“I blog because of the dialogue…”

Cover Story

“I blog because of the dialogue and idea sharing.”  Crystal Ernst

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to pursue grad studies at Macdonald then have a look at the blog Grad Life where you are sure to get a feeling for the experience from a variety of McGill students who are currently studying at McGill. Our favorite bloggers are Mac students Crystal Ernst, a third-year PhD candidate in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, and Erick Delaquis, a second-year Master’s student in the Department of Plant Science.

This year’s Principal’s Report featured a piece on Crystal, and as one of twenty-one “Grad Life” bloggers for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Crystal writes about her research on her own blog (“The Bug Geek”) and contributes to other entomology sites.

One day she might pose a query relating to her research. Or post photos of pseudoscorpions collected during fieldwork along the remote Dempster Highway. Or share a cheeky graph documenting the ups and downs of her paper-writing process. “Sure, it’s a platform for talking about what I’m interested in,” Crystal says, “but it’s definitely a two-way process. I blog because of the dialogue and idea sharing.” She’s had readers from around the world forward relevant journal articles, relate their own experiences, and just write to say how refreshing it is to know that someone else shares their academic struggles. “There’s an idea that grad students should just sit at lab benches and churn out papers. But I really think that blogging – and other outreach activities – enhance our own skill sets as well as provide benefits to audiences, especially outside academic communities.” In just two years, Grad Life has grown to become the most visited McGill blog. Its twenty-one talented student contributors write on topics ranging from research progress to time management, to balancing study with a healthy lifestyle.

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