Conquer the Cold Email (Hidden Curriculum #10)

For those of you who are new here, the hidden curriculum includes a set of things we’re expected to know how to do, from attending a conference for the first time to applying for funding to going on the job market, without actually being taught them. This month’s installment is all about sending cold emails!

Raise your hand if you absolutely loathe sending emails? Raise your other hand if you especially hate cold-emailing people you’ve never met?

If you have both of your hands in the air, I bet you probably look pretty silly.

But I can tell you that I’ve been where you are, and just the thought of sending any kind of email (especially to a large audience or to someone I don’t know) gives me a little bit of anxiety.

I can also tell you that, like most things, it gets better with practice.

In this post, I’m sharing a few tips for how to make you a cold-emailing pro.

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BIPOC Feature: Najee Olya

One of the things that I wanted to do with Notes From the Apotheke was to amplify the voices and contributions of BIPOC scholars in ancient Mediterranean studies, at all levels and from all backgrounds. BIPOC in the field are invited to reflect on what brought them to studying the ancient world, as well as offer their opinions on the future of the discipline and share any work they are especially proud of or excited about.

The series is back with a much-appreciated contribution by Najee Olya, a PhD candidate in Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Virginia.

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Round-Up: Back to School

“Back to school” hits different when you’re a final year grad student…

Black woman with curly hair, dark glasses, and gold upside down U earrings wearing a black turtleneck and black cardigan. Looking at shelves full of books. Computer screen in the background.

Did you know that a common side-effect of being a PhD candidate is time blindness?

Okay, I don’t know that for sure, but I have been in this boat for a while. When you’re not teaching or taking classes, the days and weeks really start to blur together. Is it Monday? Thursday? Sunday?

The only way I keep track these days is by scheduling meetings, planning events, or being reminded that a new episode of a TV show I’m watching is on.

Usually, not knowing what day of the week it is isn’t that big of a problem. All I really need to know is whether it’s a weekday or the weekend, so I can decide whether I should be working or not.

Occasionally, I find it important to be aware of the beginning and end of the academic term. As a graduate student this helps me determine how frequently I should be in contact with my advisor and committee (more during the academic year, less in the summer). Right now, it’s also useful for deciding when to schedule my thesis defense (y i k e s).

As the person who’s running this blog, knowing when classes start is important for deciding when to get this post out.

After a nearly four-month break, I thought this was an easy way to get back into blogging.

If something feels super overwhelming, break it into small, easy steps. First step to reviving the blog? Make a round-up (or two, or three).

This month’s theme is back-to-school.

As it turns out, I’ve written a lot about pedagogy. So, I figured I’d put all those posts in one place, for folks who want to check them out before term starts.

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Treat Yo’ Self: Athens, Greece 2022

If you’re an archaeologist, the fact that you spend your summers working in a foreign country has probably often been (mis)interpreted as a leisurely vacation.

Don’t get me wrong – working in Greece for four to eight weeks of the year *is* something I am privileged to be able to experience. But it’s still work. And working five or six days a week in the heat of the day takes its toll, mentally and physically, after a while.

Many people have already recognized this, and schedule in a vacation at some point during their trip. I, on the other hand, have been coming to Greece for six summers and have not once taken any time to myself.

This year, however, I had a little extra time in Athens and thought, “Hey, what the hell? No time like the present.”

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Research Trip 101: Permits (Hidden Curriculum #9)

For those of you who are new here, the hidden curriculum includes a set of things we’re expected to know how to do, from attending a conference for the first time to applying for funding to going on the job market, without actually being taught them. This month’s installment is all about research trips since I’m on my own trip right now!

Embarking on your very first research trip can feel overwhelming. It’s a long, tedious process with a lot of moving parts – no wonder I’ve gotten so many questions about it! In this post, I’m going to help you get started on that process.

In particular, I’ll show you exactly how to start applying for study permits and contacting the museums you want to visit.

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BIPOC Features: Dora Gao

One of the things that I wanted to do with Notes From the Apotheke was to amplify the voices and contributions of BIPOC scholars in ancient Mediterranean studies, at all levels and from all backgrounds. BIPOC in the field are invited to reflect on what brought them to studying the ancient world, as well as offer their opinions on the future of the discipline and share any work they are especially proud of or excited about.

If you thought I’d forgotten about this series, think again!! Check out this month’s post by my friend and colleague Dora Gao for more on their journey to studying the ancient Mediterranean world and their thought-provoking and inspiring perspective on the field!

University of Michigan on Twitter: "@doraygao Congratulations! We can't  wait to welcome you ho〽️e!" / Twitter
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Scrivener vs Word vs Google Docs: Which is Best for Thesis Writing?

Given the choice between Scrivener, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs, which would you choose?

Institutions are pretty strict about the format in which a thesis should be submitted. However, there are no rules about what word processing application you can use during the writing process.

How you decide which application to use depends primarily on your budget, your writing style, and what features you need.

In this post, we’ll compare Scrivener, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs. We’ll go over the strengths and weaknesses of each, so that you can make the best choice for you. After that, your thesis writing process will (hopefully) be smooth sailing.

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5 More Grad School Interview Questions You Should Be Asking

Another year, another grad school interview season underway.

This is (I think) the first year that my program (archaeology) and our department (Classical Studies) have decided to go their separate ways for recruitment. Last week was the department’s; in a few weeks will be my program’s.

I figured that now was as good a time as any to breach the subject (again). In case you missed last year’s installment, you can check out the first five questions I suggested here.

Last year’s post was centered primarily around considerations for BIPOC prospective students, including questions about interdisciplinarity, DEI approaches, and institutional support.

This year I thought more about questions that dig deeper into structural issues, such as pedagogical training, time to degree, and financial support.

A quick reminder: although some questions may seem best suited for faculty interviews, don’t forget to talk to current students! Current students are just as (if not more) valuable as sources of information about grad programs. And don’t just ask younger students – talk to the older ones, too!

I promise, we don’t bite.

Now, on to the questions.

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