About: The Ginger Grad

“I love [Ginger Grad’s] blog. It is very necessary.”

John, University of Pennsylvania

“I am really enjoying your blog… and I would now declare myself a loyal fan of the Ginger Grad!”

Tianran, Columbia University

blog propic 300 pixNice to meet you, I’m Kaitlyn–better known across campus and my department as ‘that Ginger Grad!’ I’ve moved my life from one coast to another to start my PhD in East Asian Studies in sunny California. I’m more or less your typical grad student: a night owl, a caffeine addict, an introverted bookworm who occasionally pretends to be a social butterfly. I’m also an avid gamer and comic book fan!

Like all new grads, I feel a mixture of unbounded excitement and unmitigated dread as I attempt to make a name for myself in the Academy™. We’ve all heard the (very real) horror stories of imposter syndrome, absent advisors, dwindling availability of tenure-track positions, and non-existent work-life balance. But there’s a lot more to grad school than the big problems of academic life. I’m finding out that it’s these thousand little unexpected and unnamed things that are affecting me most.

Professors and seasoned grad students have been more outspoken recently about issues related to isolation and mental health, but I look for my experiences in their accounts and I don’t see them. How do you move your personal and academic life across the country? How do you make adult friends ? Has anyone had these problems, felt this confused and alone before? I don’t want anyone else to feel alone or to ashamed for asking what I call the ‘little picture’ questions. That’s why I started this diary-style blog: I want to be open about the big and little picture problems that I’m dealing with as a new grad student, and I want to be totally honest about how they make me feel. Plus, more than wanting to share my problems, I want to share my solutions with you!My hope is that The Grad School Diaries will start a new discussion and become a space in which we all feel comfortable talking about the day-to-day highs and lows of life as a grad student.

Let’s get through this together! Feel free to email me about your little picture problems and solutions at gingergrad@gmail.com.