Yes, yes, the cliché rings true. I’ve been relatively silent over the past few weeks, and this blog post is both a procrastination technique (shh, don’t tell my professors) and a necessary update for you all on what it’s like to be a graduate student here in IEDP at Penn.

The number of hats I’m wearing, while keeping my head warm as the cold fall weather approaches (though today is mad warm), is the excuse for my reticence, so I’ll spotlight them for us all to redirect the blame:

The Penn IEDP student hat:

This is a tricky one to pin down, exactly, other than noting the consistency with which I find myself with a (growing) lists of tasks to complete. Naturally, there are many components to being an IEDP student, from assignments and getting to know the cohort, to attending classes and readings (oh, so many readings).

With the foray into October came a whole lot of assignments and projects to work on. So far, I’ve had to complete: 2 concept notes (one individual, one group) for Proseminar; a logic model and STATA analysis for M&E; a reading presentation for 514; weekly syntheses of readings (including whole books) and a book review for my language diversity in education class. And more to come!

Another aspect of the program that we’ve encountered significantly in recent weeks has been issues of race and cohort unity. This deserves a post itself, so I’ll reserve comments for now. Just know it’s been an important issue being navigated here.

The Graduate Assistant (GA) hat:

So I actually have four hats within this one. I work as the main blog writer (obviously), and I also manage our program’s YouTube channel by both creating videos and filming the IEDP lecture series. I also help another GA, Anushka, edit and distribute the weekly events and monthly newsletter blasts. On top of that, I assist Dr. Wagner in writing op-eds to be distributed to news outlets, with the goal of expanding his social media presence. Some tasks get done more often than others out of necessity, but it hasn’t been too much of a strain on my schedule. I also find it to be a fantastic way to integrate myself into and interact with IEDP in a productive way. Interviewing the cohort has been the most fun, and being involved in the weekly events gives me a fortuitous heads-up on the goings-on at Penn. Being a GA ain’t too bad, guys.

The Work-Study hat:

On top of it all, I do work-study off campus at a think tank organization as an office administrator/assistant to the President. Even though I’m often in front of a desk waiting to answer a call, I do find that it allows me time to complete some readings. Besides, getting a paycheck every week is both necessary and welcomed.

You may be wondering about my work-life balance. Personally, I don’t believe in that concept, but I do find myself at times having to sacrifice a reading to get enough sleep from time to time. It’s a process, guys, and I’m learning that priorities need to be established. So while I work on that, I’m just going to listen to “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars (my current jam) and get back to reading. Cheers.