© Walden University Writing Center 2017
MAX: Welcome to Write Cast: A Casual Conversation for Serious Writers, a monthly podcast by the Walden University Writing Center. I’m Max Philbrook,
CLAIRE: and I’m Claire Helakoski.
MAX: In today’s episode, we’re talking with EdD student and writing center instructor Jeannie Croichy about her first student residency experience. But, before we do that, we have a brief and special WriteCast announcement.
BETH: Hi, listeners. Hi, Max. Hi, Claire.
MAX and CLAIRE: Hi, Beth.
MAX: Nice to hear from you. Beth, you have a special announcement for us today?
BETH: I do! I just wanted to stop by and say a quick goodbye to all of our listeners and just say that it’s been really such a pleasure hosting this podcast for the last few years. This is the first podcast I’ve ever worked on, but I’ve really enjoyed the experience, and it’s such a unique opportunity to talk about such a wide range of writing topics in such a sort of fun and informal way, so I really enjoyed it. And I also wanted to say a thank you to Anne for all her help and also, of course, Brittany, who I cohosted with. So, I know you all will be in fantastic hands with Claire and Max, and I know you both will do a great job and already are doing a great job! So, I just wanted to say thank you and good luck, everyone.
CLAIRE: Thanks so much, Beth. I don’t think I’m alone in saying you and Brittany’s wonderful voices and work really inspired me to work on the podcast.
MAX: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Beth, for laying a really solid foundation and framework for this podcast. It’s made mine and Claire’s job very easy, filling in, even though it will be very hard to fill your shoes. So, thank you for everything you’ve done. And listeners, don’t worry! Beth is still with us in the Writing Center.
BETH: I’m not going anywhere! [Laughing]
MAX: And she has promised to serve as a WriteCast consultant. She’ll be here.
BETH: Count me in as a loyal listener as well.
MAX: So what does it mean to have new hosts for WriteCast? Well, don’t worry, listeners. We’ll continue to publish new episodes on the first of every month, and you can access these new episodes via our Writing Center website via the Writing Center blog and social media. Also, you can use your favorite podcast service, like iTunes, the podcast app on your iPhone, Stitcher, SoundCloud, anywhere you access podcasts. Please go ahead and favorite us, bookmark us, subscribe, so you don’t miss any content.
CLAIRE: Just like Beth and Brittany, Max and I want to make WriteCast relevant and helpful to you as you navigate your academic writing journey. So, let us know what you want to hear about! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org; you can reach out to us through social media. We’d love to hear from you and what you want to listen to us talk about regarding academic writing.
MAX: And, not only that, Claire and I will do our best to be informative, smart—who knows, we might even throw in a few jokes here and there—so stay with us. And speaking of listeners and feedback, we’ve actually got a comment from one of our listeners Aslagle87, and she shared with us a writing tip in response to episode 41, where Kacy Walz, one of our new instructors, was giving some of her tips for writing. Aslagle87 says, “The best strategy I have for writing a paper is consistently writing notes. I keep a notepad with me at all times.” Thank you very much, Aslagle87. We totally agree that that’s a great strategy, and there’s just something about having a pen in your hand and taking notes that kind of stimulates the brain. So, thanks for sharing that with us and our listeners, and we’re looking forward to hearing from more listeners in response to the topics on the podcast.
CLAIRE: That is a great tip, Max. I personally keep a notepad with me all the time when I’m working on a writing project. I find it really helpful to take lots and lots of notes and try and organize my thoughts. I also kind of keep myself tapped into that writing energy.
MAX: Excellent. And now, let’s get on to today’s episode. Today we’re talking with Jeannie Croichy, who is a colleague of ours in the Writing Center, about her experience as an EdD student at her first face-to-face, in-person residency.
CLAIRE: Welcome, Jeannie!
JEANNIE: Hi, Claire and Max. Thank you guys so much for having me. I am so excited to share my residency with you guys and Walden listeners as well.
CLAIRE: Can you tell us a little bit about your program?
JEANNIE: Sure! I am in the Doctor of Education program, also known as EdD, with a specialization in higher education and adult learning. I hold a master’s in Education from Ashford University and then a bachelor’s in English with a specialization in writing from William Patterson. So, the choice to get my EdD at Walden totally makes sense, and it’s a great way to just make a positive difference in writing centers on a higher education level through social change. A little bit as far as just when I started, I started last year, last spring, and I transferred from another university, and a part of my decision to transfer is because of the residency and mentorship from faculty in the online setting, which are just major factors for me. So, it’s been a great experience in regards to that, and I aim to graduate in 2021, which is kind of far, but I think it is definitely around the corner when I think about that goal.
MAX: Awesome! That’s a really interesting journey that you’ve gone on, Jeannie. Thanks for sharing that with us. So, Claire and I have both been to residencies as Writing Center staff, and we’ve both found the experience from the instructor perspective very stimulating and very rewarding—having those experiences and those interactions with Walden students. But, you have a very special perspective as going through that process as a student. So, we were hoping to just ask you a few questions today about your residency experience, and maybe you can give us some insight for other Walden students who will be attending a residency and maybe answer some questions that they might want to know.
JEANNIE: Yes, for sure!
MAX: Awesome! So, you participated in a face-to-face residency, and you had to travel there, and you stayed in a hotel and did the whole experience. What was the best part of that residency experience for you?
JEANNIE: That’s such a great question. Aside from traveling, I’ve never been to Atlanta before, so just going there was awesome. The best part of the residency for me was the fact that I gained a group of EdD friends. I was not expecting to gain, like, eight friends out of this whole experience. During each session of the residency, I found myself connecting with the same individuals over and over again, so I told myself, “Okay, this must be a sign or something [Laughing] that I’m supposed to, like, connect with these people.” And over each session, we shared our research topics and problem statements with each other and listened to each other in regards to feedback. It was just so helpful in regards to that. That was such a good experience for me. So, on the last day of the residency, we decided to create a group chat through our phone, and honestly, we’ve been chatting ever since. So, the fact that I’ve gained such a wonderful group of friends, who, you know, they’re going through the EdD experience, is just a great way to have support through our classes and even vent during tough days because I’m sure we’re going to have tough days in the future, so it’s just so great to just have that, and it only could have happened because of the residency.
CLAIRE: That’s so great to hear, Jeannie.
MAX: So, Jeannie, it was a different experience interacting with your classmates in person in the same room as opposed to interacting in the online atmosphere. What is it about that face-to-face interaction that kind of contributes to that extra connection?
JEANNIE: Just attending in the face-to-face setting just made everything so real. Like, the online setting, it’s great, and it allows me to just fit it in my schedule, but going to the residency and just meeting everyone puts everything into perspective, which is just great, and now I’m just really ready to just give my all as far as research, and walking across that stage and the goal is just so real.
MAX: Awesome. Thanks, Jeannie.
CLAIRE: So, what was the most surprising thing about the residency?
JEANNIE: The most surprising thing about the residency and, honestly, the most beautiful thing about the residency, was faculty members’ involvement in the sessions. I was not expecting to just be able to interact with them on such an interesting level. It was so intimate, almost. They gave amazing sessions on different areas of the EdD program and the capstone process and in great detail. Each session was eye opening and truly expanded my mind, and I noticed that throughout each session, I was able to understand what I wanted to do as far as a researcher and what I want to do as far as just my academic experience and professional experience. And the fact that I had an opportunity to work with faculty members, it honestly just gave me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to just tap into their mindset and to gain as much information as possible.
CLAIRE: That’s so exciting, Jeannie. Thank you so much for sharing. What a great surprise to have at your residency.
JEANNIE: Yes, for sure.
MAX: I’m glad to hear that, too, Jeannie. I remember from my residency experience on the staff side thinking the same thing about how invested the faculty members were and how genuinely curious they were to meet their students and to give the students the realistic perspective of what they were going to do. I remember thinking that it just really seemed like faculty were welcoming or creating a space for the students to join that academic conversation. So, we’re looking backward on Jeannie Croichy’s first ever residency experience as a Walden University student, and Jeannie, now with a little bit of distance from the residency itself, is there anything you wish you would have known before getting on that plane and attending the Atlanta residency?
JEANNIE: [Laughing] That’s a really good question! I wish I would have known about the residency’s focus on our research topic, specifically the problem statement. I knew we would somehow share our research topic, but I had no idea how intense it would be, but I don’t think you can really prepare yourself for such intensity and shift in perspective. But, yeah. [Laughing] I wish I would have known that, so yeah, just creating as much mental downtime as possible.
CLAIRE: Yeah, downtime is so important.
MAX: Interesting. Mental downtime. Can you tell us what you mean by that?
JEANNIE: Well, being that I was taking up so much mental space during each session, during my downtime I honestly did nothing, just to, like, calm down and just to have a sense of, I guess, not feel a sense of rush because during a session, there’s so much information that’s being thrown at you, which is great, but it’s just like, “whoa, [Laughing] this is a lot!” So, pretty much the mental downtime just allowed me to watch some TV or read a book or listen to some music and just collect my thoughts.
CLAIRE: Yeah, when I was at residency as a staff member, I felt the same way. I was just so busy that between my sessions I would just go to my room and like, make a cup of tea and just sit in the quiet. And I think that’s really important to keep you fresh and engaged during that experience.
JEANNIE: Yes, for sure.
CLAIRE: So, in addition to the wonderful friends that you met through your residency, what do you think is the most valuable thing that you learned from this experience?
JEANNIE: I can say, just in general, the support from classmates and faculty members for the residency. Although I had access to classmates through Blackboard, it was just, you know, an online environment, but the fact that I have access to friends through my phone and we can chat all day [Laughing] and perhaps even complain a little about maybe a paper—that’s great. And also having additional faculty contact information is great, like, we have information in regards to certain professors’ email addresses if we have specific questions we could reach out to them, and that’s also awesome because I would have never met these people if it wasn’t for the residency.
MAX: So, Jeannie, for other Walden students who will be attending residency, what do you recommend that they do to prepare?
JEANNIE: This is something I decided to do before attending the residency. I took care of personal tasks at home and just my work life, and that’s very important because you will not have time to really take care of anything during the residency because you’re just so focused on the sessions, and like I’ve mentioned before, it takes up a lot of mental space, so I made sure to just plan ahead and schedule specific tasks that I had to do, and that allowed me to just have complete dedication to the residency. So, definitely plan ahead as far as just if you have something to do—perhaps you have work to do or you’re wrapping up some homework for your classes—try to do that ahead of time.
MAX: That is incredibly good advice. I was just kind of blown away when I was watching students go through the residency. There’s even a residency homework assignment, and then it dawned on me about halfway through how all of these students are actually still in their coursework also. I always knew that Walden students were a special breed and a special kind of hard worker, but then seeing that in action and then watching people, you know, spending hours and hours a day learning in the sessions and then going off to finish their coursework at night just gave me a special appreciation for how hard you have to work, Jeannie, to do what you’re doing, so kudos on that.
JEANNIE: Thank you! And, if I may add something, so just being around like-minded individuals honestly pushed me after hours. After the residency session, I would go back to my hotel room and try to figure out how can I try to redefine my problem statement from my research topic? How can I approach what I want to do differently? So, just being in that environment has been so amazing, and just being around other students really made me realize that I can do this, and they can do it, too, so it’s just—it’s a great experience.
CLAIRE: That’s so inspiring, Jeannie, and I am so inspired by Walden students, too. I remember noticing at my residency how everybody was also working on their coursework and spending all day in these sessions. It’s really impressive.
CLAIRE: So, Jeannie, is there anything else you want to share with Walden student listeners?
JEANNIE: Yes. When you attend the residency, just have fun and enjoy the experience. It is a rare opportunity to meet your classmates and faculty members. It is a great opportunity to be in the same room with like-minded individuals working toward the same goal of creating social change within their local environments, so just be open to receiving feedback because it is a beautiful experience to gain insight from others and create unique relationships that could probably last a lifetime.
MAX: Jeannie, did you—speaking of enjoying the process—did you eat any delicious food while you were in Atlanta?
JEANNIE: Oh, my gosh. [Laughing] Yes. I will never look at food the same in New Jersey ever again. [Laughing]
MAX and CLAIRE: [Laughing]
JEANNIE: I seriously have dreams of, like, all the food that I’ve had, and I would eat the same food here, but it’s just not the same. I need to go back to Atlanta.
MAX: There you have it, listener. Jeannie’s unequivocal endorsement of the food in Atlanta.
MAX, CLAIRE, and JEANNIE: [Laughing]
MAX: Thank you so much, Jeannie, for joining us today, and we really appreciate the time.
CLAIRE: Yes, thank you, Jeannie.
JEANNIE: Thank you so much! It’s such a pleasure to share my experience with everyone, so thank you again.
CLAIRE: If you want to hear more from students or faculty about their residency experiences, you can check out WriteCast episode 9, “The Residency Experience: Reflections from Walden Students” and episode 10, “Faculty Writing Advice: Residency Interview with Dr. JaMuir Robinson. You can find both of these episodes and many more on iTunes or our Writing Center podcast page.
MAX: Thank you very much, listener, for listening. We’re here because you are, so we’ll see you next time on WriteCast.
MAX: WriteCast is a production of the Walden University Writing Center. You can find past episodes on iTunes and on our website academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter. We’d love to hear from you. Connect with us on Facebook, on Twitter @WUWritingCenter, and on our blog: WaldenWritingCenter.blogspot.com. Thanks for listening!