It seems like people often start blogs and are passionate about them at first but then something comes up and they post less and less until the blog disappears into oblivion. Eventually the poster realizes that they have abandoned their site and begin writing “content coming soon” posts. Well, this is not a post to inform you that content is coming soon. Instead, this is a post that will tell you why content is not here already.
Back in August I began my first real semester of graduate school at SIUC. I had started in the summer, but I was not taking any classes or doing serious research. In fact, I took a readings class which was a simple pass/fail course and I was in charge of recording two classes, three times a week for four total hours each day. Now that I have actually begun taking relevant courses and started getting into more serious research and academic activities (I just got back from the SC11 conference in Seattle) I am finding out what life is really like as a graduate student. Not to say that I am overburdened or unable to handle the material –quite the opposite– I am just not used to this environment and getting accustomed to it has taken some time.
My time is split between being a research and a teaching assistant. As an RA I usually research ways to implement code required for our research projects. I devote the rest of my time to my teaching assistant duties in which I am responsible for having office hours that students can attend for extra help in the course as well as grading any and all assignments the students receive. The grading is by far the most demanding of my responsibilities. Learning the material is not very difficult, especially since I have taken the course prior, but being a fair grader is! I cannot count the number of times I have had to recalculate grades just to make sure I am being fair to all the students.
In any case, this semester is nearly over (only two weeks of courses remain) and after that time I will return to semi-regular posting on this blog. I already have four nearly complete posts, they only need a few touch-ups and some extra content before I decide to publish them.