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Danielle’s Grad School Update: Month 2


So, you want to go to grad school? Keep reading.

You know that old adage, “Time flies when you’re having fun”?

Well, it flies when you’re in grad school too!

In October, I noticed my academic work started to kick up a bit.

Homework in the average week consisted of 100-150 pages of reading for each of my seminars, 5-10 pages of French translation, up to 75 pages of reading for the students I TA for, and planning lessons for my students.

In total, this takes me between two and three days to complete.

I was also given my first large assignment, which was the proposal for one of my term papers.  It needed to be between six and eight pages, and consisted of my research objectives, a review of literature, an explanation of the theoretical framework, a description of the methodology and methods, and a provisional outline of the paper.

Almost the entire time I was worried that I wouldn’t do very well, but when I got the proposal back, I did fine.

Except for the part where I spelled methodology wrong.  Oops.

As part of my degree program, students have to pass a language translation test in French or an indigenous language.  Since my knowledge of Ojibwe and Mohawk is rudimentary, I decided to enrol in a translation class to try to remember the French I learned in Grades 4 through 10.

Unfortunately my program only offers the test twice a year.  I decided to take the test anyway, because the worst thing that could happen was me failing, and I would be able to write it again in the spring.

For the test, you are responsible for reading a French academic article and writing an abstract in English.  You are given two hours and can use a dictionary.

I chose (we were allowed to pick one article out of three based on the topic they were about) “Éléments de Pensée Politique Autochtone Contemporaine” by Dalie Giroux.  For some reason I didn’t think the article was going to be as long as it was, and I definitely was not used to reading a text that was anywhere near this complex (we were reading much simpler stuff in my French class).  But I wrote my abstract, and submitted it for marking.

A couple of days later I found out I passed!  I then promptly dropped the French class that helped me pass.  I plan on keeping up with reading in French, but I can’t seem to get a copy of La Stratégie Ender (but I to do try to read French news online!).

Not everything that happened this month has been academically-based, though.  I attended meetings for the council and caucus I sit on, and helped plan two separate Halloween parties.

I was also fortunate enough to see The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, one of the commissioners for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, speak about the impact of residential schools on Indigenous people in Canada.

My partner came for a visit, so we decided to act like tourists.  We took a tour of the Parliament Buildings, went to the Royal Canadian Mint and lifted a bar of gold (they’re really heavy!), looked at the National War Memorial, the Valiants Memorial as well as the Champlain Statue, and went to Gatineau to go to see the Canadian Museum of Civilization.   It was all a lot of fun.

What’s up next?  November means (even) more work and marking papers for the first time.  And, knowing me, probably an adventure or two of some sort.

So, you want to go to grad school? Click here to read more.