Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Lurker goes public

Greetings, gentle readers,

I am another of Chris's blog 'interns.' I am a doctoral student doing legal history at Osgoode Hall Law School, York U., and long time fan of this blog, and Chris has kindly (?) invited me to contribute occasional guest posts. His suggestions were for reflections on graduate student life and legal history, with the proviso that the posts have to be in some way related to Canadian history, as per the blog name. (A proviso I plan to challenge, or at least problematize, in a future post.)

I confess to some trepidation. I love blogs. I could read them all day long. (Note to my supervisor: no, this is not how I spend all my time.) But to date I have only lurked, with the exception of a couple of emails sent to Chris. (I was one of the snotty readers who told him to use the advanced search option to find entries in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography online.)

When I mentioned my blog fears to a colleague, he laughed, pointing out (correctly) that I am one of the mouthiest people in any class--why be shy about blabbing all over the web?

Why indeed? Is it because of my secret identity as a lawyer--operating with 'an abundance of caution' as the saying goes? But there are lots of lawyers who blog happily--Chris included.

More likely, it's a grad student thing. As a general rule grad students like to proclaim--loudly--on the failings of our betters. We like to talk, and don't like to write, probably because writing makes you an easier target for other sophomoric critics.

Now no doubt this is not true of you, dear reader, if you are, or were, a grad student, but it is of me, I'm afraid to say. But just as we have to pay the piper by presenting our own work at conferences when we would much rather just sit and carp, so eventually do we have to put our ideas in writing and take our punches. That is if we ever want to stop being grad students (in the good way, by a successful dissertation defense.)

Unfortunately, there is none of the funding, or even credentialing (ouch!) for blogging for Chris which makes conference presenting palatable. But like so many difficult things in life, it's probably good for the soul.

And good practice. So here I go, the first day of the rest of my life as a recovering lurker and in hopes of some day being an ex-grad student (in the good way.)
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