I am from the Department of English. I completed my MA in English in January 2023. I started the program in January 2021. I spent most of my time during the last two years (January 2021–January 2023) at the Humanities Innovation Lab (Digital Humanities Lab). I will always remember the lab because the people there are always creative, communicative and supportive. I may need more adjectives to describe how good they are.
The most favorable time of the week was our weekly lab meeting. It was a 90-minute session usually held on Monday or Tuesday with formal and informal discussions about academic progress. We, all members of the lab, were asked the following three magic questions:
What were you doing in the last week?
What are you doing this week?
Do you need anything from the lab?
The impact of those questions was huge. These implied many things: personal, academic, professional, developmental, educational, or anything else a person requires as a student. All lab members, including supervisors, talked and shared what we were doing for weeks.
The lab also facilitated weekly presentations from its members. Dr. Nathan Woods, a postdoctoral fellow, managed the lab efficiently. We could present our academic issues in formal presentations as per the lab schedule, or we could even directly involve other members, including my supervisors, in what they were thinking about those issues. These lecture sessions were helping us and preparing us for future work. To give you a complete idea, I can mention that I presented my draft thesis chapters four times before my actual thesis defense. For me, the lab meeting was fruitful and effective.
Professor Daniel Paul O’Donnell and Dr. Barbara Bordalejo worked tirelessly, and they appreciated the efforts we were putting in to keep ourselves updated with the recent academic discussions. Dr. Bordalejo had a careful eye and gave feedback word by word. You know how difficult it is when you are attending three graduate courses and also attending other courses as a TA. Professor Daniel O'Donnell always inspired me when I fell behind by saying, “No worries. It’s the process. It's the North American way.”
I am so happy that Dr. Woods was always helpful. We, the graduate students, discussed our academic problems with Dr. Woods and asked him for feedback. Dr. Woods was generous in giving us time and suggesting a way out. For myself, when I presented my thesis for the first time, it took me almost 50 minutes to talk without finishing the topic meaningfully. Dr. Nathan came with tips and advice to finish the presentation within 15 minutes. Practically, I was able to complete it within 20 minutes.
The weekly lab meetings were not part of the university courses. With me, I am carrying the team efforts and the assertive views of the supervisors and the lab members.
Long live the Humanities Innovation Lab!