by Peter Anderson
Back in September Josh MacFadyen invited me to introduce myself as the NiCHE New Scholars rep and to muse about the return to academia. Last week, with gentle prompting from Josh, I realized that it’s end of term (I’m writing this after attending my last seminar) and I hadn’t fulfilled my commitment to him. It is safe to say that the academic and work worlds have very different senses of time, each with its own rhythms.
The biggest change in returning to school is how work propagates itself. While gainfully employed, I was always able to sign off at 5pm and go home and think of other things. In grad school, on the other hand, work fills any and all time given to it. My office mates smile knowingly at the ever-growing stack of books on my desk.
Since completing my M.A. in Public History at Carleton University in 2009 I’ve worked for a couple of federal government departments. At the same time I stayed active in the history world through a small public history research consultancy and volunteering at the Bytown Museum in Ottawa.
As the 2012 federal budget cuts slowly snaked down to the operational level, I looked to return to school. Turning to a project cultivated during bike commutes to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, I applied and was accepted to undertake a social and environmental
history of the Central Experimental Farm in the Department of Geography at Queen’s University, working with NiCHE’s own Laura Cameron.
I’m excited to continue working with the NiCHE New Scholars community—we’ve had two book review discussions this term (Cronon’s Nature’s Metropolis and Armstrong & Nelles’s Wilderness and Waterpower) and we hope to discuss the research of members in the new year. There’s also been discussions of another book and even a methodology session.
If you’re interested in presenting, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and keep your eyes turned www.twitter.com/NiCHE_NS for updates!