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Rodenbaugh: Grad students are a part of the campus community too

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board. 

This week is graduate student appreciation week. To honor the occasion, this column is in support of grad students everywhere, but especially at CSU, who are often the unsung heroes of the university system. Every day, grad students teach, grade, assist students, assist professors, and advance research in their fields. They do this despite the fact that it can mean putting in brutal hours, for little pay, and little thanks.

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Grading and Teaching
Many of the graduate students on campus are also teaching assistants on campus. Graduate teaching assistants grade the work of undergraduates and often teach classes. I am one of these students, as I teach recitation sections of JTC 300-Professional and Technical Writing and grade the work of these students. That’s an additional time commitment to ensure that grades arrive to students in a timely fashion, student needs are responded to either via email or by meeting face to face, and that I get face time with students, plan lessons, lectures and activities for students, and teach on Fridays.

Advancing University Research
One of the primary responsibilities for graduate students is adding to a body of research that helps advance university findings and give greater context to the world around us. This is especially important to students earning science degrees.

Dedication and Devotion to their Studies
On the whole, graduate students go in for an advanced degree because they have a lot of intellectual curiosity about their subject and have an excellent work ethic. Graduate students balance coursework that is often unparalleled in effort to that of undergraduate courses, while often holding down second jobs and teaching for the university. You can bet that often times, graduate level students are the first to arrive on campus and the last to leave for the day.

Despite the various reasons that graduate students are essential to campus, they are often left out of the conversation on campus around student issues, are underrepresented by ASCSU, and often don’t come to mind when thinking about the overall campus environment.

That needs some reconsideration, considering how essential grad students are to the overall ecosystem of CSU.

So remember to thank your graduate teaching assistant, ask a graduate researcher about their work, and include them in conversations about campus. You never know what they may be able to teach you, contribute to a conversation, or what input they might add on the overall university environment.

Digital Production Manager Mikaela Rodenbaugh can be reached at letters@collegian and online at @Mikarodenbaugh

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