Five Reasons Why I Do This
1) Being in grad school just plain feels lonely a lot of the time, and sympathy and advice aren't always forthcoming. Not many people understand why we're doing what we're doing--or what we're doing, for that matter. I started blogging, in part, because I was seeking a larger sense of intellectual community, support, and guidance. I'm happy to say that I've found it, and that's a large part of what's kept me blogging, despite having considered quitting earlier this year.
2) I hope that posting about some portion of my experiences in grad school might help to humanize us as academics and promote more understanding of who we are and what we do for a broader audience.
3) Because our profession is pretty rigidly hierarchical, it can often be difficult for grad students to have an authentic voice, to speak out. In some ways, this medium allows me to speak more authentically--particularly since I'm anonymous--than I often can otherwise. Given the pretty radical changes that have been taking place at many universities as a result of changing market forces and cultural trends, there are lots of misunderstandings even within the academy about what it's like to be a grad student now as opposed to having been one even ten years ago. So being able to speak more freely not only helps me to feel better, but may actually promote a more accurate picture of grad students' daily lives, even for their own instructors and advisers.
4) I find that the posturing that tends to go along with academic life--and, well, probably life in most professions--shows up less in the blogosphere. Brain-on-a-stick think just seems to happen a bit less out here. So this often is a much more open space that helps to break down some of the hierarchical tendencies I've mentioned and allows for serendipitous connections with scholars in other fields--not to mention people from entirely different walks of life--on an international scale.
5) It's an easy and inexpensive way to stay in touch with friends and family who are far away when phone calls across different time zones are expensive and difficult to coordinate.
Okey dokey. Now I get to pick five people to tag, so I'm gonna tag Acre, Dr. V., Dharma, Anniina, and History Geek. Of course, if you're reading this post and feel inspired to participate, you're invited, too!