Building an Online Presence – A Beginner’s Guide

social-networksHow do you become relevant? How do you get your name out there? How do you get your opinion heard?

These are some of the questions I get asked almost on a daily basis now. My colleagues, acquaintances and even strangers seem to be getting more interested in finally building a proper online presence. Especially in the world of academia, getting your name out is crucial. It can not only land you a job eventually but it can help build a public persona that is more valuable than a permanent position at times (think positions like adviser to think tanks and media houses, both of which pay significantly better than an academic position). Based on this growing interest in building a brand name for ourselves, I thought I would do a special post starting with a quick guide to building an online presence. Continue reading Building an Online Presence – A Beginner’s Guide

Book Review: Theories of International Politics and Zombies

IMG_20140503_024656This is a variation of the book review I wrote for my Graduate Course in International Politics. The work I submitted is similar to this but is way more formal. I originally wrote this to submit but then realized it may back fire big times.  So, instead of getting rid of this, I am posting it here for all of you to enjoy. 

* The book is available online at Princeton University Press and at Amazon*

 Every now and then there is a book that plays on fantasy to makes you question reality. Daniel Drezner’s Theories of International Politics and Zombies is that book. Easily one of the most creative books written on politics in the recent past, IP & Zombies takes serious theories and mixes them with pop culture references to build an argument that is fun to read and easy to understand. Taking on the recent obsession with everything undead, Drezner makes zombies the basis for an intriguing discussion on political theories in the times of the undead. Continue reading Book Review: Theories of International Politics and Zombies

4 Pieces of Advice for Every Political Scientist

@StateAs part of the 6th Annual Graduate Conference at my department, we had Dr. Irfan Nooruddin give a key note address. Dr. Irfan Nooruddin is one of the most sought after and respected comparativists in political science academia. So it is little wonder that he is leaving Ohio State this fall to take up the role of endowed chair of Indian Studies at Georgetown in Washington, DC.

His keynote was essentially the most honest summary of what we all attempt to do and what we need to learn to do it better. It made such a profound impact on me that I decided to share his words with all of you. Continue reading 4 Pieces of Advice for Every Political Scientist

5 Lessons from 1st Semester of Grad School

Now that I am done with the first semester of Graduate School, I thought it would be a good idea to go over what I have learned so far. Chances are most of you will relate to most of these things and please do feel free to add more in the comments section.

Graduates1. You are not as smart as you think you are

This is the first thing that you learn in Grad School. We all assume that because we did great in undergraduate studies and did well on our GRE/GMAT to get here, that somehow it automatically means that we will completely rock grad school. Thing is what most of us forget is that, that whole effort was to get us this far, and from here on wards we start on a new journey which requires a whole new level of effort and commitment.

Think of it this way, it is like you get to a new city and you get out of the airport and to continue your journey on wards you need to go catch a train. You will go through cab rides, mass transit or whatever else is available to you to get to the train station. From the train station you will start a whole new journey. Undergraduate is the process of getting to the Train Station; Grad School is the process that eventually takes you to your final destination; two very separate types of journeys with different set of challenges. Continue reading 5 Lessons from 1st Semester of Grad School

Winter Recipes: Baked Chips

When I am not reading or writing papers, most of my time is spent cooking. For some twisted reason, I have always found cooking to be relaxing and a great way to take my mind off studies. So now that I am off for the Thanksgiving break, I thought about sharing a few simple recipes with you guys so that you can have fun food too. Given that in Grad School there is hardly time to spend preparing intricate dishes, I try and work with recipes which are quick, simple and ensure that I would not have to end up eating junk food. Continue reading Winter Recipes: Baked Chips

Why a good night’s sleep is a Grad Student’s best friend

Be Like Homer.... At least Sleep wise
Be Like Homer…. At least Sleep wise

One thing everyone struggles with in Grad School is sleep. All of us, at one time or another end up having a problem with our sleeping schedule. Initially it is not that big of a deal as the sleep gets delayed a couple of times a week but we tell ourselves that we will catch up on it over the weekend.

Problem is this becomes a routine over a period of time and then we are stuck in a cycle where we are perpetually not getting enough sleep while trying to cope with university and private life in a very stressful environment. This already bad situation gets worse when exams or deadlines come closer. In most cases, we somehow manage and get through it all while forgetting the damage our body is taking in the process. Continue reading Why a good night’s sleep is a Grad Student’s best friend

How to Apply to Grad School

Emory University
Emory University

Applying to graduate school, especially for international students, is a daunting task. In most cases, the schools are not really forthcoming with specifics regarding the sort of GRE/GMAT scores and GPAs that would get a candidate admitted. This is even worse when it comes to the available financial aid and what sort of a candidate profile is needed to avail that opportunity. The schools have a reason they do this; they do not want to limit the applicant pool by giving a bottom line as that could also potentially bring down the prestige of the school.  Continue reading How to Apply to Grad School

Why You Need To Learn to Ask For Help[Crown]-Keep-Calm-And-Ask-For-HelpFor some reason we tend to avoid asking for help. It is one of those things we are all guilty of doing. On multiple occasions when I needed help, I shied away from asking for it. The reasons vary situation to situation; sometimes we do not want to ask for help because it is an ego issue, other times we are just too ashamed to ask for it and sometimes there is no one to ask.

But if one is to pursue graduate studies and live the cursed life of a graduate student, not asking for help is a habit that needs to be gotten rid off as soon as possible. Because the harsh reality of life is, those of us in Grad School will spend most of our time asking our professors, colleagues and even friends to help us out with one thing or another simply because it is a learning process and it cannot work without seeking our answers to stuff we do not know. And this is a lesson I learned the hard way when I started out my first semester. Continue reading Why You Need To Learn to Ask For Help

Is Grad Life For You?

523014_10150889830082564_1662008603_aThe decision to pursue graduate education is probably one of the most important decisions anyone would take in their life time. Grad School is nothing like Undergrad life. It is not as fun and there is just a lot more at stake.

Unfortunately in most countries, most developing countries to be specific, pursuing Grad education is something that needs to be done and is not really a choice. In such a case most of the people who start grad school continue their undergrad mind set which is focused on getting grades and passing courses. The problem is that is exactly what Graduate School is not. It is not about the grades, it is not about having a high GPA and it is not even about attendances. Grad School is about what you want to learn and how you plan to use that learning to improve yourself as a person, as a job candidate and as a member of the society. Continue reading Is Grad Life For You?