Intellectual community, graduate school and placemaking

I’m more than a quarter of my way through graduate school, and even though it is winter, and workloads are high, I’m happier than I have been in a very long time. Some bigger questions have started lingering, however, and I don’t have prior experience in this particular area to look to places.

Intellectual community, or being enlivened by the people around oneself, the activities around oneself is a major component in how I see and build on my own happiness. While I had instances of this throughout my undergraduate life, and even my working life, I have thus far been unsuccessful in finding sustained intellectual community, that too, in graduate school!

I realize that many things, such as the current weather, and the unfortunate location of York is acting against my own interests. York simply has not invested or been successful in its intellectual placemaking, as I, and many others expected it should be. There is simply no school culture.

I am not sure I want to live in Toronto either after the completion of my program. It simply does not seem like a place I’m meant to stay in. I don’t think my talents are best used in this city, but what alternatives there are, I’m still not about them.

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1 thought on “Intellectual community, graduate school and placemaking”

  1. When I was in my PhD, the transient nature of graduate school precluded quite a bit of this place-making. Every 4 months there were farewell parties, welcoming parties, and people who just dis/appeared. Working in a government lab for my postdoc didn’t really help things, and we/I were academically isolated from the university (the 10-minute walk being too cumbersome in Saskatoon winters). I think it takes a considerable amount of time (a year or two?) to make a place ones own, and cultivate the relationships one wants to cultivate.

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