Posts Tagged With: grad school

Day 1

Well, I have no outline. No scene list. No complete list of main characters. And, there are some serious decisions I still need to make.

BUT, I have 1,760 words towards my goal of 50,000. Yay, me!

I took care of my other responsibilities before I allowed myself to write today. I really want to accomplish this NaNo goal, but I really, really need a job. So, I applied to a job (which took longer than anticipated. I swear those online job applications are designed like weeder courses: they frustrate applications to see who is really serious about applying for the job). I already know which job I wanted to apply for today. Tomorrow will be busy with some other commitments, but I need to find a job, apply to it, go grocery shopping AND find 2.5 hours to pump out my 1,667 words. Think I’ll be able to sustain my productivity throughout July?

I am not wholly sure I understand why I’ve been dragging my feet with this job search thing. Well, part of it is wondering how I am going to ever get anything not job-related done once I have a full-time job: my days pass so quickly and seem so full of obligations rights now. When will I have time to clean? When will I have time to cook? When will I have time to wash clothes? Am I supposed to fit all that into the weekend? I also know part of it is because I am scared of having an 8 to 5 job. I spent the past 10 1/2 years in grad school, which essentially means I set my own schedule. I’m scared of being in the “real” work force. But I also want to be able to buy a house sometime in the near future and be able to start a family. So, I’ve made it a goal this month to write 1,667 words of my novel every day, but before I can do that, I need to apply to at least one job. Every day. Maybe that isn’t enough. Maybe I should be applying to more jobs in a day. But, at least one job app a day is better than one job app a month, which is what I have been averaging. Although, come August, if I still do not have a job, I am going to start freaking out about not having a job. At that point maybe I will start spamming.

Sometimes family members give me advice, but I know that, at the moment at least, it is my own fault I can’t find a job: I’m not really looking very hard. I’ve never had to look that hard for a job before. I’ve been really lucky about things falling in my lap. Well, that and finding teaching assistant gigs followed a regular pattern. I have been really lucky. But, the job market sucks now and I’ve never looked for a “real” job before. I keep telling myself it doesn’t have to be the job I stay in, and if I don’t like what I end up doing I can look for something else. In the meantime, though, I need a salary so I’ll still be able to pay the bills come August. My modus operandi is usually to wait until the last minute and let the deadline stress spur me towards my goal. Well, I keep waiting for that kick in, but it hasn’t yet. I don’t really want to be stressed, but I also would like it to kick in soon.

Okay, enough about my job woes. I have 1,760 words of my story! (Did you notice my bar to the right has some color on it now?)

It has been a long time since I have dedicated myself to writing. Today was kind of cool. I probably spent too much time looking things up (What is that hairstyle called they wore in the 20s and 30s? What kind of animals are indigenous to northern Norway? What are antique hat boxes made of?). Nevertheless, I feel like I had a scene in my mind and the words kept coming. I just need to meet myself at the computer for 2.5 hours everyday and allow/force myself to write. I know this sounds both trite and obvious, but today it really seemed like all I had to do was show up and the rest took care of itself.

Anyway, to all my fellow NaNoWriters, I hope your first day was as satisfying as mine. And here’s to every day in July being even more productive than my first day was.


Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Knowledge Hoarding, or Academic Miserliness

This is something that has been on my mind a lot lately and probably deserves to be addressed in a proper essay rather than a quickly composed  blog post, but here goes.

Library front [2 dot bp dot blogspot dot com slash _EazJIBgp890 slash S_0qnaVlRsI slash AAAAAAAAA34 slash 6ap4_4emBJM slash s320 slash Library plus front dot jpg]

Online libraries restricted to public access

I am currently an adjunct teaching at a tiny, private school [read: part-time, underpaid & few resources]. This semester I am teaching an advanced undergraduate level course. They are awesome students and I am constantly amazed at their dedication. One of the things I am trying to emphasize is the importance of reliable, peer-reviewed sources. When I was still in grad school and had access to my huge university’s online databases I did not notice this problem so much, but this semester has been exceeding frustrating for both myself and my students. Trying to find relevant, reliable and peer-reviewed sources that are ACCESSIBLE feels nigh impossible most days. My school’s databases are limited and hard to navigate, therefore I often use Google Scholar to find citations. This week, it took me at least three times as long as it should have to find a couple of relevant articles for my class* because every time I came across a citation online that looked perfect, it was only available on Jstor, to which I do not have access. Well, to be fair, Jstor has made a limited number of their articles available, but when I just searched through this limited selection, I could find nothing relevant. Continue reading

Categories: Academia, Miscellaneous, Research | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2012 Reflections and 2013 Propositions

Here we are at the end of 2012.  It often surprises me that we are so far into the 21st century.  It had its rough spots, but it has culminated in several good notes, and I think next year is going to be awesome.

Grad school

…is OVER!  You are now reading a blog written by a bonafide doctor of philosophy!

It feels really good to know that the past ten years of my life have FINALLY come to fruition.  Like so many others, the road to my doctorate was rough.  The past few years have truly tested my determination and in many ways it seems like I have sacrificed so much to get where I am today.  Honestly, I am not sure whether it was worth it, but dwelling on that question serves little purpose.  Twelve years ago I made a list of five things I wanted to accomplish with my life.  Two (and a half) of them are now crossed off.  Three (or two and a half depending on how you look at things) more to go.

Now comes the hard part.   Continue reading

Categories: Miscellaneous | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments




Yesterday morning I got distracted by Cristian de la Fuente and his Chilean dialect –> here, particularly 8:04, for you Spanish speakers.

It has been over ten years since I have been around Spanish like that; these days, when people do speak to me in Spanish it is usually in a much more neutral dialect.  So, I spent the morning surfing YouTube for more videos about chilenismos and the particularities of Chilean Spanish.  A few other videos I particularly enjoyed were: a clip from a Chilean talk show, a rather humorous video by a kid named Abel Brignardello (especially 0:18), and another entertaining one by “Nick”  (particularly 4:47).   Some of the comments say Nick sounds Mexican, but I really don’t know why; he sounds very Chilean to me.  Also, beware that there is a lot of swearing in these videos and if you follow the link to Abelbrigna’s second video, the images for “raja” are… a bit graphic.  I was looking for clips of really slangy Chilean Spanish.

I don’t know how many of you speak Spanish or can relate to the feelings/memories a particular dialect of a foreign language can evoke, but I got lost in these videos.  They made me miss Chile and miss speaking Spanish in a context that does not involve a classroom.  They made me miss my youth, which, I suppose is something to which we can all relate.  I was in Chile a couple of years ago, but it was for research, which means that the relationships I forged were largely professional.  I made friends with some of the ladies in my neighborhood, but it wasn’t the same as being part of a family, which was the experience I had had in a different part of Chile ten years before that.  I would not want to relive that time in my life now, but it was a good time that helped to shape who I am today.

Well, I guess I am just feeling nostalgic and thought I would share these videos with you.  I was supposed to  be participating in NaNoWriMo, but it turns out I will have to put all my energy into revising my dissertation.  The story I had in mind to write this month took place in Chile.  It was kind of a prequel/backstory to another story I have wanted to write for some time now.  Ah, well, one day…one day I will finally be done with this dissertation and this degree and I will be able to focus on other endeavors…One day…

Categories: Miscellaneous | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NaNoWriMo dreams already on their deathbed

First of all, I have had one helluva week, let me tell you.  I sure hope this yo-yoing goes away once I graduate, because it is wrecking havoc on my emotional well-being.

So, here we are.  Day 2 of NaNoWriMo.  I have only 535 words, and I can already tell I am not going to be a winner this year.  It was really wishful thinking that I would be done with my grad school obligations in time to participate.  I have the weekend to keep trying, but I have received news that, in order to please a committee member, I will have to make a serious effort at revising several things in my dissertation in the next two and a half weeks.  Revisions (for which I do not yet have the specifics) can be anything from adding a sentence or two here to doing more research and incorporating it into the existing chapters.  I am already afraid that two and a half weeks will not nearly be enough time to make these revisions.  What these revisions also mean is that any writing energy I expend should be devoted to my dissertation.  Because in addition to these revisions, I also have a 45-minute presentation to prepare based on my dissertation.  This presentation will be given to my defense committee who decides whether or not I pass.

So, for me this year instead of NaNoWriMo I have ReDissWriMo…or Revise my Disseration Writing Month…Okay, I probably could have come up with something better, but whatever…it’s still relatively early in the morning and I have classes to prepare on top of everything else.

Seven months ago I decided to write a novel.  Seven months later, I don’t have but a handful of pages of creative writing.  Still plugging away on my doctorate.  But without staring at it too long for fear of startling it into scampering away, I am pretty sure I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m still going to keep my head down and pay attention to my footsteps, though, until right before the light hits me…Just in case the light turns out to be further away than it seems.  No more emotional yo-yoing!!

To all my fellow NaNoWriMo participants, I send you good vibes and wish you well on your endeavors.  It turns out I’m on a different train this year, but I’ll be sure to join you on the journey next year…At which time, I hope to already have some substantial progress towards a novel completed.

Categories: Miscellaneous, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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