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Taking Charge of Your Academic Future

Thomas Whitley

Going Rogue | The Chronicle of Higher Education: At some point, all graduate students must go rogue. By that, I mean I had to figure out how to make decisions about my research and writing without relying on my advisers for direction. I do not mean that I refused to seek them out when I got stuck, or that I ignored their advice when they offered it.. . . By going rogue, I also mean that I had to forge ahead on my own without waiting to hear back from them, since they were not always easy to reach. I had to choose which sources to look at, when to start writing, and when to begin asking other people to read the words I put on paper.

Graduate school is meant to prepare you for a future in academia, but at some point we all have to take the reins ourselves and take charge. Graduate school is a multi-year haven during which we can learn to be scholars in our own right, in which we can transfer from student to colleague.

My graduate education is mine and I'll only get out of it what I put into it, so it's my responsibility to put in the time, the hard work, the hours reading primary and secondary sources, and the effort submitting my work to conferences and journals. This article was a good reminder of that.