Two (academic) years ago, I was given a list of books and told to prepare for a week of written exams followed by an oral exam sometime in spring 2018. In the meantime, I was tasked with passing 10 classes, teaching 6 others, writing a mess of term papers and projects, and attempting to build a life for myself in the town that’s now been my home longer than anyplace else in adulthood. Unlike everyone else in my program, I didn’t have an undergraduate literature degree, and I wasn’t offered any kind of methods course. I was totally lost as to how to proceed.
Now, grad school is a lot like literally all of contemporary life in that many forces have conspired to make it as isolating as possible and everyone feels individually that it is their fault. Showing your work can go a long way toward combating that completely unnecessary isolation. In the spirit of the Girl Scouts, allow me to try to leave this phase of life slightly better than I found it.