Graduate Student Corner: Graduate Student Representative – Kate Thomas
Time is a Flat Circle
I always enjoy writing this column on behalf of my fellow SITAR graduate students, and it is particularly exciting to be writing on the heels of another great conference. This year in Toronto, student representation and involvement continued to be a mainstay of the weekend, with students and post-doctoral fellows presenting the majority of paper and poster presentations. Our group of about forty also enjoyed having a drink and overtaking the top half of the local Queen and Beaver bar while enjoying conversations with both of our keynote speakers, Geoff MacDonald and Tom Hollenstein. Overall I think one of the most exciting aspects of the annual SITAR conference for students is the extent to which their involvement is vital and valued.
It has been a privilege to write or help coordinate this column over the last two years; however, as I have been recently reminded, my clock as SITAR’s Graduate Student Representative has finished ticking. So as I vacate the student role in my life, it is also time for me to vacate this position. One of the things that continues to strike me most about the end of chapters the extent to which they often feel more like beginnings. Rather than focus on what is behind, I mostly see new and yet familiar challenges ahead. I am reminded of the strange feeling that can accompany sudden shifts from senior and familiar roles to somewhat new positions where we start on the bottom of the totem pole and hope it doesn’t take too long to learn which way is up. As I reflect on this transition, and on how so many of my endings have seemed to lead me back to familiar beginnings, I keep considering Nietzsche’s idea that “time itself is a circle.” Although not perhaps precisely what he meant when he said this, I continue to resonate with the idea that many endings often lead to new and familiar beginnings. And perhaps I admittedly also just enjoy quotations about time and circles.
In the spirit of going back in time to move forward, I would like to direct potentially unfamiliar students and members of SITAR to a column written by Chris Hopwood just as he transitioned out of his role as a student. I often re-read this piece as a road map and a reminder of how to succeed in graduate school, and I think the advice it contains is timelines for ambitious graduate students at any stage. The article, from the 2008, volume 9(1) issue, can be found at the following link.