There is a lot asked of us as graduate students. We take classes, we read, we talk about what we read, we read some more, we work, and let’s not forget about our own personal research.  And that’s just the school side! So how does one balance all of this? As Shawn said on Monday, thinking is hard and it’s time consuming. So every once in while we need to step back and re-center ourselves in order to gain a fresh perspective.

I’m sure everyone has his or her own re-centering strategy: walking in the park, family time, watching your favorite movie, doing some yoga, baking… Personally, I craft. I’ve been sewing since I was in 3rd grade and only recently learned to knit (at the FCL retreat two years ago). There’s something to working with my hands, to reading instructions step-by-step and to knowing my end goal. The finished product is going to look like this.

There are so many ways to reflect on my crafting as a free-choice learning experience. I had interest and motivation to learn both sewing and knitting. When I’m stuck, I turn to the Internet and search for a way to solve my problem. With fellow FCL colleagues I attend a weekly knitting group that’s really nothing more than a community of practice. And, of course, there’s basic knowledge acquired over time. Will this fabric stretch when sewn? Can I knit this with that yarn?

It’s comforting knowing what the finished craft project is going to be. There might be hurdles, but each can be resolved and the project finished. Kind of sounds like grad school…