Hobsons: As a graduate student, do you teach classes while taking credits of your own? What kinds of classes do you teach?
James: Yes, I teach all three courses (one per quarter) that make up the freshman composition series that is required for all students at UC.
Hobsons: Has teaching classes helped you in your life as a graduate student?
James: Teaching essays has certainly helped me with my own. The pace is fast when teaching and taking classes at the same time, but I've certainly learned how to maximize my time. Plus, being a student also seems to help me relate better to the demands of my students. That can be both good and bad for them.
Hobsons: What is one of the biggest differences between your undergraduate and graduate experiences?
James: I've returned after 11 years. A huge difference is applying my life experiences to the material. Also, there is a certain sense of maturity that allows me to appreciate what I'm learning more than I did as an undergrad but also to realize that this (the education) is nothing to get too stressed out about. I could put a lot of things into perspective. Also, I have a better understanding of the importance of the student/professor relationship.
Hobsons: Soon you will be re-entering the job market. Do you think your graduate degree will give you an advantage?
James: Yes, at this stage I will be able to continue to teach basic undergraduate English classes. And, if I do want to go back to high school, I have the master's requirement completed.
Hobsons: How has your graduate degree influenced the work that you are doing now?
James: My writing has matured and improved dramatically. I now feel I have the potential to be published. I was just a lump of clay but grad school has molded me.
Hobsons: What has been one of the greatest rewards from your time in graduate school?
James: Taking workshops and studying with some very accomplished contemporary American poets.
Hobsons: What are your future plans with your degree?