Life as a Grad Student– and GSI

Katie Sloter

Katie Sloter

Hello all!

I hope finals are going okay (“grumble grumble just get me through”). I hear you, but don’t despair, break is just around the bend.

I just wanted to write a short post on what it is like to be a GSI and be in graduate school full time. I feel very fortunate to have a GSI position (out-of-state tuition … I am from Iowa, remember?) However, it is a lot of work.

Did you hear me? A LOT. As in 30 hours a week on top of a full time course load.

However, I am learning way more than I ever thought I would teaching. I thought I would share some tidbits and positives (other than funding) that might make you consider applying for a GSI position.

1) I manage my time better. This includes truly valuing my sleep, which is a fairly new concept. It also includes truly prioritizing and balancing relationships with what I want to take out of my course load. I have also taken less than 15 credit hours this semester, which I have never done in the history of my college career (I am one of those nerdy types that gets seduced by those pithy course descriptions, and visions/promises of knowledge just dance around before my eyes).

2) The material I am teaching is relevant in my own profession. As public health is not traditionally an undergraduate degree, I am surprised at how much I am learning as I am teaching. Research methods, however, is extremely applicable to my own course load.

3) I enjoy my students, and want them to do well. This may not be “learning” exactly, but I count it as a reward. I am excited to see where some of them end up, and hope they have learned something inΒ  my class on their way there.

4) I have developed relationships in other departments. Working with other GSIs and the professor of the course I GSI for has been a great experience, and it gives me a different perspective listening to their career path and insights.

5) I am organized. This may go hand in hand with 1, but I always envied those people with the bubbly handwriting and perfectly organized notebooks. However, this position has helped me organize (albeit with the same spazzy handwriting). But now, there is highlighting involved in the planning process. Color-coded highlighting= so very organized.

So there you go, some definite benefits to consider. Don’t be intimidated to apply to a position– you just might get it! AND the benefits. (Did I mention the color-coding? It could happen to you.)

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