Saturday, April 14, 2007

Final Post...

I'm done with my dissertation, so I really can't think of anymore to write.

This closes a chapter on my life.

Friday, April 13, 2007

It's never too late to be who you want to be...

I need to find out who came up with this quote--it completely describes my life, as I've had a varied career and am now about to graduate with a new degree.

An article in the NY Times today describes the laments of several recent college grads who worry about their first job--whether it is the "right" job, or how they'll know when they find the "right" job.

I wish I knew then what I know now--try something out--if it doesn't feel right--make a change or get a new degree. I knew I'd eventually get an MBA after undergraduate school, but would have never imagined myself with a PhD. Things just fell into place and I realized that my true passion was teaching business students, not necessarily being in business myself.

It has been a tough road these past three years, but now I'm moving in the direction that is meant for me.

I guess it's official...

From: Graduate Program Administrator
Sent: Monday, April 09, 2007 3:10 PM
To: The jmcgrad mailing listSubject: [jmcgrad] Karen Mishra

Congratulations to Karen Mishra who successfully defended her dissertation this afternoon! Best wishes as she prepares for her new job atMeredith!

Charles Krauthammer at UNC...

The Park lecture yesterday was delivered by Charles Krauthammer. In addition to being an inspirational speaker, he had one great quote that reminded me of being a graduate student. He was describing presidential politics and how you have to have a tough shell to get through the primaries because he feels like we basically say to candidates:

You may be the President, but we sure did humilitate you for a year or two!

Funny, this sounds just like grad school.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Family-friendly grad school?

Princeton is taking a surprising new approach towards helping women in graduate programs with the struggles of having or not having children in grad school. Princeton's new intiative would offer money and time allowing grad students to have more child-rearing options while in school.

I find it interesting that Princeton would see this as a critical matter, because not all schools even consider parenthood in the equation. For the first semester I was in my doctoral program, my colleagues did not even know that I had children. Not that I was ashamed of them, but it was obvious that my professors would think differently of me if they knew I had children. One professor (a married woman with no children) even spent time during class complaining about her sister who had children and what a loser-ish life this sister led. Once my colleagues did find out about my children, they began to think of me more as a mother and less as their fellow student.

The numbers of female professors who have children (or more than 1 child) are few. I waited until my youngest was in 1st grade to go back to school. I had been considering it since my oldest was born in 1994, but realized that I would be short-changing my children by going to school while they were young. It hasn't been easy even at their ages--9 and 12--but at least they are more self-sufficient now.

Maybe if other schools follow Princeton's lead, there will be more female professors--period. That alone would make graduate school much more hospitable.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Keeping secrets...

I was in the copy/mail room when I caught a professor eating the last few bites of cookie from a bag. She looked at me and said, "Can you keep my secret?" If she only knew the secrets we graduate students have to keep. Hers is not even on the radar.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Co-op education...

There is an article in Inside Higher Ed today praising Co-op education. This caught my eye because even though my school, Albion College, did not offer co-op education, I was able to participate in a co-op program at General Motors while completing my double-major in economics and music in 4 years. My econ major required two internships, so really I just had a few more internships than my peers.

The author talks about the advantages of the co-op program as introducing students to the business world and forging relationships between universities and businesses, and I think both are true. When I was an adjunct intructor, I found too many business majors who prefered summer jobs as lifeguards, forgetting that this would put them at a disadvantage when they are competing for jobs with other students who spent their summers in cubicles and not in pools. I did learn a lot about how business works--what I liked and even what I didn't like to do in a job.

The only downside of the co-op experience is that all of the experience takes place at one company. This is great if the student knows this is where he or she wants to work, but since I was a double-major, I was not sure, and squeezed in one semester where I combined music and public relations in an internship program in NY City. I ended up going back to General Motors after graduation, but it was for money, not really for love.

All in all, co-op education is helpful for students like me who need help paying for their education and who want to learn what the business world is like. If schools can't make this much of an investment, they should at least be encouraging their students to take internships.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

What they don't tell you about data collection...

Data collection is proving to be the most frustrating part of the dissertation. People who agreed to interview back out or get new jobs. Companies who agreed to let me survey their employees change their minds.

Then, I go to plan B. Ooops--I didn't create a plan B because I was so sure that Plan A was solid. So, I'm creating Plan B on the fly. No stress here!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Still writing...

Not much to report--still crunching data and writing up the results.

This is the loneliest part of the PhD--solitary work which never seems to end.

I knew what I was getting into, though. It will be worth it in the end!