5 Lessons from Teaching Undergrads

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Answers to the Map Quiz – Apparently Disney World Africa Exists

I have always enjoyed teaching but after this semester I know this is what I want to do for rest of my life. Having taught in 3 different ountries, this is the first semester I was teaching at a large state university in the US with a class size of over 65. 85 students to be exact. I thought I share the top 5 lessons I have learned from this experience as I want to start a conversation on the best practices so teachers can contribute and learn from it. So as a start, I am sharing my lessons. Continue reading 5 Lessons from Teaching Undergrads

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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

Road to Routines

ImageThere was a time when I enjoyed being spontaneous and basically winging anything and everything. This approach worked for me most of my life that was until I got to graduate school. The first semester I tried my level best to continue my approach to life which was basically to walk in with confidence and wing it while simultaneously hoping no one notices it. I failed miserably.

I tried everything; being productive in short bursts of a few days, writing papers based on meta analysis, talking to my class fellows and collecting info from them, even dedicating two full days a week to just catch up on stuff. Turns out, you cannot really catch up on stuff; all you can do is keeping up. If you by any chance cannot keep up, consider it as a lost cause. Continue reading Road to Routines

My Future Band

My Future Band

Now only if I could learn how to play an instrument… then we are all set

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