Navigating the Academic Terrain: Understanding How Graduate Assistants Manage Emotions

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Ferrell, DaJuan
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Middle Tennessee State University
There has been little research done that addresses the socio-emotional experiences of individuals who are graduate assistants and students. In working to fill this gap in the literature, my thesis project explores the experiences of graduate assistants as they manage their emotions and the responsibilities associated with being both a graduate assistant and a student. To understand this phenomena, 18 in-depth interviews were conducted with graduate assistants from a southern university. After utilizing analytic description, four representative themes were pulled from the data. These themes show that graduate assistants utilize purposive smiles when providing academic service to students, engage in various forms of emotion acting (deep, surface, and transformative) as a means of managing emotions, work to construct professional interactions with faculty, and utilize time management strategies as a way to manage their graduate assistant and student responsibilities.
Dual roles, Education, Emotions, Graduate assistant, Graduate student, Sociology