Tips for Avoiding a Stressful Application Semester

By Kyle Brett and Megan Bruening


Are you applying to Ph.D. programs? Feeling a bit overwhelmed by trying to balance work, apps, and your much needed social life? Sometimes the application semester can get the better of you and you can, sadly, end up like this:


Fret not. All of your professors, not to mention the department full of current Ph.D. candidates, and Ph.D. students, made it through this process intact. Which is to say that you can do it. Yes, it might be stressful and, at times, mind-numbingly infuriating as you get closer to your deadlines, but take solace in the fact that you are surrounded by friends and colleagues who, like you, felt similar amounts of stress during the application period. Continue reading

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Film Club Review: Modern Times

Roger Ebert said that movies are empathy machines. It is difficult and some would say impossible to see through a character’s eyes and not begin to develop empathy with them. Movies can bypass the language barrier that writing necessarily can’t, and no body of work proves that better than Charlie Chaplin’s. As writer, director, actor, and composer, Chaplin retained complete control of his films, especially towards the end of his silent period when he made four all-time classics in a row: The Gold Rush, The Circus, City Lights, and Modern Times, which became our first film in the newly formed Movie Club series.

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4 Articles for Self-Care This Semester

As we approach the one month marker of the Fall 2016 semester, it seems essential to point out, once again, the importance of self-care.


  1. The ‘Other’ Graduate School Mess: Tackling Mental Health in Graduate School

In an extensive article Sarah Heidebrink-Bruno tackles mental health in graduate school full force. Drawing on The Graduate School Mess by Leonard Cassuto, Heidebrink-Bruno addresses the impact of the “ever-increasing list of expectations” for graduate students on mental health. Her suggestions are far reaching and range from remembering to eat regularly, taking time for the activities you love outside of your studies, and reaching out to supportive community members. Continue reading

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Meet and Greet: Dr. Marilisa Jimenez Garcia

Here at  Drown Unbound we want to take some time to introduce the new faces in our department. In this new series, we thought we’d take some time to get to learn about their academic interests and to take some time to pick their brain about their own graduate school experience! 

We hope this piece will inspire many future conversations with Marilisa(who was very excited to share this with us)!

We also want to thank Jenna Lay for lending her advice with getting this series off the ground!

Without further ado, here is what Dr. Marilisa Jimenez Garcia, a new assistant professor at Lehigh University, had to say:

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Third Annual Literature and Social Justice Conference!

On behalf of the Lehigh University English Department and the conference committee, I’m thrilled to announce that our third annual Literature and Social Justice Graduate Conference will take place on March 10-11, 2017 in Bethlehem, PA!  The theme for the conference is Borders and Violence, which we believe will foster exciting and productive conversations about timely issues.  We encourage graduate students and independent scholars to check out the CFP and submit an abstract by October 15, 2016. Also, make sure to visit the conference website  which will be updated soon, and keep an eye out for future related blog posts, including advice about how to write and submit an abstract.

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Best Bethlehem Places to Eat, Grade, Study & Write (All While Saving Money!)

By Sarah Heidebrink-Bruno, Dashielle Horn, and Emily Shreve

people studying in coffee shop

Emily: First-year graduate students have a lot of reading, writing, and grading to do, often in an unfamiliar town away from the usual haunts, and, often, with a tight budget, restricting your options. Over time you’ll discover the best working locations for you, but to speed that process along, Dashielle, Sarah, and I have some suggestions for wonderful (cheap!) places to work and eat in Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley. Continue reading

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Making the Most of Your First Year of Grad School

By now, you’ve likely heard a lot of advice, formal and informal, from graduate students and from ‘civilians,’ as to how you can survive and thrive in your first year of graduate school. We have a few more ideas here, from former and current Lehigh English students.


Check out the advice below, and remember: find what feels right for you! Gather your toolbox, test techniques for time management, and, amidst the challenges, take pleasure in knowing that you have the ability to share and discuss books, writing, and theoretical concepts with faculty mentors, graduate peers, and undergraduate students throughout the next two or more years.  Continue reading

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What’s Happening: September 2016

The semester has officially started, and as we’re all busy greeting old friends and making new ones (and frantically finishing syllabi), here’s a list of things we can do this month together!

Annual Lehigh / Community Expo will be held today, Monday, August 29 from 4:00-6:00 pm on the University Center Lawn. It’s a great place to get a feel for what the community and Lehigh has to offer in terms of culture, food, and club activities.

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Welcome to Lehigh English & Drown Unbound!

We can’t deny it any longer: summer is over and the new academic year is about to begin, sure to be filled with many plans and unexpected discoveries–all accompanied by a heaping dose of excitement and nervousness.

Old Lehigh U Postcard

These feelings are especially potent for anyone beginning their graduate school education, or for those starting graduate school at Lehigh for the first time. So, for all our new community members, Laura and I will have a few posts over the next week filled with advice and helpful tips for managing this hectic and wonderful and challenging and thrilling new year. But first, check out a few highlights already on the blog:  Continue reading

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Learning to Read

Directing a play is applied criticism (which is to say applied reading); the ballistics to the pure physics of literary theory. I feel qualified to say this (and what is qualification other than a feeling turned into a LinkedIn profile) because for the past two years, I operated, simultaneously, as an English graduate student, and as a playwright-director in New York City.
Play Promotional Materials

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