10 Ideas from Community Day

NFL preseason football is dreadful, regardless of affiliation. Aside for the obvious reasons, it’s a signal that summer’s winding down. And SU has its own preseason to be mindful of in mid August: the Minus One week, the week before classes. But rather than getting tangled in WCOnline schedules, planning consultant meetings, or generally solving logistical admin clusterfucks this year, I was privileged to huddle with the whole CCR contingent for Community Day, contribute to a thoughtful professional development workshop on WRT 307 (our professional writing course), and attend the Writing Program’s annual fall conference (“The Writing Program: A Quarter Century”), which celebrated 25 years of independence. While I have stuff to say about the latter two, I want to comment briefly on Community Day, which this year was subtitled, “Beyond Subsistence.”

The essence of CCR Community Day, which is held the Monday before fall classes every year, was summarized best as a “collective pep talk” by the always witty Becky Howard. Renditions of graduate study circulated as stories of self pity, celebration, admonition and promotion were (re)cycled by veteran students and faculty. But when I look back at my notes for the day, I’m struck by some of pithy snips that have been sticking with me ever since. Here are 10.

  1. Consider “the necessity of a generous disposition,” by being mindful of what pushes us or bothers us, or by thinking of why we’re reliant on certain theories or histories. (Berry)
  2. “Don’t think of grad school as just a step” (Berry). Or, “This is real life. Endless deferment is not good” (Schell).
  3. “STOP reading linearly” (Howard).
  4. “I have always flourished in collectives … You are intellectually stronger collectively … There are always other people going through similar shit. (Parks).
  5. “You have to be open to allowing the future to unfold” (Agnew). Or, you are not always the better candidate; sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time (Watson).
  6. Always be on the prowl for a study party (Watson and Navikas).
  7. Lean on those who came before you (Ostrander).
  8. What a difference a year makes (Doughtery).
  9. Talk through your different ideas (with mentors) to figure out how to make sense of them. Don’t pre-assess endlessly (Caton/Schell).
  10. Different faculty offer different relationships (Luce).