Academic Tyra

Being Working Class in the Academy

Quick Question:image

What do figure skating and academia have in common? 


True Dat. 

But according to Jacqui Shine’s essay  ”Love on Ice: What Tonya Harding Teaches Us About the Academy” both fields also: 

share a reliance on the narrative that those who reach the upper echelons are the best and most deserving, because they exemplify the combination of love, talent, and discipline that success requires.

Sounds like another industry we know…


Working-class academics learn to dress differently, to speak differently, to develop different interests and tastes—ones that conform to expectations and signal that we belong.

As a result, Shine says:

I’ve learned that “having a cup of coffee” does not mean that one is enjoying a steaming mug of Taster’s Choice, that most everyone’s jeans cost more than $20, that not having a passport is unsophisticated. I learned to change some of my habits and to react silently and invisibly when faced with a gap in my knowledge. I learned, in short, to perform my role. 


What do you think? How does this performance shape your experiences? Read more here.  

On Depression and Academia (with GIFs!)

Hey there.

This is from Isa, one-half of AcademicTyra. I’ve been off tumblr for a few months, so props to Megan for keeping us going!!


I’ve just been feeling shitty, you know? 


I mean, I’ve felt crappy in graduate school before but now I’m all:


and every time I leave the house I’m justimage

No fun. Anyway, just wanted to share (this is tumblr, after all) and also point you to an excellent article in the Chronicle Vitae by our Smithie friend Jacqui Shine on depression and academia.


You should read it then come back here and share your stories. Are you depressed? How do you manage? What’s up with you, boo? 

That special moment when a cis dude gets that patriarchy hurts dudes, too, and that feminism can be for anybody


…and that “anybody” takes into account the racist, classist, colonialist, heterosexist legacies of certain strands of feminism…

cardinal-signs asked: Hey AcademicTyra! Another Smith alum here. I'm starting the process of applying to Master's in Social Work programs, but I don't know ANYONE who's applied to MSW programs. I'm having a really hard time figuring out how strong of a candidate I am and how to go about writing the personal statements. Would you guys happen to know anyone who's applied to MSW programs recently who I could get in contact with to ask advice? Thanks! Your blog is awesome, by the way. - Smithie '11

Today’s response brought to you in part by fellow Smith alum and current student at Smith School for Social Work:

For writing the personal statement:

"I would say, just like applying to any program, take a look at their mission statement and their program to get a clue for what they’re looking for (some MSW programs are very research/policy based, some are macro, some are clinical, some will give you the option to explore all of those), and then mold/present whatever experience you do have in that light. Mostly I think that they want to know a person can look at the world with a relational and critical eye…For example, if all your experience is answering phones, how did that start your interest in social justice work?"


Anyone looking into grad programs should get on their undergrad school’s alum listservs, join groups on LinkedIn, put requests for info out on Facebook, etc. In general, don’t be afraid to call/email randos and ask for informational interviews! That said, most schools have a way of continuing to work with alums. Smith in particular has the School of Social Work, “and as a Smith alum they could arrange an informational meeting with someone from SSW.” Even if that’s not the (grad) school for you, it is a useful place to get started. Hit up that network!


If you want to get in touch with alums directly, send us a message with your email and we’ll pass it on to some fellow Smithie social workers. They didn’t necessarily volunteer this service, so no promises, but we’re happy to try!

Good luck! We <3 Smithie social workers!! xoxo