As this is our last Gradifying post of the school year, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the incredible posts we’ve had on this blog throughout the year. While this year has undoubtedly been a strange one, being able to work with the incredible Gradifying writers – Nikita Jariwala, Chloée Godin-Jacques, Jiahui Shen and Hannah Darvin – has been a highlight for me. Together they’ve written numerous posts about their graduate experiences, providing advice on various aspects of grad life and about resources available to us from Queen’s and within the Kingston community. I have learned so much from them through their posts, and also through our chats over the year as I got to know a little more about what was happening in their lives.
Having spent this past year in Nova Scotia, I have felt very removed from graduate life, but these wonderful authors have kept me connected. The connections we have are even more important now during this time of self isolation, when we can’t physically be with our colleagues in classrooms or meet up for brunch, than ever before. We still need to know that there are others out there who are in the same situation as us, feeling the same stresses, and figuring out what works for them.
Grad school often feels like a race, to publish as many papers as you can, read as many books or articles on your subject as possible, attend and speak at conferences, networking with others, and just make progress. The disruptions that the last couple of months have brought us, however, has also given us an opportunity to evaluate what productivity is and what is important to us. For some of us, during this period, getting out of bed each day can be difficult, let alone penning the next twenty pages of your thesis. If you’re struggling, reach out to your friends, colleagues and loved ones and take a look at the SGS’s website for a long list of ways to get support – https://www.queensu.ca/sgs/covid-19-sgs-updates. But also take the time to read a book for fun, or go outside and get fresh air if you can, paint, or get immersed in a game.
It has been exciting too to see how graduate students are adapting and innovating in this time. Thesis defenses are being performed over Zoom, med students are designing 3D printed PPE for healthcare professionals and there’s ways all over Kingston that you can volunteer to help others, which have all been so uplifting to see. While it’s hard to know what the next couple of months bring, we will come through this with a lot more knowledge and insight about our needs as a community and as individuals.
I would like to take this moment to give a big thank you again to Hannah, Jiahui, Chloée and Nikita for all your work this year to make thoughtful and insightful posts. It really has been a pleasure working with you as the editor. And I would like to give a big thank you to our loyal readers for your support this past year, and for the many years that this blog has been around for. You can look forward to the Gradifying blog being back and regularly posting by September, and in the meantime, have a lovely summer!
Gradifying Editor, 2019/2020
(Photos from a recent hike around the Annapolis Valley, NS)