1 comments Tuesday, February 24, 2009

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!

1 comments Monday, February 23, 2009

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.

1 comments Thursday, February 19, 2009

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. . .

2 comments Tuesday, February 10, 2009

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.

0 comments Saturday, February 07, 2009

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!?!

0 comments Friday, February 06, 2009

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!

4 comments Tuesday, February 03, 2009

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!

3 comments Monday, February 02, 2009

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!"