Here at Iowa State, much like at other US universities, graduate students often get an office in which to work. The higher of a rank of grad student that you are the more elaborate the office usually. In my case, I actually share an office with four other people. Two of whom I’ve yet to see. As you can imagine, this makes for a very utilitarian office space.
I don’t want anyone to think that I am complaining. Far from it! I initially didn’t think that I was going to be getting a desk at all so the fact that I have this little haven on campus is fantastic! I’ve also seen some other graduate student offices and this one is considered spacious and positively posh by the standards of that department. To give you an idea, it was so tight in that office that in order for one person to get out of their seat, the person behind them had to scoot all the way in under their desk. This office by comparison has lots of space, A/C, a printer, and a little tiny fridge to stash Mountain Dews in!
My desk is right by the window which I adore. Not only is this prime houseplant position, but it also makes it easy to work without a light on.
Anyone who knows me well would be able to identify that desk as mine. Why?
African violets on the windowsill. Mountain Dew on the desk. And sheep on top of the computer. The subway cup ironically is not mine exactly. I fished it out of the garbage and use it to water the violets.
Some may ask why we get offices at all. Well, a lot of graduate students in US universities help professors teach undergraduate classes. It is a sort of training to become professors themselves. As such, they are required to have office hours where students can seek them out for assistance with the class. It would be really rather unprofessional to have students meet you at your apartment or home or some random place on campus. This is also part of the reason why doctoral candidates get better digs than we do. Often they are actually teaching classes entirely. Plus they are just higher up on the food chain!
I hope to do more snapshots of my life like this. I know that a lot of people have never gotten a good look into a modern US university and have no idea what life is like in one. So I want to share just little snapshots of what “normal” looks like from my view!