First Day of Graduate School

Woo! Yesterday I had my first day of graduate school and it was amazing!

For awhile I’d been worried that I wouldn’t like going back to school once the semester started. All of those worries went away once I stepped out of my car onto campus.

I unfortunately arrived late to my first class. I live in Davis and driving to Sacramento has never taken this long in the past.

I thought I’d budgeted enough for rush hour traffic. I guessed the time accurately except for the time to leave the freeway.

Everyone and their mother wanted to get off the freeway at the Howe Ave exit right by Sacramento State.

Next time I go in the morning I’ll get off at an earlier exit and dodge all that traffic. Hopefully that will get me to school with time to spare.

Anyways! I got approved to be a TA in a lab course which meets Tuesday mornings. This semester I’m in training, but in the future I’ll be paid.

The lab class is a GE fulfilling course, so its filled with students who are not biology majors.

The course is also taught by my graduate adviser, which is a huge plus. We’ll get to know more about each through teaching together which will help a lot later in the graduate school process.

I assisted the students with a simple discussion lab which tried to define what life is.

After the discussion each student took a sterile swabbed and rubbed it on something before rubbing it on a petri dish. Whatever they rubbed onto it will grow over the week and we can take a look at it next Tuesday.

When the lab finished I walked around campus. I found the bookstore, the activities fair (no I don’t want to join a fraternity), the student union, and the library. I at my lunch on the quad and then went to read in the library til my next class.

I have two other classes on Tuesday. The first was about how to be a better TA. I met the other students and the teacher told us a little bit about herself, her teaching style, and some resources we could use to improve ourselves as teachers.

My last class, Molecular Biology, was in the same room as the class on how to be a TA. I was surprised when the teacher walked in because I recognized him!

The teacher for my Molecular Biology class is also the post-doc who works in the same worm lab as me at Davis!

It was a pretty cool coincidence. Apparently he had already known for awhile, but hadn’t told me yet.

I was unfortunately the only person who consistently raised my hand to answer questions in his class. I’m hoping that will change in the future. Maybe everyone else was just shy because they hadn’t met the instructor yet.

At the end of the day the instructor and I discussed carpooling together.

Turns out that won’t work because he lives in Sacramento and I live in Davis. At the end of the day we want to be in different places.

Altogether it was a great day. I loved being back on campus as a student and as a teacher. I love learning and helping other people learn. I’m looking forward to the next two or three years at Sac State!

-Mister Ed

Meeting on the Alexander Paper

One of the few realistic drawings of Larry Gonick depicting Alexander the Great capturing the Sogdian Rock.
One of Larry Gonick’s few realistic drawings¬†depicting Alexander the Great capturing the Sogdian Rock.

Today I talked with the Classics professor who has been helping me with the paper I’ve been writing on Alexander the Great.

I finished the final edits on my paper for resubmission and I wanted to go over them with a professional.

We made a few more minor edits and I will resubmit once I pull all the copies together, make a CD copy, a new cover letter, etc.

I wanted to talk about how the submission process works for papers in academic articles.

First you submit whatever they require to the editor. The Journal of Popular Culture (JPC) that I’m submitting to wants three hard copies of the paper, a CD copy, a cover letter, and a return envelope.

The editor reads the paper to ensure the topic matches what the journal is about and isn’t horribly written. The JPC wouldn’t publish a paper on math theory for example.

If the paper is on topic it is sent out to two or three professionals in the field. These professionals are often professors of that topic.

The professionals review the paper and give their recommendation to the editor.

The recommendations come in four different flavors.

First, they can reject outright. The paper is rejected and will not be accepted ever.

Second, they can reject but ask for a resubmission. This is what I got. It’s also the most common response to any paper.

Third, they can accepted with a few edits. This is for when a few words are misspelled or there’s a grammar mistake.

Fourth, they can accept without any additional work needed. This rarely happens the first time a paper that is submitted to an academic journal.

I got reviewed by two people. One accepted it as is (AWESOME!) and one rejected it, asking me to resubmit after I’d removed some generalizations I’d made.

So now I resubmit. The editor will look at it again.

The editor will decide which reviewers to send it out to a second time. She could pick the same two as before, only one from before, or new people.

That’s up to her though. For now, I just have to get it in the mail!

-Mister Ed