Anne Young, Writer and Instructor

Anne Young, Writer and Instructor

BY: Catherine Nygren

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Anne YoungAnne’s dissertation in English focused on the image of the fatal woman as a supernatural double in Gothic fiction. Her experience with her supervisor was very positive, and he encouraged professionalization activities, such as conferences in her field. Although she expected a competitive atmosphere coming into grad school, everyone’s devotion to their research interests led instead to a vibrant and warm environment.

For funding, Anne held the standard four-year package offered in her department. During the term, she was a teaching assistant, often in classes related to her field. She appreciated the variety of TA experiences, ranging from in-class time with students to just grading, which allowed her time for her own research. As an MA student, she had had the opportunity to teach her own composition course, so she felt comfortable TAing, but she appreciated observing the strategies of her professors, which continue to influence her own pedagogy. During the summers, Anne worked as a research assistant, doing proofreading, archival research, and scanning work, as well as a freelance tutor: these positions saved her from other summer jobs that might have been more distracting from her work.

Due to careful planning and helpful feedback from her supervisor and second reader, Anne finished her degree in four years and one term, just after her funding ended. The final semester was a tense time financially, but a bursary from the Society of Graduate Students contributed greatly to covering her cost of living.

Following her degree, Anne initially picked up editing and tutoring work, as well as a waitressing position. She then took on a contract at one of her alma mater’s affiliate colleges. As a late hire, she had to figure out the material and course design very quickly, but a repeat course the next term allowed her to further develop the class’s design.

She applied for similar contract positions in the university and college systems, but nothing worked out: even non tenure-track positions are becoming increasingly competitive. She worked at a writing centre for a couple days a week during the school year, but as the term ended, so did that position. She describes her work currently as a homemaker: although she would like to teach or work at the writing centre again, her partner’s stable position means that she doesn’t have to go back to waitressing, and she has stopped hunting for jobs in other cities. She is also working on her own writing, both academic and creative, including translating her dissertation into her first book project.

Reflecting on her PhD, Anne appreciates the new opportunities for professionalization in graduate programs, but she is concerned about the drive of alt-ac professionalization diminishing the original motivations for graduate school, like the enjoyment of teaching and research. Proposals to revamp aspects of the degree to look beyond the academy take away from the research focus of the PhD, and there are, after all, other professional degrees for more career-focused outcomes.

Anne YoungAnne’s dissertation in English focused on the image of the fatal woman as a supernatural double in Gothic fiction. Her experience with her supervisor was very positive, and he encouraged professionalization activities, such as conferences in her field. Although she expected a competitive atmosphere coming into grad school, everyone’s devotion to their research interests led instead to a vibrant and warm environment.

For funding, Anne held the standard four-year package offered in her department. During the term, she was a teaching assistant, often in classes related to her field. She appreciated the variety of TA experiences, ranging from in-class time with students to just grading, which allowed her time for her own research. As an MA student, she had had the opportunity to teach her own composition course, so she felt comfortable TAing, but she appreciated observing the strategies of her professors, which continue to influence her own pedagogy. During the summers, Anne worked as a research assistant, doing proofreading, archival research, and scanning work, as well as a freelance tutor: these positions saved her from other summer jobs that might have been more distracting from her work.

Due to careful planning and helpful feedback from her supervisor and second reader, Anne finished her degree in four years and one term, just after her funding ended. The final semester was a tense time financially, but a bursary from the Society of Graduate Students contributed greatly to covering her cost of living.

Following her degree, Anne initially picked up editing and tutoring work, as well as a waitressing position. She then took on a contract at one of her alma mater’s affiliate colleges. As a late hire, she had to figure out the material and course design very quickly, but a repeat course the next term allowed her to further develop the class’s design.

She applied for similar contract positions in the university and college systems, but nothing worked out: even non tenure-track positions are becoming increasingly competitive. She worked at a writing centre for a couple days a week during the school year, but as the term ended, so did that position. She describes her work currently as a homemaker: although she would like to teach or work at the writing centre again, her partner’s stable position means that she doesn’t have to go back to waitressing, and she has stopped hunting for jobs in other cities. She is also working on her own writing, both academic and creative, including translating her dissertation into her first book project.

Reflecting on her PhD, Anne appreciates the new opportunities for professionalization in graduate programs, but she is concerned about the drive of alt-ac professionalization diminishing the original motivations for graduate school, like the enjoyment of teaching and research. Proposals to revamp aspects of the degree to look beyond the academy take away from the research focus of the PhD, and there are, after all, other professional degrees for more career-focused outcomes.

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