Project Abstract

Graduate students face the unique challenge of having to adopt multiple roles simultaneously. In addition to their identity as a student, they are called to be researchers, teachers, coaches, or residential directors. Typically, each of these roles are characterized by unique responsibilities, requiring a different style of communication and behavior altogether. Transitioning between each role can become difficult because one never stops before the other begins. Rather, graduate students are expected to seamlessly transition between them as needed. Additionally, students hoping to go on to a Ph.D. program carry the extra weight of networking, testing, and attempting to set themselves apart as distinguished scholars, while continuing to excel in their current program. Students who wish to engage in public spheres, in addition to their required program work, must successfully navigate the challenges of time management and prioritization. Consequently, graduate teaching assistants often find themselves with a surplus of options demanding their attention and a deficit of time. Being spread so thin can lead to numerous negative effects, including identity confusion, burnout, imposter syndrome, self-doubt, and depression. Thus, this panel enters the academic conversation surrounding the Communication Theory of Identity (Hecht, Warren, Jung, & Krieger, 2005, p. 259) and expands it by using graduate students as a target population. Each panelist strives to understand how to manage these identities and provides advice on how to set personal and professional boundaries, adapt their communication to the specific role at hand, multitask, and budget their time. Such a panel is important, not only to graduate students, but to those who work with these students. It provides unique perspectives on how graduate students live lives without concrete borders and challenges audiences to engage in communication about these identities.

Graduate students encounter numerous challenges posed by the intersection of the various roles they are called upon to uphold. Learning to navigate and effectively communicate across the boundaries of each role poses a unique challenge for these students because experience and identity have not yet had time to fully take root. Therefore, graduate students face unique trials in their efforts to maintain a sense of self which must be explored.

In addition to the challenges accompanying the traditional duties of a student, graduate assistants encounter a variety of added challenges posed by the duality of their alternative positions as a teacher, coach, researcher, or residential director. Learning to navigate and effectively communicate across the boundaries of each role poses a unique challenge for graduate students because experience and identity have not yet had time to fully take root.

Conference

International Communication Association 69th Annual Convention

Dates: May 24-28, 2019

Sponsoring body: International Communication Association

Conference website: https://www.icahdq.org/page/2019Conference

Funding Type

Travel Grant

Academic College

Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business

Area/Major/Minor

Organizational Communication

Degree

M.S.

Graduation Expected

May 2020

Classification

Graduate

Name

Lou Tillson

Academic College

Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business

Beginning date of project

5-2019

End date of project

5-2019

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