As I prepare to enter the second year of my PhD, I thought I would post a brief update on what I have accomplished in my first year.
Firstly, I completed all of my required coursework, and right on time – the last month of my second semester did shift to remote seminar discussions, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to complete most of my coursework in-person with all of my brilliant classmates.
This year I wrote my short thesis proposal, which was accepted without revisions by the PhD committee.
I had two conference papers accepted, although I unfortunately was not able to attend either conference – one was cancelled due to COVID-19, and the other I was unable to attend because I had an emergency dental extraction. (Not quite as fun as a conference, I’m afraid.) I have also been working on preparing a paper for submission after receiving extensive (and incredibly helpful) feedback from some of my peers.
This year I was the TA for two required classes in the Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia. I did not have a TA role during my MA, so I have learned a lot alongside my students! Along with my TA role, I was able to take on a few different Research Assistant roles, including work in the McMaster Institution for Researching on Aging and the Pulse Lab.
Over the summer, my colleague and I organized a peer mentorship program for incoming PhD students – because of COVID restrictions, we aren’t able to have the typical welcome events that allow them to get to know their CSMM community, so this has been a great way to get to know the new students and to answer their questions. I’m happy to say that about 3/4 of current students signed up as peer mentors!
Looking ahead, my second year will involve my comprehensive exams. I will also start a diploma in Gender Studies and Feminist Research, which means more coursework. In the fall semester, I will be taking on the role of Super TA, a new position the department has created. As Super TA, I will be responsible for coordinating tutorial content and managing the other TAs to ensure smooth operation of the course. This is a large, required second-year undergraduate course, and with the move to remote learning I think having this intermediate role to deal with organizational and administrative functions of the course will prove useful.
Hopefully I will be able to post an update this semester about my experiences learning and teaching remotely.