Trial by Fire – Graduate School 101

Graduate School 101

In this edition of Ideas in Progress, we sit down with two, esteemed faculty partners, Dr. Jayme Lemke and Dr. Mark LeBar to discuss our Graduate School 101 program.

As host Dr. Anthony Comegna states, deciding to enter to graduate school and complete it, is, in many ways, a “trial by fire.” As such, he’s eager to hear what initially drew doctors Lemke and LeBar to graduate school in the first place.

“I always loved ideas, always loved reading and writing…” Dr. Lemke starts. “So then when I took this comparative economic systems class and it was really focused on the difference between capitalist and communistic systems, just learning about how much this could matter for the quality of life and the quality of experience people were able to have on this planet, and how important the economic system itself and the functioning of the economy was to that, I knew I wanted to work with those ideas.”

I just couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life without doing more work in philosophy.

Dr. Mark LeBar
Dr. Mark LeBar

For Dr. LeBar, the road to graduate school was traveled twice. “So, I did [graduate school] for about a year and for a variety of reasons, decided to take a temporary break, and that temporary break turned into 13 years in the personal computer industry. But during that time, in a variety of ways, I became aware that I just could not let go of my interest in philosophy and my sense that other things that I was doing just were not meaningful in the way that I wanted them to be…. I just couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life without doing more work in philosophy.”

I think it’s very important for graduate students to be conscious about the structure of their days and weeks, and the kind of experience that they’re creating for themselves.

Dr. Jayme Lemke

With the basis for why they chose to enter into the academy down, Dr. Comegna asks about what life was like as a graduate student and what current or prospective students can expect.

“Most graduate programs leave you on a pretty long leash. So, this can be fantastic and this can be terrible because it means you can wander off and think that you’re doing your own thing, but really you just don’t know what’s going on,” says Dr. Lemke. “I think it’s very important for graduate students to be conscious about the structure of their days and weeks, and the kind of experience that they’re creating for themselves.”

Dr. Jayme Lemke

For Dr. LeBar, his time in graduate school helped to whet his appetite for philosophical study. “It was Disneyland, in the sense that I was amongst a bunch of people that were interested in doing philosophy, and the faculty really saw grad students as co-investigators and grad students treated each other that way, and we were very collaborative.”

With these types of formative experiences as graduates, it’s easy to see why both professors chose to be a part of our Graduate School 101 program and helping undergraduates prepare for a future in the academy.

Throughout the remainder of the episode, Dr. Comegna explores the topics both professors discussed as part of the event, with Dr. Lemke’s lecture having focused on graduate school preparation, diligent work ethic, and decision making, and Dr. Lebar’s having an emphasis on applying.

Continue the discussion, download this episode of Ideas in Progress and listen to previous episodes on our website, SoundCloud, or iTunes. New episodes are available every Wednesday.

Interested in graduate school? Visit our website for more information on Graduate School 101, career resources, advice, and funding opportunities.

Photo: Mimi Thian, Unsplash.com

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