Collaboration and commiseration with the cohort

Ah, breakfast.

All the better for the company of my fellow students. This time it was at The Loop in Calgary’s Myrtle Loop community and double delight in the fact that it wasn’t too cold venturing out earlier than usual on a Saturday morning.

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One piece of advice we heard a couple of times during our orientation week last fall was to really make the most of the relationships at grad school. It’s easier and harder than it was in undergrad: easier because it’s such a small cohort (less than 15 for this year’s PhDs and MAs together) and harder because everyone is so. dang. busy. Between reading, being a teaching/research assistant, writing papers, journal entries, articles and proposals, it’s hard to make time to meet, let alone coordinate getting together. 

But it’s so worth it. 

Conversation topics on this Saturday morning, other than food and shopping and goings-on in the city, consisted of:

  • hashing it out about the professors – who’s demanding, who was unfair, who has good advice, who doesn’t, who’s helpful, who isn’t (and it was all relative and personal)
  • assignment expectations
  • the stages of our writing (which pretty much we were all agreed on: nowhere yet)
  • the stages of our thinking about writing (lots of progress, different stages, there)
  • WTF about readings and theory

No one was really (yet) at the bitching stage and it was the best Saturday morning social gathering I’d been to in a while. 

I really don’t want to sound cliche, but it was really really good to know that none of us were truly alone in this master’s degree process: we were on similar pages with similar, yet different, struggles and cares and there was a true sense of encouragement and support amongst the group. 

If anyone ever asks me for advice about going on to graduate studies after a bachelor’s degree, I’m now going to include that same advice: get to know your peers and make relationships with them. 

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