In the last three months, I’ve been approached by eight or so (prospective) postgrads around the world who wanted advice on academia and their research projects. I don’t consider myself an expert at academicking, being rather new to the industry and still learning along the way; but having been a recipient of much academic kindness and mentoring myself, I usually always oblige to chat with postgrads via Skype or email. None of them were based at any of the institutions I work at, so I can only guess that they must have found me somewhere on the internet.
Incidentally, they were all young women; this brings me much hope and joy knowing that young academic women are venturing out to explore and secure collegial relationships, resources, and care outside of their institutions in an industry that is otherwise structurally unequal for some bodies and identities over others. Continue reading Academic women and mentoring.
I always appreciate my good friends in academia extra much during conferences:
1) I like that there is always a backchannel or conversational thread in which we muse about little happenings to unload our brains, and to wish each other well before our talks.
2) I like that these threads collate our plans and whereabouts for the day so we know where to find company when we need it.
3) I like that amidst learning intelligent things and serial networking with semi-strangers, we find pockets of time to reunite across a crowded room for mutual care and to destress before going back to the watering hole.
4) I like that we can read each others’ facial expressions and glances and glares from across the room and help to extract people from difficult situations.
5) I like that we have cultivated a good balance between serious game face mode and pure afterhours frivolity and fun without the stress of needing to activate work persona all the time.
6) I like that we check in with each other to make sure everyone has gotten back safely after a wild night.
7) I like that all this social labour is a genuine, reciprocal friendship that operates out of care rather than pragmatism.
8) I like that I will get to grow up and grow old with these folks throughout my career.
Image: Last panel on the last day featuring #teamaustralia on sexualities. Image kudos to Brady Robards’ Instagram via Sonja Vivienne’s cellphone via Paul Byron’s expert framing skills.
1) Acknowledge that the system is broken
2) Recognize that meritocracy is a farce
3) Admit that branding genealogy is a cult
4) Find your safe spaces and allies
5) Locate enjoyment in your research and/or teaching
6) Preserve this joy and guard it with moderate cynicism
7) Remember that your self worth is not determined by academic achievement
8) Recalibrate your equilibrium by airing occasional rants to seek solidarity
9) Rinse and repeat
If there is one thing I’ve processed and accepted at the conferencing revelries of ICA, it is this:
Amidst the disjuncture of theory and praxis,
the acrobatics of confidence and vulnerability,
the politics of competition and friendship,
the labour of self-promotion and self-care,
we are allowed to feel multiple feelings at once,
just as others around us may also be feeling multiple feelings at once.
For all the bravado we academics are socialized into partaking,
may we never lose our empathy and care for each other.
My favourite things about using Facebook for collaborative academic work:
1) Intermittent intimacies, when my peers truncate conversations with mundane life updates (i.e. childminding, chores, daily crises). We see that we’re all trying to multitask 100 things, and encourage each other.
2) Respectful context collapse, when my peers document rest and leisure during crunch time (i.e. weekend away, date night, bubblebath). We know we’re all behind on deadlines, but value personal space and rest, and don’t police on social media.
3) Perpetual motion, when my peers take turns to pick up the slack on the global clock. We wake up to new updates just as others are turning in for the night, and our work is always progressing along without stagnation.
4) Pusheen stickers.
How about you?