dancing.

Here’s the schedule:  http://www.reelout.com/Reelout12/Films/filmsSchedule.php

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, I hope you enjoy yourself!

Posted in SGS Blog 2010-2011, Student Perspective

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