Yesterday evening with the rest of the graduate students was quite revealing. It was familial yet frenzied; an inviting get-together that was more illuminating to me personally than anything else I have seen and experienced this semester. It opened up my eyes so wide that I realized I had been somatically moving through this semester without recognizing the reality around me.
Six hours revealed the graduate students of this department for who they really were: overly dramatic celebutants or fame monsters. (It seems even more fitting that at least one to two hours of the night were almost devoted to discussions about Lady Gaga as well.)
In short, I've come to the conclusion that I am more adult than the vast majority of my fellow graduate students. Instead of treating others with respect and common decency, there are many here who are childish, selfish, and downright ill-mannered. These individuals have no sense for collegial congeniality and are so wrapped up in themselves that they cannot see beyond the current situation. They are insecure and so pretentious, tirelessly working for attention in fear of the missed glance or longing glare.
These people are the reason I know I am a better person. In this one evening they revealed to me how genuine, sincere, and compassionate I am, all while being themselves in the face of company.
I am no longer burdened by the drama these people continue to produce in attempts to bury everyone in their wake. I am not longer worried that I am different or the so unknown. Instead, I am proud to know that I am resolutely mature, personable without pretentiousness, and secure enough in my own skin.
I am the best person I can be and no one—professor, graduate student, frienemy, or fame monster—is going to make me lose sight of all that I am.
Yesterday evening with the rest of the graduate students was quite revealing. It was familial yet frenzied; an inviting get-together that was more illuminating to me personally than anything else I have seen and experienced this semester. It opened up my eyes so wide that I realized I had been somatically moving through this semester without recognizing the reality around me.
I love Trader Joe's Pretzel Bread so much that I decided to look and see if there were any comparable recipes. Sure enough I found one and I can't wait to make some, but with cheese tops just like those in Germany.
Maybe I'll start a bakery?
I've been combating my affliction for the past two weeks and I think I've managed to mend some of my wounds. Although it is still too soon to say what will be in the coming semester, it is clear that I am going to finish up here to the best of my abilities. However difficult it may be and however lonely I may be, I am going to push through with the ultimate reward in sight: seeing my family.
I have no doubt that the remaining three weeks will challenge me beyond most everything else (except for the thesis, of course) up to this point. Two major (20-25 pages) papers and one theoretical paper which will inevitably drive me to drink heavily. I'm calling it my Martini Headgear (for Martin Heidegger) paper. All in all, I have my work cut out for me.
In addition to the stress of school, I've decided to go to campus health services to make sure I don't have some strange medical problem. I know that sounds odd to couple with all of this information. After all, you would think I would be headed to health and wellness services for some mental problem, but getting accepted into the Ph.D. program was the mental problem! Besides, I don't think my fatigue, dizziness, and abdominal pain have too much to do with my mental faculties. I'm sure it is just stress, but I want to make sure I'm not pre-diabetic or dealing with something worse. Of course, you might think I'm being paranoid. Maybe I am. I would rather be certain than sorry, though.
On a completely unrelated note, I deleted my twitter account. I'm not surprised if you didn't notice. I did it hastily and unannounced. Although twitter originally was fun to be a part of when it started, I have come to find it increasingly trivializing and downright boring. I enjoyed being able to stay in touch with everyone quickly, yet I secretly detested it. 140 characters into my life and you know nothing more about me; nothing substantial or important. Ultimately I felt that what I was getting out of twitter was a growing disconnection from others--a way of knowing less under the guise of seeing more. Thus, I deleted my account in the hope that those who know me and enjoy talking to me will continue to communicate with me through more genuine means. Type a comment. Write an e-mail. Send a postcard or letter. If I'm not too busy, call me and I may be able to chat. Don't expect to see me around twitter again, though. I'm done with it and, to some extent, some of the status updates I could put up on facebook as well.
. . .find the resources necessary to do so and become stronger for it.
Although I am not wholly better after venting my frustrations and concerns, I do feel somewhat better in the realization that I have an amazing support system of friends and family who have helped me think through my personal issues. I feel comforted by their words as I continue to struggle through my program and I am incredibly thankful for them.
It has been tough to occupy this liminal space, especially since I feel so alone. However, I know that I am not so isolated. I have support, although it is distanced. I have faith, even though I am clouded by hopelessness. I have my convictions, though I doubt my abilities.
It's time to turn toward the fight, and not away from it. It will inevitably include psychosomatic bruises and strains, and uncertain pain, but I am better for it. I am better than what I was and will be better in what I become.
I think the title of this entry says it all, but in case it is not enough, I will elaborate.
The last three weeks here have been particularly hectic. So hectic, in fact, that I have often thought about quitting the program if things do not improve over the next semester.
I'm not entirely sure when it started, but I believe that it is a feeling that has been under the surface since I started the program here. Without being too specific yet for clarity purposes, I will say that, over the last nine weeks, the image of this program that I thought I came here for has been replaced by something darker.
Darker in that: I cannot understand why so many of the people here are distant and/or judgmental; I still do not understand why no one here has read the research I have already done to know me better; certain people are incredibly rude and inconsiderate of those who have moved from further away than those who came from within the state; everyone has all these ambiguous expectations and no one will clarify what the fuck they mean; and, outside of the program, nothing feels like home--my apartment is still mostly empty and I don't have many people to rely on here.
To top it off, I was also assigned to teach Public Speaking again for the tenth time. While some might find this less of an issue, I think it was the cherry on top of the icing coating the clusterfuck of a cake I've been choking down here. I'm tired of teaching this course, but even more tired of "paying my dues" or "putting my time in" or "jumping through hoops". Haven't I done enough of that already? I thought a Ph.D. program was less about learning the ropes and more about being welcomed into an academic community where you were understood and pushed to develop further in the best ways possible.
I guess I was mislead.
Of course, I'm not throwing the towel in or giving up. Although, I wouldn't necessarily say that leaving would be either of those options in my eyes.
I am going to give it one more semester. One more chance in the hope that things actually improve and that I actually find some happiness, clarity, and warmth out here. One last chance before I lose sight of the real reason I came out here: my future happiness, not my future endless sacrifices whilst bending over the table so I can be repeatedly raped by a broken glass bottle.
It's not a laughing matter!
While talking to my mom this weekend about the recent events over the last two to three weeks (yes, I know, that's a long time to go without talking to the parentals) I mentioned that dating was quite the perplexing dilemma for me. I'm not a big fan of dating, as you may know. It's not that I'm anti-relationships, rather I am anti-dating. In fact, I think Vince Vaughn summed it up best in Wedding Crasher's when he stated:
I apologize to you if I don't seem real eager to jump into a forced awkward intimate situation that people like to call dating. I don't like the feeling. You're sitting there, you're wondering do I have food on my face, am I eating, am I talking too much, are they talking enough, am I interested I'm not really interested, should I play like I'm interested but I'm not that interested but I think she might be interested but do I want to be interested but now she's not interested? So all of the sudden I'm getting, I'm starting to get interested... And when am I supposed to kiss her? Do I have to wait for the door cause then it's awkward, it's like well goodnight. Do you do like that ass-out hug? Where you like, you hug each other like this and your ass sticks out cause you're trying not to get too close or do you just go right in and kiss them on the lips or don't kiss them at all? It's very difficult trying to read the situation. And all the while you're just really wondering are we gonna get hopped up enough to make some bad decisions? Perhaps play a little game called "just the tip". Just for a second, just to see how it feels.
Indeed, I typically avoid dating discussions in general, but I especially avoid them with my mother. I think there is something to be said about avoiding maternal wisdom on dating, too. It's not that I don't respect or like what she has to say, but rather, my mother usually contextualizes the whole situation and then decides where the sympathizes should ultimately lie. Sometimes they are with me, sometimes they are with the young woman involved. In general, though, I avoid such conversations because they feel a little awkward. In other words, it's not as easy to talk about relationships with my mother as it is to talk about them with my father.
That being said, I felt it was appropriate to discuss my dating situation or lack thereof with my mother this weekend. It was actually a good conversation that made me feel I could talk to her about dating in the future. That is, except for her comment that came up later in the conversation when we ended up talking about Sookie Stackhouse (as contrasted to Bella from Twilight):
All the men that Sookie sees have one major imperfection, so she keeps moving on and remains independent and true to herself, sort of like how you are with all these young women.
Forget the fact that my mom clearly compared me to a fictional female from the fantasy realm where lascivious roam, did she just call me a whore?
. . .but this is too hilarious not to post.
Some guy totally spoofed Shakira's newest video and it is HILARIOUS! Check it out below (and know that it is not pornographic):
If you haven't seen the original video for She Wolf by Shakira, I recommend you check it out too.
In an attempt to make my empty apartment feel a little bit more like home, I have been purchasing frames and processing photos. Although they don't do much to fill up the place in terms of space, they do make it look more like home and, at the very least, the place is not so dull anymore.
These photos are hanging right by the kitchen in the "dining room" area (that has nothing in it).
These photos are hanging in the slim hallway next to the bathroom.
In other good news, I finally got my couch...err "metro sleeper" from Urban Outfitters. It's incredibly comfortable and lightweight, but it is quite small. It will work nice in my office in the future, but for now I have it out in the living room since there was no seating out in the area. Pitch is modeling it off, MadMen Style.
Again, I am still patiently attempting to fill in all the empty spaces. Slowly, but surely.
Postcards. I love postcards! Today I picked up some swanky postcards to send to family and friends. They are not only great to send and receive, but they are wonderful disruptive devices that I use to reward myself for getting stuff done in a timely manner (I know, NERD ALERT!). One of the boxes that I bought is a series of 30 amazingly baleful, melancholic, whimsy, and hip postcards of the art by Jordan Crane. I love his artwork and I am seriously having a tough time deciding which cards to send to others and which ones I want to keep and frame!
Rain. Autumn in the North Carolina is quite different from autumn in Idaho. Instead of leaves changing colors and borderline freezing temperatures we get rain and gray skies. I know some people were depressed by it today, but I certainly welcomed the crisp air and dampness—it was refreshing. Unfortunately, though, the leaves aren't really changing colors here like they do in Idaho. I've been told that, due to our location, the leaves don't really change too much in general unless it gets much cooler. Although I might not get to see the season change the color of the leaves, I am happy that I am experiencing something new. Plus, it's nice to see everyone walking around with umbrellas.
Curtains. With the weather getting colder, I decided to hang up some roman shades to cover the windows. It was fun to drill into the wall—to do something with my hands instead of my mind—and to hang up something that is not only stylish, but also eco-friendly! I can already tell that to room is warmer than yesterday and now I am sure that when I sleep it will be even more like a coma! Huzzah!
As cliche and stereotypical as the show can be, Glee is hands down one of the most hilarious shows I have seen. I suppose it doesn't hurt that the music is catchy too. It is all a marketing ploy, but I love it.
This week's episode pitted the guys against the girls:
Personally I thought the guys kicked it better than the girls. And, yeah, I recognize that I am critiquing the show as if I have something substantial to say.
What? You want to fight about it?
Paul Virilio. Unlike previous class periods in my media course, which, I must add, is the most hectic course I have ever taken (there are 19 people in the graduate course and that IS crazy when there are usually only 5-9), I felt more prepared than anyone else tonight. I not only read both books almost in their entirety, but I also clearly articulated interesting points and questions that got the class discussing Paul Virilio's work. Oh, Virilio!
Acorns. There are numerous poplar and acorn trees that litter the campus. Although it is still 68-88 degrees here, it is clear that, to some extent, fall has slowly started. This means that wind and rain occur a little more frequently, but neither are generally problematic. However, in recent weeks, the wind has picked up and we have had to literally dodge the acorns that are on death missions from their vantage points on high. I'm not kidding! The acorns come down looking for BLOOD! Fortunately I dodged all acorns both on the way to and from the bar!
Adults. I talked with my good friend tonight to help reassure her about the decision she was making. What's more, though, it was the first time during our conversations over the last two weeks that I realized that we have not only come a long way from where we were, but also that we are adults. We make decisions for better or worse of our own accord and we are ultimately better for them. We don't rely on our parents to guide our focus, we instead rely on ourselves and the notion that personal growth is what is best.
I remember reading, and later hearing about, a story about a professor who, after a few years of trying to obtain tenure, decided it wasn't worth his energy because it was making him unhappy about everything in his life. It was not that he could not teach, nor was it based on any presupposition that he couldn't write. Although it is true that he was likely constrained by the growing pressures of his "publish or perish" R1 university, what is most intriguing is that he rejected the model of professionalism—of decorum of a full-time professor—in place of his own personal happiness.
In rare moments like this, when I read, hear, and later remember stories like this that I revisit my place in the academy. Sometimes I look at how far I've come and realize that I have ventured forth without a sense of place and with a schizophrenic sense of time: I'm altogether whole and placed, yet completely disconnected from anything, any place, and any particular time. In short, my life is liminal.
Perhaps this state of affairs is precisely why, from time to time, I feel so uncertain, lost, and alone. While it is fair to say that I enjoy the company of friends, and while I also am close with my family, it is even more clear that I am continually distanced from them. My life is rendered in distance to these people who, for all intents and purposes, "see" me, yet fail to fully acknowledge the sight and site of me and my life. This is not to say that they are not concerned or that they do not care, but rather that the state of affairs of my life remain largely unknown to everyone else but me. So how is it, then, that I am both connected and yet alone?
Unlike the professor above, I do not necessarily blame the academy; I do, however, recognize that the academy has inevitably affected my life and the way I conduct myself in relation to others. If, by the very nature of being a scholar-in-progress, I have learned anything of primacy from my time in the academy, then it is true that I have learned to be the embodiment of liminal. That is, I occupy many spaces and no space at once; I am transition.
It is in recognition of this way of life—the way things have become in the last six years—that I have decided to, from time to time, (re)articulate my presence by way of words, thoughts, and (inter)action. The professor above did the same thing in his own right and fashion: he started writing in a journal all of the things on daily basis (or as close to it) that he took for granted, that made him happy, and brought him joy. These observations, he felt, confirmed his presence in that they detailed the thoughts of a person dismantling a constructed reality in a positive way—to self-preserve and to thrive. As he continued this personal work, he not only felt better about himself and his transitional state in life (which, it seems, is the position my colleagues and I will occupy until tenure), but he also came to realize that happiness through the recognition of now helped to displace the negativity and stress the pressures of being in transition brings.
So too, then, I plan to, more in my own journal than on here, detail those things that I have taken for granted, but also make me happy and bring me joy. I will title these entries "About Today" and I will seek to encapsulate, in brief vignettes, those things that "slowed me down" and "cemented" my sense of place and time, even if only ephemeral.
Last night I wrote two letters, or rather e-mails, to my future self as reminders of the past and hopes for the future. I do not know what prompted me to do this or how I even found futureme.org, but I can say that the experience was surreal.
As I wrote the letters I felt a strange sense of nostalgia and uncertainty. It felt strange to seal a message for the future, referencing the present in vivid detail so as to remember it as the past. At the same time, it felt oddly liberating and enjoyable. I began to wonder what the future might hold and what I would think of the message I had written in the future: would they make sense, would they take me back in time in my thoughts, would they help me improve if I had gone astray from my aspirations? For a few moments I was lost in my thoughts. I wanted to make sure that what I wrote was meaningful—that it conveyed a sense for the current condition and faith that, despite the ups and downs of life, remained resolute. I also wanted to make sure that I remembered the situation in which I wrote the letters: the moment of transition and the feeling of wonder.
And so the letters were sealed and sent to the future.
. . .watch Bjork beat up a journalist!
I recently found Lydia when searching for new music on iTunes. Their music is haunting, but upbeat and displays a range similar to Copeland mixed with Eisley and hints of The Fray. Hopefully you can catch their music on The Hype Machine. I recommend "This Is Twice Now," "Hospital," "One More Day," and "I Woke Up Near The Sea". It is definitely worth listening to if you need something soft, subtly complex, and hauntingly vibrant.
(And this will be the last video I post for a while, I promise!)
Pitch, my cat, still isn't sure how to handle herself in our new home. We have more space than we have ever had, partially because we have no furniture, and nothing to really do with it. Sometimes I think it makes her a little stir crazy, especially when she runs wildly around the apartment and then tries to attack her reflection in the mirror. It is hilarious and she is so adorable when she does it, but I think she'd much rather have a couch to cozy up on.
I think we just need to fill in the spaces.
I can't stop listening to this song. Hopefully you'll enjoy it too.
I happen to think myself a mellow, patient and tolerant person. I am not too akin to rage and I really only get pissy when I don't have my coffee, but today re-opened my bitterness with insanely massed public spaces.
I want to use another word to describe what my shopping experience at IKEA was like, but to use any other word (which also functions as a general expression) fails to fully encompass my antipathy for the douchebaggery that occurs when masses come together over anything cheap.
Look, I'm not trying to piss on the parade of cheap furniture at IKEA. Hell, I bought $260 worth of it despite the fact that it is mostly particle wood (and will probably break if I ever move). Also, I must say that MOST of the employees at IKEA were friendly and helpful. What I am pointing to, however, is the fact that people lose their sense of decency and civility when they gather in mass in confined spaces. Once people come into contact with others while looking for "personal" items, be it food (like at CostCo) or furniture (like at IKEA), all decorum goes out the window and everyone is in it like a free-for-all. It's almost like everyone's innate pre-historic piss-poor self rears in the face of nabbing the best item before someone else does.
For example, while shopping for items today, I parked my cart at the end of an aisle near some picture frames. No carts were near me and since on of the tires on my cart kept careening to the right, I didn't want to overcorrect it as I walked through the aisle. Apparently this bothered a woman in her late forties who, upon seeing me park the cart, grabbed it and pushed it out of the way to the aisle across the way. I glared at her as she did and said, "Uh, that was my cart." She sneered bitterly in my direction and strode up the aisle without saying a word, all so she could fat arm a few frames into her cart.
I have witnessed this pandemic of douchebaggery many times before at CostCo and I am always dismayed by it. In fact, I utterly dread going to CostCo because people become retarded (figuratively speaking, of course) over food. People run ahead to grab free samples, they cart cut to get a better place in line, and they are complete assholes in the parking lot while parking, loading, and leaving. Apparently people at IKEA are no different. (And yes, I know Labor Day weekend might have contributed to this, probably making it even worse, but I still feel that people are increasingly rude toward one another.)
Let's forget IKEA and CostCo for a minute, though, and question the source of the problem: massive gatherings of people in enclosed spaces.
RQ: What is it about enclosed spaces that breeds indifference in people toward others?
Seriously, did I miss something while I was growing up? Were there lessons taught in school that I missed, even though I had near perfect attendance? Did the cowboy culture of bygone administrations impart dickheadedness to the culture at large? What happened? </end rant>
Bottom line: People need to chill out at these places and treat everyone with respect. We're all shopping for many of the same things and, unless the world is about to end, the items will be around. Even if they aren't, it is not like one couldn't obtain them later. There is no reason to push people's carts out of the way, cut them off, or be a complete douche bag in the parking lot. Human decency isn't a virtue, it is an unspoken obligation toward humanity at large.
Basically, don't be a dick. (This means you, cart lady and asshole driver who didn't let me back out when I was halfway out.)
Things seemed to have settled, more and more, over the last couple of weeks now that school has started. My schedule is still a bit hectic, particularly because I have not figured out how to balance my time at school and at home, and because I haven't figured out how exactly to get to campus on the days I teach.
I know how to get to campus with the bus system and I have done it frequently, but I have to clarify something here: I don't like riding the bus when I am dressed up in my nice slacks and dress shirt. I could care less that I'm dressed up and riding to school around people that are dressed normally. No. This is different. I care about the fact that I am dapper for too long.
Yes, you read that correctly. I do not like to be dressed up for extended periods of time. Don't get me wrong. I know I look amazing in a pleated pair of gray slacks and a finely pressed blue button-up shirt with a sexy silk tie, and the ladies all confirm this; I, however, dislike the way the clothes feel on my skin after a few hours. I know it is entirely psychological, but after being "suited up" for three to four hours, I desperately want to rip my clothes off (and, no, I do not want to run around naked). It is almost like I have a sticker all over my body and I can't pull it off until I am home, which is not until late in the evening.
Maybe I'm just mental?
I suppose all of it wouldn't be so bad if I either lived closer to campus or if I could store my suits in the office; neither of which are options. So, I guess I need to figure out this alleged semi-formal style that includes walking around in a blazer with jeans. I'm not fond of this option, mainly because I think it is a little douchey, but it seems like it would be the easiest solution because I could use the blazer as outwear. Plus, I suppose it would demonstrate that I'm still the authority figure of the class. Who knows, though?
This has been my random dilemma for the last two classes I taught. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
On a completely tangential note, a friend of mine pointed me toward 2081. As you can tell from the video link before, 2081 is a new movie that is soon to theaters. What you might not know, though, is that it is Hollywood's take on Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron. Watch the video and check it out for yourself:
What do you think? On the one hand the movie is a little unsettling, particularly because the short story seems too short to be a fully length movie. On the other hand, the movie looks promising in terms of vision and scope. Plus, Patricia Clarkson (from Six Feet Under and Lars and the Real Girl) is the narrator of this dystopian take on the future of an egalitarian utopia.
A lot has happened since I last updated this blog. I have been meaning to update the blog for quite sometime, but I've either been busy writing, packing, moving, or traveling. The last couple of months have been liminal at best, which has made it somewhat difficult to adjust.
In short the following things happened:
- I finished my thesis, defended it, and got it edited.
- I packed up my apartment with the help of my friends.
- I visited the Oregon Coast (see pictures below).
- I visited with family and friends as I traveled across the country to get to North Carolina.
- I found a sweet apartment, but I have no money to furnish it.
- I finished the final edits for my thesis and will be sending everything back to the graduate college so as to finalize all things thesis related.
The good news is that I'm starting to feel more and more comfortable in my new atmosphere. Although the climate and the social atmosphere are a bit different, the adjustment has not been so harsh. In fact, most of the acclimatization has been relatively simple and enjoyable; but almost all of it has been done alone. Hopefully that will change soon with the start of the school year, though.
In the meantime, I'm continuing to learn my way around North Carolina and the campus. I have no doubt that many fun adventures are in store here and I can't wait to see what the future brings.
Here are some pictures from my most recent travels:
I promise to update the more in the following days, weeks, and months; especially as I achieve equipoise in all areas of my life.
I've been trucking along on my thesis lately, trying my best not to let the stress of the entire project bear on me to the point that I can no longer work on it. Some days are easier than others; I get a lot of work done when I can get "in the zone" and find myself enjoying the process of coding and writing. Other days are harder; I fall behind in my schedule of work, attempting to balance my research with my insane teaching load.
Still, I'm pushing myself to get through all of it because I know I am capable of finishing this milestone in my life.
Everything I have done has led me to this point in my life. Every action, every decision, and every mistake have propelled me to this juncture, resolutely affirming my presence in the here and now. I know I belong here and I know that, for all of my time at this point, I am going to continue to move on past it and be stronger for it.
In this process of making the comfortable uncomfortable—of who I am and who I will be—I am unwavering in my determination. Although the thesis may get me down from time to time, I will not let it consume me and reduce me to doubt and uncertainty. I will rise to this challenge, vivified, unwavering, and secure in myself.
I am a fighter and you are witness to the champion in me.
Every year, starting last year (not a longstanding tradition!), my university recreation center sponsors a 5K fun run to beat the current football coach. Proceeds from the run go to funding student scholarships and, for every student that beats the football coach, $10 are donated to helping fund scholarships. While I did no participate last year, I was chomping at the bits to trailblaze past Coach Pete this year.
I am excited to report that not only did I beat Coach Pete (as you can see in the photo), but I also smashed his time. I ran the 5K in 24:34, beating his 30 minute 5K, and I have the t-shirt to prove it!
Now I need to continue training up for the Susan G. Komen Race for the cure! Care to donate?
I found this website through a recent search of the comments posted on Facebook about the upcoming This American Life Live broadcast and instantly fell in love with it.
Printed and pressed posters of many of the bands that you probably listen to are on here and it is easy to search for them. The posters are relatively well priced and the designs are atypical and intriguing! If you're a music-geek, you'll probably love this site too.
Thanks to my rockstar parents and smashing sister, I got a sweet new digital camera for my birthday. However, because it's winter and because Boise is dull (at least the parts that I run, walk, and traverse to and fro), I have decided to do themed photo editing projects just for kicks!
This week I have selected the theme "Prospectus Patronus" in light of the journey of finishing my prospectus. I also thought this would be hilarious since my colleagues and I talked about a new set of Harry Potter books for academics. Our first book will be titled "Ryan Learner and the Embittered Marxist!" The title is not only gender-neutral, but also reflects a feminist focus that allows men, women and transgenders to become one with the main character who could, in fact, be any of the three! Hahaha!
Therefore, I am going to attempt to construct a book cover in a theme similar to Harry Potter using my photos and free photoshop software. Since I will not be using high-end software, it is likely that the book cover will not be amazing. Instead, I am attempting to have fun with my camera and photos in a creative release time away from my thesis.
Give me until next Monday!
Earlier today I was notified by the Director of Graduate Studies at UC-Boulder that I was on the wait list. I have been neither accepted nor rejected. Instead, I'm in academic limbo land in terms of getting admitted to Boulder.
And I'm ok with that.
After attending the Western States Communication Association Convention last weekend, I am happy to say that I will be content with whatever happens. The convention let me see what I was getting into and what I can expect for my many years in the academy. It was overwhelming and strangely enjoyable, but most importantly, it was illuminating. It showed me that the programs I applied to are, indeed, great; but also, there is no one program for me. I can go to many different schools where I fit with the program. I can choose a school that I didn't consider before. I can even take a year or two off if I want to. I mean, I'm only 23, about to be 24, and I have a lot of life left to live outside of the academy.
I knew there were no guarantees with Boulder, though so many people told me it was a sure thing. A part of me always knew that I shouldn't be too invested in the program or the location. It's the reason why I never visited the campus over the summer when I was in the area. It's the reason why I always said "If I get into Boulder." Most importantly, it's the part of me that knew I would end up where I was meant to be for the time being. If that means I'm meant to be in Utah, Indiana, North Carolina or, perhaps, Boise, then that's where I am supposed to be.
In other words, I am not upset and I am not angry. I'll admit that I was a little shocked by not getting admitted, mainly because I had connections to the program; but I am not surprised. I am much younger than the average Ph.D. student. I am doing new and novel research. There is the chance that I may drop out if it is too much. Ultimately, I'm convinced that I am a risky venture for all of the programs I applied to. It's a comforting and nerve-racking thought, but that's the way it should be. It is, as everything worthwhile, a struggle and a journey. Plus, I think my good friend Donna summed it up best when she said, "You would never know what is behind the other door if the first choice was too easy."
She is right and I am content knowing that this life is going to take me places. I did my part in the process and everything from here on out is beyond me. I cannot control the admissions process. I can not make the economy better. I cannot alter decisions that have already been made. All I can do is wait and see what happens, whether I am to stay or go.
But no matter what happens, I promise you this: I will not, under any circumstances, let this break me or all the things that I have done to get to this point. No matter what happens, no matter if I get rejected by all of the programs I applied to and end up in Boise or get accepted to the remaining three, I am happy with everything I have done up to this point. I am strong and resilient. I am smart and I am incredibly talented. I will make do with whatever life throws my way, good or bad, and I will grow from my losses and gains.
No matter what happens, I promise that I will be content because I gave it my all.
I recently returned from my convention in Arizona and I have to say that it ran the gamut of emotions. When I first arrived at the convention, I felt awkward and out of place. Most of the communication academicians running around were sticking to their cliques, avoiding contact with anyone new to the scene. Some scholars were excessively pretentious (not elitist, just pretentious) because of the school(s) they went to or the school currently associated with their name.
While I was fortunate enough to meet a wonderful scholar from the University of Utah on my first night, I still felt out of place. I had not yet met my roommate and I had no idea what I was going to do at the conference, so I ended up going to the bar alone on the first night. Although it sounds depressing, I assure you that it was actually a lot of fun. I've come to the conclusion over my many years of drinking that bartenders tend to be great conversationalists. Therefore, I went to have a conversation and get some beer! Turns out, I was right! We watched the NBA All-Star Games and made fun of the judges the whole time.
After I got done tossing back a few beers, I headed back to my room where I finally met my roommate from Boulder. Dan, my roommate, turned out to be a cool guy and I am glad that I got to meet him. After meeting him, I ended up at another bar with him and his good friend, Merit. I got the lowdown on Boulder's program and finally made some connections while down at the conference.
The next day I spent most of my time checking out panels. Most of the papers were boring, read word for word by the presenter. Only a few papers were novel, presenting thoughtful analyses of various topics and theories. When the evening rolled around, I ended up checking out the University of Utah party and I had a blast. The people at that school seemed incredibly cool and fun. If anything, going to the convention put in a much stronger bid for Utah than I ever thought it could.
On Monday, the day of my presentation, I ate breakfast with Dan and Merit and chilled for the morning. A professor from my school was down at the conference, so we attended the luncheon for 30 minutes. It was incredibly boring and pretentious, so we left it early. Instead, we spent our time out in the sun by the pool, each preparing for our panels. After an hour, I attended my professor's panel and thoroughly enjoyed it.
When it was finally time to present my paper, I felt the same nervous tension I felt before giving a speech as a debater. Before I presented, most of the people on my panel read their papers, each detailing their quantitative approach to organizational communication. While some of the papers were interesting, they did not leave me enthusiastic. Instead, I felt uninterested in what they had to say. This wasn't out of arrogance, but rather out of boredom with the quantitative approach they used.
Since I was the last one on my panel, I clarified the differences in my paper and the others that were presented before me. My paper was a methodological critique using a qualitative approach, so it stuck out in comparison to everyone else's. I unpacked and simplified the paper as much as possible, and I could tell people were interested. When it was all done, I was glad to see that people enjoyed my paper and that I had presented well (i.e. not reading the damn thing word for word!).
In the end, the convention was fun and worthwhile. I was glad I got to attend and even more glad to fly back home first class (as a treat to myself). Still, I must say that academicians can be quite odd, especially when everyone is in the same discipline. I am stable in who I am as a person, student, and a scholar, but I honestly could not believe how rude, prick-ish or bitchy some of the academicians I met were. At least there are a good few that are gregarious, jocular, and downright fun to be around. They give me hope and make me feel better about the work I am doing and where I am headed.
Now, if I could only find more time to work on my research. . .
This is a thesis venting moment meant for cathartic release of nervousness, anxiety, and stress. It may be potentially unorganized and/or strange. Read at your own risk!
I hate the weekends right now. Don't get me wrong. I love them for the times I get to spend with my friends and the necessary distractions that they provide, but I can't help but feel a little lost in them. They provide a great escape from the reality of school, time away from the never-ending lap swimming and I simply can't get back into the water after I've been out for a while.
The truth is, no matter what I do, I can't seem to focus on my thesis. My mind drags and I can't help but feel slightly overwhelmed by everything. Instead of positively focusing that energy, though, I am starting to realize that I am channeling it in the form of lethargy and a mild form of seasonal blues. I keep slacking on my revisions and I dread looking at my e-mail inboxes for fear I'll get e-mails from students or, worse, my advisor.
It is silly and it is irrational. I know I shouldn't let the stress have this level of control over me. I know that I shouldn't let the gravity of everything wear me down as much as I do. And while I can help it, I often feel powerless. It's almost as if no matter what I do, it is not enough.
I need to shake these feelings and I need to get back in the game. I am better than these thoughts and feelings. I am stronger than I give myself credit for in these moments, I just need to regain my strength.
I got a haircut today and decided to switch styles a little. Instead of being emo-depresso or slightly parted to the right or left, I decided to go with a fresher look. I asked my stylist, Jenn, to give me something more style up, like a faux hawk. So, that's what I got.
I love it and I only hope I can replicate it again tomorrow!
I can't wait to rock this do in Arizona! All the ladies are gonna wanna scream my name. What, what!?!
This is a snapshot of me doing research in Second Life. I plan to take a few more photos so you can see what my apartment looks like and how much sexier I am in the virtual world.
It's so much fun. However, you know it's a real travesty when your real apartment is not nearly as cool as your virtual apartment. That's what it is called Second Life, though!
As many of you know, I have a personal color palate for clothing: blue, light blue, white, gray, black, and some greens.
It's not a stretch to say that I usually keep within this range of colors because I know that I look good in them and I generally like them. However, because I always wear these colors, I tend to avoid wearing any other colors. My mom and cousin both commented, over winter break, that I'm "insecure in my colors" because I haven't actually tried other colors.
So I decided to experiment. I invested in some savvy and, dare I say, sexy new shirts for teaching days. Reds. Light Greens. Yellows. Purples. This is one of them. It's a fitted dusty violet shirt and I think I look great in it. In fact, I'm actually surprised at how much I like the color and how many people have complemented me on it. So much so that my vanity overrode my normal functions and I had to post a photo for you.
I even tried to look like a model!
Over winter break I submitted my applications to four Ph.D. programs in Communication. Ideally I'd like to attend at one of the programs closer to where I currently reside, but I have no way of knowing which program will be the best fit. In so many ways, I am excited and scared. In thinking about the programs and hearing what everyone (my advisor, professors, colleagues, family, and friends) has to say about where I applied, I can't help but feel a little bit like Prince Charming looking for Cinderella. I have an idea of what I am looking for and it fits neatly into a plan for the future (e.g. the slipper), but I do not know which program will fulfill my thoughts and carry me through the future. In other words, I don't know which one will be the right fit, even though I have ideas about each.
What perplexes me the most, though, is that the right fit might very well be the program furthest away from where I currently reside. It's a thought that has crossed my mind, but one that I haven't given as much thought to because of what it ultimately means.
If the shoe fits, do I take my place with Cinderella and see what the future brings or do I place myself in the company of those I love and make the shoe work as best as possible?
On a completely unrelated note: The "Springsteen Slide!"