On the Job Episode 4: Dr. Sara Doan

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Show Notes

Welcome to the fourth episode of the On the Job w/ The Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative podcast! Hosts Nupoor Ranade and Wilfredo Flores continue the interview series by speaking with Dr. Sara Doan, assistant professor of technical communication at Kennesaw State University.
In this interview, Sara talks about her experiences working the first year as a tenure-track faculty member in an R2 university, and what research and teaching looks like in this setting. Sara also discusses her approach to working smarter and not harder and how to maximize the productive interplay between conference presentations, comps exams, literature reviews, and article drafts. She also chats about managing the dissertation workload, offers tips about job interviews, and talks about the value of making a floral wrap dress (with pockets!).
Names of the resources that Sara mentioned are listed below. To learn more about Sara’s work, please see her faculty page, and you can also follow her on Twitter. Stay tuned for the next interview!

Resources:

Transcript for Episode 4: Dr. Sara Doan

To download a copy of this transcript, please click here.

Nupoor Ranade: Hi there. Welcome to, On the Job with the Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative podcast.

Wil Flores: Today, we your hosts, myself Wil Flores, and…

NR: Me, Nupoor Ranade.

WF: Talk with Dr. Sara Doan about what insights she has about navigating the end of student life, transitioning to the job market, and eventually getting a job.

[piano music plays]

NR: So, here is Sarah. Welcome to our podcast! Can you please introduce yourself for our audiences?

Sara Doan: Hello! I am Dr. Sara Doan, and I am delighted to be here today.

So I got my PhD in 2019 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. And now I am an assistant professor of technical communication at Kennesaw State University.

Kennesaw State was recently moved into an R2, so this job is three courses per semester with an emphasis on research. I am greatly enjoying being faculty. I promise it is much better than being a graduate student. There is life after grad school. [laughter]But it’s been such a joy to be able to be in a department that values me for who I am and values me for the research that I do.

So the research that I do is looking at how instructors give feedback on students’ resumes and cover letters in the technical communication introductory course. In my dissertation, I found that instructors who gave formative feedback–so feedback when students were in the middle of their writing processes–instead of summative feedback when students have turned in their stuff and just want their grade typically had a better, typically had a better idea of their goals and what they wanted students to know when they left the course. So that was really fun to find out for my research during my dissertation, but now I’m looking at how we build public trust through the visuals on health websites. So I promise I started this research project before this semester, and coronavirus and things, but I’m really interested in how medical practitioners use visuals to display their expertise will also building public trust, because many websites like the CDC or the American College of Nurse Midwives build their website for practitioners and for people with high levels of literacy instead of the general public. So I’m interested in exploring that in future research.

WF: Nice. Very cool. Okay.

NR: Very cool. That sounds great. It’s so nice to have you here. And we have a few questions for you. So let’s get started with that!

[light piano key jingling]

WF: So like Nupoor said, we just have a couple of questions for you. And right now we just want to know what was the transition like going from a graduate student to tenure track faculty. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

SD: Of course. Three words: “great,” “overwhelming,” and the noise that Tina Belcher makes on Bob’s Burgers that, “Uhhhhhhh, I’m supposed to do this now?”

[laughter]

So let’s start with the great stuff. It is great to not have the existential cloud of the job market hanging over me anymore. I know that I am an established scholar, my department respects me, my department wants me to do my best work, and being able to do that in a place where people actively want me to succeed has been overwhelmingly wonderful.

I have very supportive colleagues. Our institution is starting to really value the scholarship of teaching and learning, which aligns with the feedback research that I’ve been doing. And they also are starting up a couple of tracks. Like I mentioned earlier, Kennesaw State was recently promoted to R2, and that’s been at the front of my brain lately, because they want us to start doing more intense research.

Nice. So as we start collectively to do more intense research, one of the things that they’re emphasizing is health and medical research, which fits in really well with my teaching and … fits in really well with my teaching and my research. I am intensely excited to start with this visual medical project that I’m working on right now to look at how we build public trust in medical institutions.

I’m also teaching a health and medicine and technical communication class right now, which has just been moved online for the rest of the semester, but that’s been a joy. My students are making public service announcement videos to keep Kennesaw State students informed about corona virus. We’ve been talking a lot about making patient fact sheets–that was one of their assignments earlier in the semester–and then we also looked at website accessibility. So students did a accessibility audit on a local government health and medicine website. So we live in Cobb County. One of my students looked at the Cobb County medical website to see like what public services were available. Was it written at a reading level where most people can understand it? Cause one of the things we’re finding is that a lot of these websites aren’t written in plain language; they’re written in practitioner language. And so it’s been important for students to get to experience that and to get to play with all of the cool, shiny tools that I have available in plugins and on websites for them.

NR: So you mentioned the overwhelming part was mainly the research, is that correct? I mean, I do think teaching can be difficult, especially if you’re teaching new courses for the first time. But also the research, but does seem overwhelming. Do you have any kind of support at the institution to carry that out or to help you with the transition?

SD: Yes, I do. So during my first semester at Kennesaw State, I had a course release. I used that course release, so I was teaching two classes instead of three to write an article. So the article is about 80% done. I’m going through and revising it again before I send it to someone I trust for comments, but I do want to clarify one point. So research at an R2 looks a little different than research at an R1. So if I, that means like, do it for fun, have something robust, but it’s not like 12 articles for tenure. So it’s a different sense of scale. And personally, I am in a very good position where I can do really slow, quality scholarship. Because that’s what my institution gives me the chance to do. And I also have some support. I’m starting to look into NIH grants, so National Institute of Health, to be able to fund this medical communication research.

WF: So with the idea of slow research and like, do it, if you can do it, but it’s not the end all be all. Can you talk a bit about how graduate student life transitioned over to that kind of workflow? I know personally, as a graduate student, I feel that crunch of, I need to be publishing or working on something that is publishable so that way, when I get on the job market, I can say, “Look, I have this manuscript and this article and this, and I swear I can produce.” So, could you talk to us about that?

SD: I feel that pain. I feel that pain. And I felt that pain for the last four years when I was doing my PhD. That is extremely real.

So I just want to take a moment and validate the idea of crunching and just trying to get things out, because that’s very, very real for a lot of folks. And it was for me during my PhD, but now I’m in a position where as long as I just keep doing what I’m doing, I’m probably going to be okay. And that’s just a huge mental shift because now I can be a little bit more selective about my projects. Although as a grad student, I got really, really good at double-dipping. So if I was going to do a project for IEEE Pro Comm, and that was going to be a short paper, then I could use that to form idea base of my literature review for an article that was going out in that fall. So start to use your smaller projects and your conference presentations as stepping stones.

I got really good at triple dipping. So figuring out what aspect of which project could go, where and how that could help me develop ideas for the larger pieces. I don’t think I ever made a chart, but I tend to think a lot in charts and diagrams. So being able to make that for myself and being able to say, “Oh, I just did a short paper for this conference. Now it can become part of this larger article.” In terms of ideas, not in terms of copying and pasting, of course, but just knowing that I have this literature that I’m using, I can put it in the six projects.

Another thing that I did was, in my grad school department, we could design our own comps reading lists. So I created a reading list that was extremely close to what I was doing. So there was tech comm pedagogy. There was a theoretical component. And then there was also instructor feedback, research across writing studies. And so using all of that research in my comps gave me a really good basis to write my dissertation from, because I knew a lot of the literature already. And I had this mental Rolodex of the important readings that I needed. so being able to use a lot of the same literature really helped with that triple dipping approach. When transitioning from grad school to here now, I’m still using a lot of it because the projects that I’m doing now, like the article I mentioned that I wrote last fall with my course release, a lot of that is focusing on wrapping up the loose ends of my dissertation project because I collected way too much data, and I did not use all of it. I used about a third of my data collection in my dissertation. So I’m gonna keep mining that, but it’s going to be a slower process.

The other thing that shifting from grad student to faculty has been great with. It’s just being able to be a little bit more selective about my projects. Because I don’t have that job market crunch, I can really focus on what do I want to contribute to the field. So being able to shift from an internal focus of, I need a job, which is very real and very important, to being able to look a little bit longer term and say, “What do I want to be contributing to the field right now? What do I see that’s missing? What do I need to be doing?” To make sure that the research is providing answers to meet people’s needs, especially in professional and technical writing pedagogy. So thinking about how that also matches my identity as a scholar longer term is what I’m starting to think about for tenure, because tenure is coming.

WF: Like it’s the new winter is coming slogan, like, “Tenure is coming!”

[laughter]

SD: You know, it is, it is, but this also really depends on the job that you get into, because my job wants me to balance teaching and research, and they would rather have me focus on some high-impact publications than scattershot. So it really depends on aligning with institutional priorities and what your department’s expectations are.

NR: It must be nice to have a set of goals or, you know, just being able to choose what not to do. I really like that. Cause right now I don’t think we have the privilege to do that. Oh, we don’t want to use it. I’m sure we do, but we don’t want to use it as much.

SD: Right.

NR: That was that sounds great, yeah.

SD: I will say, yeah bridging on that Nupoor, it is much easier as faculty to say “No” to things, and that’s been a huge, great shift.

WF: So you’ve talked a little bit about, and I heard a really good keyword there about balance.

SD: Ay!

WF: Yeah! And in keeping with the theme of transitioning from graduate student, job market, to faculty life, I was wondering if you could talk to us a little bit about your worklife balance, especially because you’ve moved past the job market phase, which I’ve heard can sometimes feel like a full-time job in addition to everything else that you might be doing at the time, like teaching or tutoring. So I was wondering if you could talk to us a little bit more about that.

SD: So now I do a lot of yoga. I focus a lot on finding people who have similar interests to go and like explore it Atlanta with, because Kennesaw State is just north of Atlanta. So we’re technically… I guess the locals would probably never say this, but we’re the last suburb in Atlanta before you hit not Atlanta. So I still consider us kind of a suburb of Atlanta. Even though I’m sure those born and raised here would not. So anyway, maintaining worklife balance as faculty has been really important to me because when I was studying at Milwaukee, I actually lived in Madison. So I had a 91 mile, one-way commute. Doing a PhD isn’t hard enough without a commute, highly recommend! I’m kidding. Don’t ever do that to yourself. I did not enjoy it. But what I did have was a really strong support network. So my husband and I are from Wisconsin. We spent a lot of time with family. We were a soft hour from my parents. We were 20 minutes from his, and that was really nice in a lot of ways. So now that we are in Georgia, and my husband is working remotely, we don’t have that same kind of support network. So it’s been a little bit challenging. But also, it’s been really nice to just do our thing and be able to say, “Oh, we have a little bit more flexibility now with my husband’s schedule during the day. So we can pop out and go to Lowe’s.”

But having projects to do that are not total necessities and fun has been a great shift. I also got out my sewing machine for the first time in about four years. So at the end or after I had done all my campus visits last January and February of 2019, I got out my sewing machine and I started to make these like huge floral wrap dresses, because I figured, you know, no matter where I end up, I hadn’t heard back from my job yet. I’m probably going to want to change the way I dress as a faculty member. So I made three beautiful wrap dresses. And I just loved them. I put pockets into them. So having projects to do that are not academic has been great. And I feel like I have a little section of my brain that I didn’t have in grad school to be able to do that kind of work.

Last weekend I made a jumpsuit because I’m winning at the social isolation thing or social distancing during coronavirus. so just having things that I can do with my hands, it’s been really fun.

WF: Right, so for our listeners, just join Project Roadway if you’re trying to pick up a hobby.

[laughter]

Yeah. I like the idea of doing things just for fun, because I personally, what happens to me is a lot of my hobbies and interests, I end up academizing them or turning them, trying to turn them into academic projects. And I think that might be me taking that triple-dipping approach a little bit too far. So I like that like, do it for fun and that’s it.

SD: Yeah! I also started a sourdough starter. It’s name is R2D Dough

WF: That’s amazing.

SD: So I have been doing a ton of baking. Although I will say this is a little bit of a weird situation, just because now I’m teaching solely online with social distancing and coronavirus, which I am grateful for. And I think in a lot of ways, that’s very smart of our universities, even if transitions have been stressful, and they have been. But, this semester, I’ve been teaching two new preps and then the service course online. And, you know, there was about six or eight weeks of the semester where I barely got to sit down. So I would do a little bit of sewing if I had a free weekend day. But, I would say, just do what you can, and if you just kind of feel like a lump at the end of the day, that’s also okay. Because learning a lot of new things is stressful and that’s one of the challenges of the transition from grad student to tenure-track faculty. So do what you can, don’t beat yourself up for what you can’t.

NR: Could you also, so the last time we spoke, Sara, I remember you told me some, you gave me some tips for project management for my own life, and I think I take the balance in the wrong way. I try to enjoy sometimes too much. And then I go overboard, and it gets hard to, you know, just come, come back to a project that you’ve been struggling to complete because now you’re even further away from it. So I really want to hear some tips on, you know, trying to get back or like scheduling time or kind of maintaining some kind of accountability. If you could give a little bit of a, some hints into that. That’d be great.

SD: I can absolutely do that, Nupoor. Thank you for a great question. So project management during my dissertation was my secret joy. I got really into it and it was really exciting for me because I knew that my dissertation was the ticket to being done with graduate school, and I just really wanted to be finished. I really wanted to move away from financial precarity. And I really wanted to just have somewhere where I could be more settled, and the dissertation was the ticket to that. So I put everything I had into it. But one of the ways that I wanted to manage my dissertation was to work smarter, not harder.

So I am very into technical communication. I am very into the technical aspects of managing a project. So one of the things that I do did was start to read a lot of productivity books because that is my secret, my secret guilty pleasure, reading a lot of books about how to be productive or how to manage your emotions. I really, really enjoy self help books and self-help podcasts. I find them absolutely fascinating because they’re like technical manuals for being human. So I read, I think Bolker’s Writing Your Dissertation in 15 minutes a Day or Less. And one of the really smart things that she does is try to remove the shame around not writing. And again, that attitude of do what you can, don’t beat yourself up for what you can’t. Because statistically, not every writing day is going to be your best day. That is statistically not a thing that is able to happen. So don’t beat yourself up if you have a lot of bad writing days. But that idea of setting a timer for even 15 minutes or 25 minutes or an hour really resonated with me.

So I started tweeting, “Hey, I’m sitting down for my #writingpowerhour.” And so I literally wrote my dissertation over about a year or maybe it was more like nine months, and then I had three months where it was very intense, but I had most of the bulk of the drafting done by then. So I would literally just sit down, write for an hour, and then see how I felt, and then usually outlined my stuff for the next day. The other thing that I did to have more higher-order productivity. So that 10,000 foot view was to read Rebecca Pope-Ruark’s Agile Faculty.

She wrote this book about applying agile and scrum methods to faculty work. I would suggest at least skimming the whole book because some of the better productivity strategies are actually in chapters four and five, but the idea of dividing everything that you have to do into the smallest doable task really resonated with me. The other idea I picked up from that book was put your tasks into t-shirt sizing. So the idea of labeling all your tasks from like extra small to extra large. Chances are, if it’s large or extra large, you need to break it down into smaller tasks. So for example, going and checking one citation was an extra-small task. Redoing my entire literature review? An extra-large task. So this idea of matching what you had energy for to all the small or medium or large tasks that you have really helped me figure out how to apply my energy in very strategic ways. I also, when I was editing the entire manuscript together, actually drew a huge diagram on my wall with masking tape, where I had a column for each chapter. And then every time I knew that I needed to make a change or an edit across several chapters, I would put a sticky note up in each column. So if I changed a big wording in one of my research questions, I knew that I needed to go back and edit it in the introduction, the methods, the results, and the discussion and the conclusion. So each of those got a sticky note. And then when I was done, I moved them to the done column. And that idea of something that was tactile really helped me feel like I was actually making progress because eventually, and this is slightly Pavlovian, I began to associate moving a Post-it Note with, “Yay, happy brain! Reward!”

NR: That’s great. Those are really good strategies.

SD: Thank you!

NR: Yeah, I’ve been reading Pope-Ruark’s article and like several articles that she’s written about the same idea, and it’s been, it’s been really great for me. There is a lot of advice in here, or, you know, some suggestions on how to manage your projects and a very tech comm way of doing it, too. So thank you for all of that. Can you give us some specific advice on your experiences about the job market? I think we’ve been talking a lot about dissertation and that’s really important, especially for Wil and I, because we are about to jump onto that phase in our lives. But would you also give some advice on job market and like how did you manage that part?

SD: Absolutely. So I unsurprisingly am a pretty big spreadsheet person, so I would make a spreadsheet with all of the jobs and then, that were available at that point, then I would categorize them. Is this an absolutely must apply for? Which was a one. Is this an “I’m on the fence” job? or like, I don’t feel as strongly about a one, but I should apply for it too. So that was number two. And then number three were jobs that I felt like I should, but I wasn’t excited about, or maybe the location wasn’t where I was wanting to be. So I was fairly, well first I was incredibly lucky in my search. I’m really happy that I wound up at Kennesaw State, and it’s been a really good fit for me. It’s somewhere I can really grow. So fit is really important. But it’s also really hard to know that on paper, especially when you get to the campus visit stage because Skype interviews are awkward. There is nothing that will make video conference interviews not awkward. For example, on the Skype interview that I had for Kennesaw State, the audio kept going in and out, so I can barely hear them. And I was doing my best to just like roll with it, be pleasant.

Oh, pro tip, have one outfit or maybe two outfits that you put on for your Skype interviews, because just having an established outfit made me have to make fewer decisions so I could put more brain space on to something important. So I would have like a nice top and a blazer and pants–and probably fuzzy slippers cause I lived in Wisconsin. It was cold that winter. Don’t be afraid to show a little bit of your personality through your clothing choices too. I found that I was most comfortable in interviews when I was wearing my favorite interview outfit with my nice top and my blazer. And then I had a set of pearls that were my great grandmother’s. Very fake pearls, but still cute. And I felt really confident wearing that outfit. Like I was connected to my family, but also very professional. So I would recommend finding something that makes you feel that same way. And then having that one outfit and that one set of accessories made it so that I didn’t have to think about my outfit every time I could just put it on and go.

So this was 2018, 2019’s job season. I applied for 34 jobs. I had, I think, eight or nine calls for Skype interviews. And then I had three campus visits and turned down a fourth cause I had an offer. Keep in mind, those numbers are for technical communication, and I do a very technical brand of technical communication.

So I’m in there looking at website accessibility. I also do data visualization, which is another course that I’m teaching this semester for the first time. Finding the fit was really important, and it’s really hard to know that on paper. One thing that I’ve learned as faculty, at least in my department, and let me preface that with at least in my department, because I, this may not apply other places, but I’ve spoken to my colleagues a little bit about what they were looking for when they hired my colleague, Jack Labriola, and I. Because they had two folks retire, so two tenure lines were open. So they only plan to search for one faculty member, added the second search as they were in the middle of the first one. So all of a sudden they had these two tenure lines open. So it’s been great to come in with somebody else who has a very different set of skills than I do. Cause Jack’s really into usability, and he’s teaching technical editing as well. This semester. So it’s been great to have a great colleague with me.

Other advice, let me see… For me, for me, not necessarily for everyone else or what the market will look like in the future, all of my Skype interviews hit at the same time. I think I had four within eight days.

NR: Wow. That’s exhausting.

SD: Yeah, and I think Kennesaw State was actually my first Skype interview. I don’t know what that means, but it’s okay.

I will say I had a really hard time gauging how the Skype interviews went. One of the strategies that I found really useful was to pull up their list of courses for their major or for their gen-ed. And to have at least one or two bullet points for how we would teach each of those courses, because it was like the world’s weirdest pop quiz for a bunch of institutions that you may think about once, or you may think about a lot. Definitely have a pen and paper handy. Because very often I would take it, I would say, give me a second to make a quick note and then I’ll be able to answer the question better. And actually that strategy was pretty good because then I could say I have these four things that I find and important in answering this question and I could list them and not forget them in the middle. Use your water glass strategically. So, if you need a second, take a sip of water.

I would also say for Skype interview specifically, they’re just going to be awkward. I know I’ve said that once, but I will say it again. And it was hard to know how things went.

For campus visit, I would highly advise, have luggage before you need it. Cause it was a lot of me getting picked up at the airport and having to put my luggage in somebody’s car. And that gets a little weird. I tried to have some small talk ready, like, “Have you seen any good movies lately?” or “Have you been reading anything good lately” or “What are you teaching right now?” Being able to ask them questions really proactively was helpful. And fit again is really hard to know until you’re there. I went to a really lovely campus visit. It was my first one. I was terrified out of my mind. And they were all so nice, but it was also one of the most awkward experiences of my life because the fit just wasn’t quite there. And they were incredibly lovely and like, nobody did anything wrong except I was probably way too nervous. But the fit just wasn’t quite right. And I, you know, still say, “Hi,” to them at conferences, and they’re lovely, lovely people, and they have a lovely department. But, it just wasn’t quite a match. Fit is really hard to articulate. And I know graduate students are probably on the other side saying, stop talking about fit already, I don’t know what that means. But it’s one of those things, like you’ll know it when you see it. You’ll know it when you experience it. Because when I came to Kennesaw State for my campus visit, they were extremely lovely to the point where I didn’t want to take my breaks because I was enjoying being around them so much. I wasn’t as stressed when I went out to dinner with people because we could all just carry a conversation and it felt really natural. I didn’t have to dig for small talk. These were just people that I got along with pretty well.

NR: These were really great points, Sara, so thanks for sharing with them with us. I think when we ask someone about the job market, they tend to like, we tend to focus on the broader things first.

SD: True.

NR: Just the timelines, the rejection, and those sorts of things. But these nitty gritties, we really forget them. I think sometimes, and those are so useful because those are the ones that you’re actually using constantly. And, you know, you don’t tend to think about them so much. You take them for granted. So thanks for sharing these. I know it’s going to be super useful for me, and I’m sure for the audiences as well.

WF: Right. I know the one thing that stood out to me when you said fit was when I was applying to PhD programs, that’s kind of something that was emphasized a lot was, “How are you going to fit into this program?” So I think any graduate students listening to this who are like, stop talking about fit, maybe if we think back to when we were applying to PhD programs and even master’s programs, if we did masters, the idea of how will I fit in with faculty, how will I fit into the program, even how will I fit in with this cohort of graduate students. I think those deliberations still translate over just in different ways. Cause you’ll be working with other faculty, graduate students, administrators. So I think those things still carry over. So please talk more about fit!

[laughter]

NR: Sara, if you had any closing thoughts, you could share those.

SD: Other quick advice. Always iron your suit the night before, don’t try to do it in the morning.

WF: That’s really smart.

SD: During my first campus visit, the iron that I was trying to iron my suit with, was starting to do weird things. And I was trying to get it done very quickly, which made me more stressed. So even if it means sacrificing a little bit of sleep, it was worth it to me to get my suit ready the night before so that I didn’t have to rush in the morning. Bring snacks, bring things that are easy to eat. For me, that meant like dried fruit. If I could do it again, I would just have like a whole bag of dried mango in my bag. Because easy-to-eat things are helpful. For me, that was not necessarily, always like a pack, a thing of almonds, like, you know, those tiny, like hundred-calorie packs of almonds. I brought a bunch of those. I can get through like half of one during a break, like that’s not normal for me. So figure out what you need and get that for yourself.

Be very nice to yourself because the job market is very difficult. The nicer you are to yourself, the more pleasant of a time. You will have, even if all the external things are terrible.

WF: And if your iron’s messing up, you can always put your outfit in the bathroom, turn on the hot water in the shower, and just steam it that way.

SD: Exactly. Also try to avoid buying a black suit if you have a gray cat. So if you have an animal, buy extra lint rollers and have them everywhere. These are more about the cosmetics than about the job talk or the teaching demo. One thing I did for the teaching demo that I found really fun and my Kennesaw State visit responded really well to, was have students do a quick write at the beginning. So I did a “Minute to Win It” and had students write for a lesson about business correspondence. I had them very quickly write what was the worst message that you’ve ever received? And why was it terrible? And they responded really well to that.

For the teaching demo, also prepare more material than you might need. That was really important because students might move more quickly. And then don’t be afraid to do a little quick write at the end with what’s the most important thing you learned today? And then why did, why do you think you it matters? How will you apply it to what you are doing in your major or outside of your major? And that quick write at the end is really important because, then if you don’t need it, it’s easy to cut. But if you need a little bit more time to fill, it’s easy to call on students and ask them, “Hey, what did you write? What do you think will help? Or why is that helpful for you?”

WF: That’s really smart. I like that. I might actually adapt that onto my future classes now.

SD: I use it a lot in my classes because one of the things that my institution wants us to be doing is thinking a lot more about the scholarship of teaching and learning. So metacognition. So that thinking about thinking is a big part of that. And these kinds of exercises, teach students to think about their thinking, what did you learn? How will you use it?

WF: I think all of this is going to be super helpful and super useful to our listeners. Thank you so much. This is great.

SD: Yeah, you’re welcome! My pleasure. I am very much hoping that other people are able to learn from and apply my experiences because I would very much like to not have this be news for other people to have them know what’s coming beforehand.

The other thing that I’ve learned that may not apply widely, but definitely applies at my institution, from hearing my colleagues talk about being on other search committees, is that your transcripts really matter. So if you’re on the fence about getting a specific certification, for example, in like women’s and gender studies or anything that might supplement where you are right now, I would highly recommend that you do it. Because transcripts and certifications tend to really matter on the other end of a job search.

And then finally, graduate school is a gas that will expand to fill its container. So making sure that you are giving yourself time to read books or making sure that you’re giving yourself time to do your yoga or take a walk or cook something, or spend time with your family. Those are really important things. I got actually much more productive in grad school. When I started taking Sundays off. It was non-negotiable unless there was some really weird situations, some days were my days off, and I started writing way more once that happened.

Fit. Taking time to do things. And when you’re faculty, it’s a very different crunch, but it’s a less existentially draining crunch.

WF: I look forward to that.

SD: I wish that for all of you. I sincerely wish that for all of you.

WF: Well, thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it.

SD: You’re welcome!

About Author(s)

Wilfredo Flores is a third-year PhD student at Michigan State University. His research interests include digital rhetoric, health communication, land-based and multimodal design, and cultural rhetorics.

Nupoor is a PhD Candidate in the Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media at the North Carolina State University. Her research focuses on audience analysis, digital rhetoric, user experience and information design primarily in the field of technical communication and artificial intelligence. Her research experience and partnerships with the industry help her bridge gaps of knowledge that she then brings to her pedagogical practices.

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