As we approach the beginning of fall, the students in the Food Studies department at Chatham University also greet the beginning of a new semester. After an exciting summer for many of the returning students, we also welcome the fourth cohort to the FST program! A big cheers to the members of the third cohort who planned and executed a great orientation for our newbies.
What’s on the agenda for the fall 2013 semester? Well, as our fearless leader, Alice Julier, puts it:
“FALL SEMESTER ROLLING IN ANY MINUTE: what’s in store includes apple harvest/reading day, new product development with Wigle whiskey, the most amazing Pittsburgh food landscape class ever, goats and dairy, community research, movies, canning with the incredible Nancy Hanst, and hops harvest… oh, and maybe a few classes and books to be read.“
If that’s not enough to convince you that this program is about more than reading and writing papers, then nothing will!
The third cohort members are starting to feel like professionals at this ‘grad student’ thing (it’s true, our classes actually broke out into class discussion the first day), so here’s some advice from us to the newest editions to the program:
1. Systems, Access and Research Methods are meant to push you. Don’t let it get the best of you. There will be times you feel like you’re in over you head. Don’t worry – you’re not. That’s why you have class discussion, but DO THE READING.
2. Seriously, professors in this department do not assign readings for fun. They assign them to build your knowledge base and to start class discussion. You don’t want to be out of the loop, so skim, skim, skim. Pick up basic concepts, and throw out ideas in class – even if you think it’s stupid/crazy.
3. That last part is true – there’s really no such thing as a stupid or crazy question in the Food Studies department. We all come here with different backgrounds and knowledge bases. The first semester strives to put us all on the same playing field.
4. We’re happy to lend an ear to you. Feeling like you need to talk? Grab a third cohort member for a coffee. We don’t bite, promise. We have some experience, and we’re a year into the program, so we can be pretty insightful.
5. Talk to your adviser when you have questions about what classes you should be taking/what you’re interested in studying. They’re great at listening, which makes them all great advisers.
6. Explore Pittsburgh! It’s a great city, and things are always going on, so make sure you don’t get stuck in the library while you should be out having fun!
And when all else fails, just remember….. you’re in grad school now (http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/what-grad-school-is-really-like).