Reflections: One Year Later

This last year has been hard for the whole world. The pandemic and the sudden rise of Zoom helped push us all to the final step of creating this blog, which we hoped would be a bright spot in academia as jobs were being rescinded and funding was up in the air. Our goal has been to demystify graduate school, and we hope that over this year we have helped at least one person. This week, we just want to take a moment to reflect on the last year, both personally and professionally, as we look forward to another year for Handling the Humanities.

Kiri: It’s hard to believe that over an entire year has passed since we decided to create this blog. When we first started, our biggest goal was that we would help fellow graduate students in the same ways that others helped us in the past, while also fostering collaborations to cultivate a wider sense of community. Looking back at this year, there were a lot of ups and downs, in the world and in our own lives, and it’s meant a lot to us to have your continued support throughout it all. While we have always hoped that this blog would help others, it helped us in a lot of ways as well. It has offered us opportunities to reflect, and even take our own advice on a lot of things. Personally, this past year I’ve been working to develop my dissertation topic more fully, and it has been challenging to not conflate my status as an academic with my own self-worth. My anxiety reached new heights and my depression left me with all time lows—but having my friends to lean on and this blog to explore my feelings allowed me to get through the tough times and end the academic year on a relatively high note. I cannot wait to see what the year has brought everyone else who reads the blog, and I’m excited to see where the next year will take us. Thank you to everyone who has read, contributed, or even just thrown us the occasional like. It’s meant more than you could know. 

Clayton: How time flies! I can’t believe it’s already been a year since we started this blog, and honestly, I think that it’s gone pretty well! We’ve all been able to write amazing pieces, both as a group and on individual topics that we have each chosen. We have also been able to work with amazing people to bring outside works onto the blog. In such a crazy year, I like to think we were able to create something positive and helpful to those looking into graduate school, while also being somewhat entertaining. To everyone that’s stuck with us over this year, thanks for coming with us on this ride and I hope you enjoyed it so far! It’s only going to get better from here.   

Dragana: While this blog was something that we have discussed since our MA program, it was only last year that we set everything in motion. It is amazing to see how far we have come from 2018-2019 when we first started thinking about creating something for graduate students to help them navigate grad school. A lot of work has gone into starting this blog and maintaining it, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope that we were able (and continue) to be helpful to any and all students in academia because we all share the same struggles. As we look back to what we have done so far, we are proud of what we have produced (from group posts to individual posts and our amazing contributors) and will continue to share more of our experiences and knowledge with you guys. On a more personal level, this blog has been like an anchor for me. Having biweekly posts and meetings has provided a sense of control and comfort during times where things in my personal life may have been difficult. It has also provided me with a way to see and talk to my fellow contributors and friends, even though it’s through Zoom. While we may be a few miles or states apart, this blog has kept the people I admire the most in my life and I look forward to what’s to come.

Stephen: One year! The blog is now a year older and so are we. It has been a challenge to maintain a weekly/bi-weekly blog while most of us are working on PhDs, navigating the workforce, and trying to stay alive during a global pandemic. I could not be prouder of my fellow bloggers and friends who have made this blog possible! They are a hard working group of people who, through a diverse set of skills and opinions, put together an astounding blog that helps guide graduate and potential graduate students through graduate school and beyond. There have been a few guest contributors to the blog whose insights have been greatly appreciated. I look forward to another year with the HTH team and putting out more diverse content for our readers. 

Chelsi: This blog is something that I think we were all unsure of in the beginning. I had grandiose dreams of having a nice medium sized following to interact with, but perhaps we did not reach quite that. We had some friends who wanted to write with us and join us on this journey, though, and people from our own programs say that what we were doing was interesting and good. That kept me going and writing more, even as we all got bogged down with our work in our respective programs. An unexpected part of this blog was how much it helped me. Handling the Humanities has served as a driving force in keeping me grounded. Even as my family was sick, I was sick, someone died, friends lost their funding, and nothing seemed to be going right, I could still come back to the blog and take a moment to reflect on both the good and bad of my life and share those experiences to our few followers. I am thankful to those who have read one post and Maddie’s mom who follows all our posts for interacting and sitting in this space with us. This blog set out to help others, but I have been helped by it as well.

Frank: It’s been a lot of fun working on the blog and hopefully helpful to our readers. After one year we’ve covered a number of relevant topics though we have barely scratched the surface on everything that could be discussed about graduate school or the different perspectives on how to approach it. Looking forward to another year of great discussion. 

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