Category Archives: Graduate School

School takes up a great deal of my time. Here you’ll find all things Grad School, beginning with my MA and moving through my PhD program!

Conference Update

It’s been a while since I’ve written. A really long while. That’s because things are moving fast, and that’s a good thing.

Last I had written, I had found out that my paper was on the top paper panel. Unfortunately the particular division I submitted to did not differentiate between top submissions, so who knows if my paper was judged #1 or not. But I’m going to pretend it was. Sadly, that panel had a small turnout and for better or worse I had few questions. There are a variety of reasons this may have happened. First, the panel was not at the most convenient time, and my paper in particular was fairly difficult to follow if you weren’t reading along. Even I have trouble keeping it all straight sometimes.

My second panel however was much different. This was my first time outside of the technology division, I think this may have been a methodology panel, and the room was packed and I had a wide variety of questions. Questions typically seem to come to me when I talk specifically about transgender individuals. Apparently other people find it as fascinating as I do. I would say that I had a good half a dozen questions. One of my favorites being “is Second Life a politically correct term”. The answer would be no, it’s a computer program. Lesson learned for me about knowing your audience 🙂

I was also asked after the conference if I was transgender myself. For the record I’m actually not, but having taken an aesthetic communications class my first thought was about how I’m performing femininity. Too much? Too little? Oy.

It was a quick conference for me, I went down the day before my first presentation and home right after I finished my second. Regardless of the short time I was there, it was a successful conference overall.

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Life Wins

I have a bit of a conundrum and it boils down to school or life. I like school. I like school a lot, but as any PhD student knows, it’s not only about going to classes and doing homework. It’s also about going to conferences and publishing. The question becomes at what point have you done enough, and the answer I fear, is probably never.

I have two papers I’ll be presenting at a regional conference in May. I’ve presented at this conference for the last 2 years, this year will be number 3. In an effort to mix up my conference presenting, I was planning on submitting to another conference for October, but now I’m rethinking. The past two years every vacation I’ve been on has surrounded a conference of some sort, and although that is a decent option, I think it’s time to have a week with no work or school commitments. Or at least limited ones. So, I’ve decided to put my “life” life first.

I may come across as all high and mighty on this one, but it’s hardly the case. The conference I was looking at was in England in October. I’m afraid I’m just not sure I’m up for a week of cold and rain for my vacation. Instead I’m thinking of opting in to a warm weather location. Not submitting to a conference isn’t the end of the world right? I have a publication out for review and a book chapter accepted. That has to outweigh a conference paper right?

Writing a Book Chapter is Hard!

This is something I should have known already. I’ve been writing academic papers for several years now and am well aware of the work it takes to write a conference paper, or better yet a publication. However, for some unknown reason, I really expected this book chapter to come together much more quickly , and more importantly easily, than it is. Let’s face it, I’m down to almost a month to get the whole thing done. A month to write a book chapter! How is that even possible?

My New Office – An Unveiling

My new office has actually been done for quite some time, but this is the first chance I’ve actually had to take pictures of it. The life of a busy PhD student right?

I realize that this probably isn’t that exciting for everyone, at least not as exciting as it is for me, but a real office was a huge thing on my list of needs. It’s tough sitting at your dining room table, or worse yet living room couch, and writing. I need quiet to write and think and that environment just wasn’t conducive. But now I have this…
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It’s fantastic. I have a large desk to spread journal articles out on, with still enough room to hook up my laptop. And you can’t see it in its entirety here, but right in front of the blue chair is my mini library. Need information on computer-mediated communication, gender or communication theories? I’m your girl. All kidding aside, it’s a great place to sit and read for class or fun as my studies do intersect with my interests on more than one occasion.

Even more exciting are the custom features that were worked into the office to make it just the right home to a busy student. This looks like a regular cabinet to you right?
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It’s actually a journal article “cozy” of sorts.
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All my journal articles from my thesis currently live in there, all organized by subject. So far the new set up has proved to increase my productivity as well as my husbands, who is now allowed to freely roam the house!

Sure, I’m Down With Business

I’ve complained a lot recently about my business classes recently, that they are less than intellectually stimulating and see people only as a means to make money and not as individuals. I’m used to living in theory and the MBA program lives in practicality.

However, I am happy to report that the business class I am taking this semester appears to more closely fit my interests. I’m certainly not going to live in theory there. It’s still VERY practical. But it looks like we’ll be social science(y), at least superficially so.

Letting go of perfection…maybe

In my never ending quest for success,  I’ve decided I can never achieve it without first defining it.  For the longest time I’ve thought success was equal to perfection. Now I’m not so sure. And does perfection in one area of my life outweigh misery in another part of my life?  Or can perfection only REALLY be perfection if it’s in all areas of my life? And is perfection even obtainable?

Hard questions to a answer right?  I don’t think I’ve ever had perfection in all aspects of my life. Far from it actually!  I’ve recently decided that my attempt to be perfect is silly. Why bother right?  Are perfect people any happier really?  It seems that I’ve spent so much time striving for everything to be perfect that I’ve only increased my imperfection.

So this year, in addition to spending more time withy family, I’m going to let go of trying to do it all and do it all without errors. My.hope is that everything will then come together perfectly. 🙂

Keeping Life Balanced

As a PhD student there are a number of expectations on you. You are expected to publish, attend conferences, present at those conferences and of course keep up with class work. It’s a lot. It’s especially a lot if you’re working a full time job in the process. With all that going on, how do you keep your personal life in the mix? How do you keep school and work from taking over your life completely?

This is my dilemma for the new year, and my resolution for 2012. Not only will I have a personal life, I will have a good personal life! So, how do I do this? Well, like any good graduate student I’m attempting to come up with a plan. I’ve already committed myself to presenting two papers at a conference (should they be accepted) and to coauthoring a book chapter. The two conference papers are already partially written, they just need some cleaning up to make them presentable. The book chapter on the other hand, that’s a start from scratch deal. Now, this will most definitely take a good chunk of time to do, however, anticipating this workload, I decided to take only two classes this next semester instead of my normal three. One of the classes will be online only and the other one takes place during normal work hours (and my job has agreed to let me leave work early once a week to attend). This means that my three days a week of leaving the house at 6am and getting home at 9pm will be over, at least for this coming semester.

So, with this new found time, I’m going to do things for me. I’m going to try to go to some exercise classes, at least once a week. I’m also hoping to involve my husband in at least one class a week, so we get out and do things together. I’ve also already scheduled a couple of outings with friends to keep me busy.

I recognize that it will be constant work to keep all three of my lives in equal balance. It’s something I’ve been working on for several years now, but the time has come to decide what is really important, and although school is definitely important, I also need to have a life outside of school.