Happy New Year - I hope you all had a restful and happy holiday season! I don't know about you, but I for one am glad 2016 is over. Anyway, during the holidays Helen and I both gave some thought to some new series to introduce here at the Cocoon. Here are a few things we hope to have in store...
Our first new series will be an Alt-Ac Workshop, a series similar to our Job-Market Boot Camp but focusing instead on providing readers guidance for pursuing careers successfully outside of academia. The series will consist of guest posts by philosophers who transitioned to non-academic careers, and will most likely include posts on topics including (but not limited to) composing a strong non-academic resume, creating a personal business, networking outside of academia, a timeline of steps one can take while in graduate school to position oneself well for a career outside of academia, and how to remain competitive for academic jobs while working outside of academia. Given the terrible state of the academic job-market, where there are far too few jobs for the number of qualified and excellent candidates, our hope is that the series will be of help. Helen and I have already begun to recruit guest contributors for the series--but please do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to contribute. As far as I am concerned, the more contributors we have, the more we can help our readers!
A second new series we hope to launch in 2017 is a Grad School Survival Guide. As long-time readers might recall, I had my grad school struggles. Like a good number of other grad students I knew, I found grad school far more challenging than I ever anticipated. Although I didn't expect grad school to be easy, a lot of unexpected things can happen in the 7-10 years one is pursuing a PhD in philosophy: from personal and health setbacks, to bad professional decisions, to not getting along with faculty advisors, to unexpected academic struggles, and so on. I ran into some of these hurdles, and didn't always face them well--and I knew others who struggled too. So, what I am hoping this new series can do is provide readers who are either in grad school now or considering it to both understand and better avoid these kinds of problems, but also successfully overcome them if they do face them. My hope is that this series will consist of guest posts by previous and current grad students, so that we can get perspectives not only of those who already made it through grad school (or perhaps in some cases those who didn't!), but also those who are currently doing well or struggling in grad school. Once again, as far as I am concerned, the more voices we have in the series, the more helpful the series is likely to be! But, in order for the series to be successful, we will need your help. Are you are previous or current grad student in philosophy who has thoughts about what it takes to be successful in grad school? If so, please consider contacting me at email@example.com to contribute to the series! [Important note: contributors can contribute anonymously]
A third, related series I hope to begin soon is a Grad School Support Group, a new series modeled after our new 'How can we help you?' series but focusing on helping grad students grapple successfully with whatever challenges they are currently facing. Basically, every several weeks I intend to open up a support group query thread where current grad students can post anonymously in the comments section about things they are struggling with, whether it is academic struggles, personal problems, struggles with mental health, struggles with publishing, getting alone with faculty in their program, the climate of their department, and so on. The rationale for this new series is simple. Judging from my own past experience as a grad student and comment threads elsewhere, many grad students have struggles or concerns about their program that they can feel helpless and alone to confront. My hope in this new series is that grad students can present their struggles and concerns, and that we can help each other grapple with those difficulties together.
Anyway, these are just a few new series we hope to launch in 2017. Do readers have ideas for new series of their own? If so, just let me know in the comments section below!
Finally, as in past years, I would also like to once again invite readers to sign up as full-time contributors. The Cocoon is, above all, a group blog--a place where early-career philosophers can discuss not only issues in the profession, but also share and discuss their work! So, please do consider signing up by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contributors can sign up either under their actual names or under a pseudonym if you don't want to disclose your identity. The Cocoon is here to help--so please do consider chipping: the more of us there are to help each other, the better!