The Value of Failure in Graduate School

My husband suggested once that I have lunch with a friend. She was a graduate student, and struggling in the program. “Did you tell her I almost quit?” I asked. “Oh, yeah,” my husband said. “That is why I thought you should talk with her.” Graduate school is one of the hardest things I have ever [Read More…]

Counting the Cost of a History PhD

I still remember the day I got the letter. Five full years of support, including an additional first year award, for my top choice in history graduate school–The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I ran so fast to my undergraduate professor’s office to tell him the good news, that I tripped and spilled [Read More…]

A Pastor’s Quick Guide to Reliable Historical Research

A friend of mine was preparing his sermon. We happened to be at the same social function, and so he casually asked me what I knew about medieval illuminations (i.e. fireworks). To be honest, I didn’t know much. From my years of teaching world history I knew that gunpowder and fireworks had originated in Asia and [Read More…]

Being a Historian

James Banner’s Being a Historian: An Introduction to the Professional World of History should be required reading for every first-year student enrolled in a history graduate program.  There is no other book like it. Banner is a history veteran.  He taught at Princeton from 1966 to 1980 and then left to start the American Association [Read More…]