Comments 4

#phdlife: On Adopting a Dog & How Instagram Makes Academic Life Easier

We adopted an adorable pit bull rescue on Valentine’s Day and it was only a matter of time before she somehow made her way onto the blog. And believe it or not, bringing her into our family has helped my academic life in myriad ways, from minimizing study-induced back pain and loneliness to off-time full of unlimited cuddles and kisses.

Adopting a pup also means I’ve discovered the world of pet-friendly Instagram (if you’re the sort that follows doggies, she’s @raven_puppie), which is one of the most supportive communities I have ever been part of and one that makes the copious use of emojis that I’ve been desiring from everyone in my normal life. (Seriously. Why aren’t you guys texting me multi-colored hearts and snoozy faces all the time?) These doggie mamas and papas are ever present to tell my girl that she’s cute and special and that she’s part of a caring community of dogs and owners committed to animal kindness for all breeds and types, especially hers, one so often maligned.

And so, as I’ve engaged for the first time with an online community of amazing strangers, I want to find (or create!) such a place for those of us flying and slogging, skipping and trudging through the day-to-day life that is getting a doctorate or other graduate degree. Call it a waste of time, but taking a pretty photo of the day’s reading for my field exams and sharing it on Instagram makes the effort a bit easier, a tad lighter, and a modicum more fun, especially when the going gets tough. (I have to make it through five books today? What??) It transforms this scholarly labor from the world of work to the land of aesthetics, amateur art, and gentle hobby-making. It curates the words, pages, and books that I consume on a daily basis. It creates an object of inspiration and commemoration of my own design. It makes my intellectual effort material, legible, translatable and worthy of a stranger’s gaze, if not their understanding. A mental trick? Decidedly millennial silliness? Perhaps. But if it works, why not go with it?

Below is some of what I’ve started. We’re talking #shelfie, #mydesk, #phdlife, and #gradlife with overwrought arrangements (usually with the delightfully lightening Valencia filter) of books, papers, pens, laptops, coffee, and tea—and in my case, one adorable pup.

Won’t you join me?

Don’t forget the emojis!

Photo credits: Emily Contois, 2015


  1. H.D. Miller says

    Love the dog! Love that you’re reading Food: A History of Taste.


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