All posts by Sun Kaushik

I Love You And That’s All I Really Know

Is This In My Head? I Don’t Know What to Think.

Someday, my thesis will have a happy ending just like Taylor Swift’s “Love Story.” (Yes, my undergraduate degree is in literature, and I do know how Romeo and Juliet actually ends. I just really love the song, and I’m in a very Valentine’s Day mood!) After all, she had only three minutes and fifty-five seconds to capture the spirit of Shakespeare’s timeless tale and integrate her reimagined ending. The time crunch of working with what’s available and your own insight and perspective being imperative to the overall completion of the project is essentially what my thesis project is shaping up to be. Time is something that’s been stressing me out lately, on a grander scale than just thesis completion. It sounds silly, especially typing it out and posting where so many people can see it, but I feel like I’m falling behind in life in so many ways, even though I know I still have so many places to go and so much time ahead of me. All the things I love that I would normally fill this space writing about briefly, like my runs or Riveters and Devils hockey or the Mets have been really hard for me to enjoy lately. In the oddest sense, it feels like I don’t deserve to enjoy anything fun because I don’t have that perfect full-time job or amazing burst of inspiration to do something spectacular like write a whole book. I find that I’m tuned out most of the time and I don’t know how to plug back in.  

Life almost feels like it is at a standstill with everything that is out of my control and all of the waiting I’ve been doing lately; waiting for someone to return the book I need to the library, waiting in traffic, waiting to hear about whether or not I’m even going to get an interview for a job … The list of things I’m constantly waiting on could stretch the length of this blog post, so I’ll cut it short and instead offer you a glimpse into how both my thesis and research are regressing and progressing! 

How Do I Know When It’s Love?

Just like how Van Halen is on the cusp, but questioning, “When It’s Love,” I find myself looking at my thesis and wondering “how do I know I’m progressing and doing well?” I went the “conventional” route with the research and added my own spin by deciding to galvanize a field often forgotten about or left undiscovered, which would be the equivalent of putting my heart on the line. But, just like everything else I cherish lately, it’s been a rolling stone when I need something rock steady. I pulled myself through the introduction and literature review, and now I’m at a standstill with the methodology; there’s just no focus to it, and nothing to engage with, creating a situation somewhat similar to wondering whether it’s worth chasing down and going after. It’s a tangled web that temporarily hurts to look at or even think about, and I guess I’m going to have to revise my thesis timeline and give myself a few extra days until this upcoming Friday rather than Wednesday to get it where I want it to be. Most of the issue seems to be trying to justify the approach I’m taking with the case study by finding something similar or a researcher’s name to attach to the way I’m using a case study to validate my approach. But, I think that after running through the checklist, it’s nothing but love for forensic linguistics in my heart, and no matter how long it takes, I’ll get to where I need to be!

Dr. Zamora’s idea of creating chapters for my thesis is something that’s also going to help expedite the process and allow for greater exploration and explication of a very vast and complicated topic. Perhaps instead of puzzling over the methodology, I’ll dive into the content and then circle back around.

In the midst of this lover’s quarrel, I found that I needed to still work on something thesis-related, or else this odd feeling of guilt started creeping in. I figured if I couldn’t rationalize or organize my methodology section, maybe someone else could show me how, either by doing it, explaining it, or both. And that is how instead of revising anything I’ve written or trying to recalibrate my methodology section, I came up with a short story, the first to star Rem Shepard, the calm, fringe-bearing forensic linguist. (You’ve definitely spent too much time with me if you can figure out where this name came from.) Depending on how I feel, I might share it on my blog at some point in the future. In fact, maybe I could publish a few through the semester in a serial novel(la) format… I found that in writing creatively on something I’ve researched so thoroughly and so badly want to work with one day, there’s a palpable spirit to the piece, and the pacing and tone are similar to Robin Cook’s, one of my favorite medical fiction authors. 

Hopefully, Rem will make a public appearance before the semester ends under better circumstances than thesis stagnation, possibly even with a new name, and definitely with better writing. Now, onto my Research Days progress, which is far more compelling!

If You Change Your Mind, I’m The First In Line! 

Nothing cheers you up and keeps the Valentine’s Day mood alive quite like ABBA, and for someone trying something that’s trying to break into a field and contribute some fresh scholarship, “Take A Chance On Me,” is right on the money.

Before delving into the research like I thought I would, I figured that it made sense to see how I could pull off the mathematical aspect of the research design I outlined last week. The good news is that I retained most of my statistics knowledge and prowess, and I did pretty decently on some practice problems! But, it would be way too time-consuming and complicated to do all the math by hand, and if I follow through on my plan to poll as many Kean students, faculty, and staff as possible in a convenience sample, I’ll never make the March 25th submission deadline! I’m going to either have to take the time to make a lot of trips to the one computer lab equipped with SPSS on campus, figure out if Computer Services can somehow give me this software for free, pay for it myself, find an open-source tool, or scrap the math entirely. I’ll figure it out at some point this week. 

Beyond just crunching numbers and pointing out flaws, I started combing through some of the literature on the CSI effect, and it is looking pretty sparse! There were only a few academic articles that I was able to gain access to, and I’m still combing the electronic book database, but so far, it isn’t looking too extensive. So, it looks like the bulk of my paper is going to be some integration of that, but a strong use of the case study and content analysis approach yet again to highlight the difference between television versus reality in terms of investigation and policing. I’ve narrowed down my shows for comparison parameters based upon the factors of age, relevance, and popularity based upon Neilsen ratings, the duration of the series, and the relevance it will have to the audience reading my findings. Here’s a list of shows I’ll be working my way through:

  1. NYPD Blue 
  2. CSI Universe (Original + Reboot (CSI: Vegas) CSI: Miami, CSI: NY) 
  3. Law and Order: Special Victims Unit 
  4. Blue Bloods 
  5. Criminal Minds

Thankfully, I’ve seen most of these already, or at least parts. The goal of having this list isn’t to just pick out and watch a ton of television without feeling guilty, but to see what could possibly be shaping the perspective of others, and to help with creating an unbiased and informed survey. If I can get a handle on the different personalities, resources, and aspects that are connotated with investigation and evidence, then I can easily substantiate or disprove my claim, and explain the rationale more thoroughly.

Finally, on this front, I’m elated that as per Dr. Zamora, I can fold this research into my thesis as yet another chapter. Things can only move forward from here!

What More In The Name of Love?

There are few bands I love more than U2, and no song to better summarize what’s at stake going forward than “Pride (In the Name Of Love).” After all, isn’t that what is most at stake here? I have a litany of self-set and official deadlines, but that isn’t going to do much except generate stress and unhappiness. So, here’s a three date list:

  1. March 25th – Deadline to submit poster + pre-recorded presentation for Research Days; totally OK to work on this up to the last moment.
  2. April 10th – The date I hope to have all the parts of my thesis completed by, so I have a substantial amount of time to edit,
  3. May 5 – No matter what, I will submit my work on time! 

As for the feelings of helplessness and worry about not being on track or running out of time, there’s nothing else I can think of doing that could be more effective than speaking to a professional or the school’s counseling center and finding a healthy path forward. 

I Really Love The Things That You Do

It’s only fitting to share a sentiment of love if I’m posting on Valentine’s Day, and in such close proximity to our friend-a-versary. From the moment we met at eighteen, nothing about my life was ever the same. I never thought that I would ever get to feel what it was like to be loved unconditionally or have someone who even just the thought of could instantly get me to smile. There’s no one else whose messages I can read in exactly their voice, and picture clear as day what sort of face they made while typing. A million memories came to the surface of my mind just typing the above two sentences. Braiding your hair in the middle of class because we had both read ahead and weren’t missing anything. Relying on your dog in his infinite cuteness for serotonin. Waking up at seven in the morning to the tune of “Here Comes the Sun.” Asking you to wake me up for class earlier than that because I was scared I’d miss it, and having you just casually lean over me and go “Hey, wake up. You told me to wake you up.” Going to the dining hall at separate times and scaring the staff into thinking something was going on and we were on bad terms when it was just a schedule conflict. 

It means more than you’ll ever realize when you recognize a name when I’m ranting about the Riveters or Mets or the Devils, or remember who plays what position or how many skaters are on the ice because it means you were really listening to something that I care about, even if you don’t. I couldn’t imagine dancing around to old Disney soundtracks and meme songs with anyone else. Anything peach or peppermint scented instantly brings you to mind. There’s tremendous comfort in feeling like I’m getting a hug from you every time I pull one of the crewnecks you gave me on and grinning to myself every time I see what looks like one of your signature steel grey sweatshirts out in public. You’re the only person I’ll ever enjoy everyone always expecting to see with me, and vice versa. After all, I wouldn’t be who I am without being around you so often!

I find myself thinking about all the different ways we say I love you without actually saying the three words; pictures of your dog, memes of things we say throughout the day, sharing our snacks, strong hugs, building playlists for one another, leaving the desk lamp on when one of us wasn’t ready for bed, brushing our teeth together at night, sharing a textbook for class, avoiding the word specific, getting the other to try all sorts of tea, and spilling all the beans about weird nightmares where the other was the star. (I still laugh about the time I ran into the common area to make sure we were still friends after a weird break-up dream.) There’s all sorts of love, but nothing like the kind you share with someone you can look at and say, “You’re My Best Friend,” and have it mean so much. I don’t think there’s a way to fully capture the feeling, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that you’re the Monica to my Joey, the elephant to my fox, the Chen to my DaCosta, and my drop in the ocean.

You’re forever in my heart, and you’ll always have the best of me. I love you, Jamie! 

I Love You And That’s All I Really Know

Is This In My Head? I Don’t Know What to Think.

Someday, my thesis will have a happy ending just like Taylor Swift’s “Love Story.” (Yes, my undergraduate degree is in literature, and I do know how Romeo and Juliet actually ends. I just really love the song, and I’m in a very Valentine’s Day mood!) After all, she had only three minutes and fifty-five seconds to capture the spirit of Shakespeare’s timeless tale and integrate her reimagined ending. The time crunch of working with what’s available and your own insight and perspective being imperative to the overall completion of the project is essentially what my thesis project is shaping up to be. Time is something that’s been stressing me out lately, on a grander scale than just thesis completion. It sounds silly, especially typing it out and posting where so many people can see it, but I feel like I’m falling behind in life in so many ways, even though I know I still have so many places to go and so much time ahead of me. All the things I love that I would normally fill this space writing about briefly, like my runs or Riveters and Devils hockey or the Mets have been really hard for me to enjoy lately. In the oddest sense, it feels like I don’t deserve to enjoy anything fun because I don’t have that perfect full-time job or amazing burst of inspiration to do something spectacular like write a whole book. I find that I’m tuned out most of the time and I don’t know how to plug back in.  

Life almost feels like it is at a standstill with everything that is out of my control and all of the waiting I’ve been doing lately; waiting for someone to return the book I need to the library, waiting in traffic, waiting to hear about whether or not I’m even going to get an interview for a job … The list of things I’m constantly waiting on could stretch the length of this blog post, so I’ll cut it short and instead offer you a glimpse into how both my thesis and research are regressing and progressing! 

How Do I Know When It’s Love?

Just like how Van Halen is on the cusp, but questioning, “When It’s Love,” I find myself looking at my thesis and wondering “how do I know I’m progressing and doing well?” I went the “conventional” route with the research and added my own spin by deciding to galvanize a field often forgotten about or left undiscovered, which would be the equivalent of putting my heart on the line. But, just like everything else I cherish lately, it’s been a rolling stone when I need something rock steady. I pulled myself through the introduction and literature review, and now I’m at a standstill with the methodology; there’s just no focus to it, and nothing to engage with, creating a situation somewhat similar to wondering whether it’s worth chasing down and going after. It’s a tangled web that temporarily hurts to look at or even think about, and I guess I’m going to have to revise my thesis timeline and give myself a few extra days until this upcoming Friday rather than Wednesday to get it where I want it to be. Most of the issue seems to be trying to justify the approach I’m taking with the case study by finding something similar or a researcher’s name to attach to the way I’m using a case study to validate my approach. But, I think that after running through the checklist, it’s nothing but love for forensic linguistics in my heart, and no matter how long it takes, I’ll get to where I need to be!

Dr. Zamora’s idea of creating chapters for my thesis is something that’s also going to help expedite the process and allow for greater exploration and explication of a very vast and complicated topic. Perhaps instead of puzzling over the methodology, I’ll dive into the content and then circle back around.

In the midst of this lover’s quarrel, I found that I needed to still work on something thesis-related, or else this odd feeling of guilt started creeping in. I figured if I couldn’t rationalize or organize my methodology section, maybe someone else could show me how, either by doing it, explaining it, or both. And that is how instead of revising anything I’ve written or trying to recalibrate my methodology section, I came up with a short story, the first to star Rem Shepard, the calm, fringe-bearing forensic linguist. (You’ve definitely spent too much time with me if you can figure out where this name came from.) Depending on how I feel, I might share it on my blog at some point in the future. In fact, maybe I could publish a few through the semester in a serial novel(la) format… I found that in writing creatively on something I’ve researched so thoroughly and so badly want to work with one day, there’s a palpable spirit to the piece, and the pacing and tone are similar to Robin Cook’s, one of my favorite medical fiction authors. 

Hopefully, Rem will make a public appearance before the semester ends under better circumstances than thesis stagnation, possibly even with a new name, and definitely with better writing. Now, onto my Research Days progress, which is far more compelling!

If You Change Your Mind, I’m The First In Line! 

Nothing cheers you up and keeps the Valentine’s Day mood alive quite like ABBA, and for someone trying something that’s trying to break into a field and contribute some fresh scholarship, “Take A Chance On Me,” is right on the money.

Before delving into the research like I thought I would, I figured that it made sense to see how I could pull off the mathematical aspect of the research design I outlined last week. The good news is that I retained most of my statistics knowledge and prowess, and I did pretty decently on some practice problems! But, it would be way too time-consuming and complicated to do all the math by hand, and if I follow through on my plan to poll as many Kean students, faculty, and staff as possible in a convenience sample, I’ll never make the March 25th submission deadline! I’m going to either have to take the time to make a lot of trips to the one computer lab equipped with SPSS on campus, figure out if Computer Services can somehow give me this software for free, pay for it myself, find an open-source tool, or scrap the math entirely. I’ll figure it out at some point this week. 

Beyond just crunching numbers and pointing out flaws, I started combing through some of the literature on the CSI effect, and it is looking pretty sparse! There were only a few academic articles that I was able to gain access to, and I’m still combing the electronic book database, but so far, it isn’t looking too extensive. So, it looks like the bulk of my paper is going to be some integration of that, but a strong use of the case study and content analysis approach yet again to highlight the difference between television versus reality in terms of investigation and policing. I’ve narrowed down my shows for comparison parameters based upon the factors of age, relevance, and popularity based upon Neilsen ratings, the duration of the series, and the relevance it will have to the audience reading my findings. Here’s a list of shows I’ll be working my way through:

  1. NYPD Blue 
  2. CSI Universe (Original + Reboot (CSI: Vegas) CSI: Miami, CSI: NY) 
  3. Law and Order: Special Victims Unit 
  4. Blue Bloods 
  5. Criminal Minds

Thankfully, I’ve seen most of these already, or at least parts. The goal of having this list isn’t to just pick out and watch a ton of television without feeling guilty, but to see what could possibly be shaping the perspective of others, and to help with creating an unbiased and informed survey. If I can get a handle on the different personalities, resources, and aspects that are connotated with investigation and evidence, then I can easily substantiate or disprove my claim, and explain the rationale more thoroughly.

Finally, on this front, I’m elated that as per Dr. Zamora, I can fold this research into my thesis as yet another chapter. Things can only move forward from here!

What More In The Name of Love?

There are few bands I love more than U2, and no song to better summarize what’s at stake going forward than “Pride (In the Name Of Love).” After all, isn’t that what is most at stake here? I have a litany of self-set and official deadlines, but that isn’t going to do much except generate stress and unhappiness. So, here’s a three date list:

  1. March 25th – Deadline to submit poster + pre-recorded presentation for Research Days; totally OK to work on this up to the last moment.
  2. April 10th – The date I hope to have all the parts of my thesis completed by, so I have a substantial amount of time to edit,
  3. May 5 – No matter what, I will submit my work on time! 

As for the feelings of helplessness and worry about not being on track or running out of time, there’s nothing else I can think of doing that could be more effective than speaking to a professional or the school’s counseling center and finding a healthy path forward. 

I Really Love The Things That You Do

It’s only fitting to share a sentiment of love if I’m posting on Valentine’s Day, and in such close proximity to our friend-a-versary. From the moment we met at eighteen, nothing about my life was ever the same. I never thought that I would ever get to feel what it was like to be loved unconditionally or have someone who even just the thought of could instantly get me to smile. There’s no one else whose messages I can read in exactly their voice, and picture clear as day what sort of face they made while typing. A million memories came to the surface of my mind just typing the above two sentences. Braiding your hair in the middle of class because we had both read ahead and weren’t missing anything. Relying on your dog in his infinite cuteness for serotonin. Waking up at seven in the morning to the tune of “Here Comes the Sun.” Asking you to wake me up for class earlier than that because I was scared I’d miss it, and having you just casually lean over me and go “Hey, wake up. You told me to wake you up.” Going to the dining hall at separate times and scaring the staff into thinking something was going on and we were on bad terms when it was just a schedule conflict. 

It means more than you’ll ever realize when you recognize a name when I’m ranting about the Riveters or Mets or the Devils, or remember who plays what position or how many skaters are on the ice because it means you were really listening to something that I care about, even if you don’t. I couldn’t imagine dancing around to old Disney soundtracks and meme songs with anyone else. Anything peach or peppermint scented instantly brings you to mind. There’s tremendous comfort in feeling like I’m getting a hug from you every time I pull one of the crewnecks you gave me on and grinning to myself every time I see what looks like one of your signature steel grey sweatshirts out in public. You’re the only person I’ll ever enjoy everyone always expecting to see with me, and vice versa. After all, I wouldn’t be who I am without being around you so often!

I find myself thinking about all the different ways we say I love you without actually saying the three words; pictures of your dog, memes of things we say throughout the day, sharing our snacks, strong hugs, building playlists for one another, leaving the desk lamp on when one of us wasn’t ready for bed, brushing our teeth together at night, sharing a textbook for class, avoiding the word specific, getting the other to try all sorts of tea, and spilling all the beans about weird nightmares where the other was the star. (I still laugh about the time I ran into the common area to make sure we were still friends after a weird break-up dream.) There’s all sorts of love, but nothing like the kind you share with someone you can look at and say, “You’re My Best Friend,” and have it mean so much. I don’t think there’s a way to fully capture the feeling, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that you’re the Monica to my Joey, the elephant to my fox, the Chen to my DaCosta, and my drop in the ocean.

You’re forever in my heart, and you’ll always have the best of me. I love you, Jamie! 

Am I Throwing You Off?

Nope. Didn’t Think So. 

The feeling that my thesis is giving really drives me crazy. (I’ll cut myself off here before I end up typing a thesis-themed parody of “Promiscuous” instead of a progress report blog, and because I would hate for my musical selections to overshadow every other aspect of my project and blog, no matter how rad they are.)

With the age and amenities of my vehicle, it would be cute if someone special magically entered my life and made a Spotify playlist, but (no pun intended) it would be downright hot if they burnt me a CD with that playlist. At least for now, I finally get to take our home and library’s collections to task, and this week it’s primarily been Loose by Nelly Furtado keeping me company and yielding the best introduction to any blog I’ve written thus far. Everything in life at the moment has just been par for the course at the moment, barring the extraordinary pain the Devils are piling on with that loss to the Maple Leafs. (If you’re really curious, look up the score yourself.) How they ended up at the bottom of the Metro division, despite the Flyers tanking 10+ games is a phenomenon I can’t wrap my head around. The Winter Olympics are what has been giving me life; the Brianna Decker situation, however, was terrifying! I’m thankful that she is going to recuperate, even if it means missing her on the ice. 

Since my last post and class, my goals have slightly shifted and changed, since I need to get a move on both writing this thesis, as well as designing and completing my project for Research Days. I decided to go the presentation route, but it never hurts to put together something publishable and have an accompanying poster or graphic! My goals for my thesis are clear, but I also have some for my Research Days presentation; I’m hoping it’ll provoke plenty of interdisciplinary collaboration and thought, between our program and those in communications, psychology, and criminal justice. It’s imperative to make several key changes to the justice system as it currently stands and to get that change implemented, it’s vital to understand the effect and influence of how others view what the justice system is and is not, and every aspect of it, from the police force to the prosecutor’s office to even the methods of investigation and sentencing. After all, it’s dangerous to just assume that a single perspective is correct, and it’s also imperative to avoid assuming the views of others since that can also stall a dialogue. I’ll explain further about this project below since it is deserving of a section of its own. 

With that out of the way, let’s get into some sturdy progress on both fronts! I’ll walk you through my thesis work thus far, and then a more sophisticated discussion of my Research Days project. 

When She Asks For Something, Boy She Means It

Maneater” is the perfect update to the Hall and Oates’ classic, and also energetic enough to pull everyone through the heart of this post. For the time being, I’ve given my thesis a working title, abstract, keywords, and introduction. The aforementioned aspects all met the parameters I set in my outline from my last blog pretty well. I took some of the critical advice Dr. Zamora mentioned about this section in my one-on-one last class and added in a statement of positionality, as well as a slight re-arrangement of how to introduce the term, the field, and the implications in a more succinct manner. 

Now that I have a composite written for my abstract and introduction, I’m going to look away from it for a week or so, and instead spend this upcoming week, and a bit of the next writing up my literature review and methodology section. This is where things are going to get a bit dicey, as I have to determine what research and resources I want to put into my literature review and what I want to save for analysis, so I’ll have to review my notes and find my path from there. 

The methodology section also has to be carefully monitored, as I don’t want it to be so extensive the approach is not clear or seems to be weak. As previously mentioned and also discussed in my one-on-one last week, a case study would serve this work well; it’s just figuring out exactly which configuration of a case study is most suitable, and what research will bolster this point. Discourse, protocol, and content analysis will all also be utilized as planned, and after careful consideration and reading further on linguistics in general, I’m moving away from corpus linguistics as an investigative method, but instead looking at it as a possible result or resolution. Another takeaway from my one-on-one that is going to affect my methodology section is the integration of critical terms and components from my conflict resolution course. No, I’m not trying to overload this paper with stuffy, academic terms, or trying to pull it in divergent directions, but I do think that if this is going to be a reflection of my academic self, there has to be a shred of the greatest class I ever took that changed my life in more ways than I ever imagined possible. I plan to spend a bit of next class pondering this a bit, and revisiting the text that I’ll most likely be using, Hostage at the Table by George Kohlreiser. It’s a lock that the ideas of schismogenesis, models of power, restorative justice, and forgiveness and reconciliation as separate concepts will appear at some point. 

Finally, I’ll be narrowing down what landmark Supreme Court cases regarding faulty procedures, due process, the first amendment, or sentencing I’d like to include. Riggins vs. Nevada is definitely a lock, and I’m still deliberating on others. (Jackson vs. Indiana is another of my favorites, but I’m not sure if there is a place for it in this project.) Hopefully, I’ll have a definitive answer by next week! 

You Either Got It, Or You Don’t

A discussion of my budding research days project deserves a song like, “Say It Right,” especially when looking at the severity of what I’ve decided to pursue. As previously mentioned, I’ll be looking at both the CSI effect and overall effect that police procedural television programming has had on the general public’s understanding of what the role of police in society is, what they are and are not qualified to do, and what resources are actually available and realistic investigative timelines, as opposed to those seen on television. Much of the research on the CSI effect is growing dated, and many social psychology studies on the effect of watching police procedurals focus less on perceptions of the group, and instead on the effect on someone’s empathy responses. 

For this, I most definitely will need to compile both archival and original data, and with the original data, it’ll be time for me to revisit statistics! So, here’s an outline of how I’m thinking about tackling this:

  1. Complete Preliminary Research  
    1. Look into different scientific, psychological, and criminology themed journals 
      1. Not only for past research on this topic, but also to discern realistic parameters of police + forensic capabilities
    2. Consider the integration of different concepts + theories from social psychology as necessary 
    3. Mention the implications of this phenomenon
    4. Clearly state what this project aims to measure and capture 
  2. Design Survey 
    1. Ensure the questions are bias-free and easily quantifiable
    2. Determine whether a convenience sample or a stratified sample is the more feasible or appropriate option  
      1. Determine whether the stratified sample will be limited to Kean-affiliated individuals or to a larger audience; if Kean limited, which student population? (Ex. graduate students only?)
    3. Utilize a linear ranking scale and dichotomous questions to allow for seamless statistical analysis
  3. Send Survey Out 
  4. Conduct Statistical Analysis (Order of steps will be revised)
    1. For this process, SPSS will be utilized 
      1. Determine the mean, median, and range of responses.
      2. Determine the correlational coefficient.
      3. Based on the claim, conduct a hypothesis test.
        1. Based on the result, either reject or accept the null hypothesis.
      4. Determine the standard deviation of responses.
      5. Determine the associated error via confidence interval testing 
      6. Document all statistical analysis, final conclusion, and feelings 
  5. Full Write-Up and Poster Completion

Sure. it’s a lot, but it can, and it will be done! I have little to no fear regarding the mathematical analysis involved, thanks to having an amazing statistics class I saved my notes from! (That was another one of those life-changing classes for me, and the professor I had is someone I will always look up to! I hope to model my classroom mannerism after her.)

I Only Stop At Exits, Wondering If I’ll Stay Young and Restless

This is the part of the blog where I usually mention what my plans for next week are, and it’s only fitting that looking at all of the above has me nodding along with “All Good Things Come To An End.” 

With so much going on, I’ll have to figure out how exactly to rotate between the two tasks at hand, as well as prepare for my thesis presentation. It isn’t for a few more weeks, but March will probably creep up on me the same way February did. For now, I’ll have to dedicate two hours a day to my thesis, and two to my research days project for equilibrium. One hour dedicated to revisiting research and annotations, and the other hour dedicated to writing and making meaning out of it on the thesis side, and one hour dedicated to compiling research and the other to survey design on the Research Days side. As far as my presentations go, I know that for Research Days, I’ll be bolstered by my poster and photos of all the graphs of my statistical analysis and explanations of the findings underneath. But for the thesis, it’s trickier. No matter what way I turn, that same inside-outsider feeling is there, along with this weird budding internal indignation. 

At least it’s starting to get drowned out by the spring tide of determination I’ve been lucky to feel this past week. No matter how old I am, a diagonally cut, slightly burnt grilled cheese with bell pepper made by Dad while he reminds me that it takes time to strengthen your mind, just like your muscles always makes me laugh, and then gets me back on track. I don’t know when, but I know it’ll be fine. 

The Dogs Were Whistling A New Tune

Oh, and because I want to be open about things; I went to an open house for Montclair this past weekend and by the end of this week, I’ll be sending in an application for their post-baccalaureate certification in paralegal studies, which will probably take a year or less to complete. See you later tonight! 

  

Am I Throwing You Off?

Nope. Didn’t Think So. 

The feeling that my thesis is giving really drives me crazy. (I’ll cut myself off here before I end up typing a thesis-themed parody of “Promiscuous” instead of a progress report blog, and because I would hate for my musical selections to overshadow every other aspect of my project and blog, no matter how rad they are.)

With the age and amenities of my vehicle, it would be cute if someone special magically entered my life and made a Spotify playlist, but (no pun intended) it would be downright hot if they burnt me a CD with that playlist. At least for now, I finally get to take our home and library’s collections to task, and this week it’s primarily been Loose by Nelly Furtado keeping me company and yielding the best introduction to any blog I’ve written thus far. Everything in life at the moment has just been par for the course at the moment, barring the extraordinary pain the Devils are piling on with that loss to the Maple Leafs. (If you’re really curious, look up the score yourself.) How they ended up at the bottom of the Metro division, despite the Flyers tanking 10+ games is a phenomenon I can’t wrap my head around. The Winter Olympics are what has been giving me life; the Brianna Decker situation, however, was terrifying! I’m thankful that she is going to recuperate, even if it means missing her on the ice. 

Since my last post and class, my goals have slightly shifted and changed, since I need to get a move on both writing this thesis, as well as designing and completing my project for Research Days. I decided to go the presentation route, but it never hurts to put together something publishable and have an accompanying poster or graphic! My goals for my thesis are clear, but I also have some for my Research Days presentation; I’m hoping it’ll provoke plenty of interdisciplinary collaboration and thought, between our program and those in communications, psychology, and criminal justice. It’s imperative to make several key changes to the justice system as it currently stands and to get that change implemented, it’s vital to understand the effect and influence of how others view what the justice system is and is not, and every aspect of it, from the police force to the prosecutor’s office to even the methods of investigation and sentencing. After all, it’s dangerous to just assume that a single perspective is correct, and it’s also imperative to avoid assuming the views of others since that can also stall a dialogue. I’ll explain further about this project below since it is deserving of a section of its own. 

With that out of the way, let’s get into some sturdy progress on both fronts! I’ll walk you through my thesis work thus far, and then a more sophisticated discussion of my Research Days project. 

When She Asks For Something, Boy She Means It

Maneater” is the perfect update to the Hall and Oates’ classic, and also energetic enough to pull everyone through the heart of this post. For the time being, I’ve given my thesis a working title, abstract, keywords, and introduction. The aforementioned aspects all met the parameters I set in my outline from my last blog pretty well. I took some of the critical advice Dr. Zamora mentioned about this section in my one-on-one last class and added in a statement of positionality, as well as a slight re-arrangement of how to introduce the term, the field, and the implications in a more succinct manner. 

Now that I have a composite written for my abstract and introduction, I’m going to look away from it for a week or so, and instead spend this upcoming week, and a bit of the next writing up my literature review and methodology section. This is where things are going to get a bit dicey, as I have to determine what research and resources I want to put into my literature review and what I want to save for analysis, so I’ll have to review my notes and find my path from there. 

The methodology section also has to be carefully monitored, as I don’t want it to be so extensive the approach is not clear or seems to be weak. As previously mentioned and also discussed in my one-on-one last week, a case study would serve this work well; it’s just figuring out exactly which configuration of a case study is most suitable, and what research will bolster this point. Discourse, protocol, and content analysis will all also be utilized as planned, and after careful consideration and reading further on linguistics in general, I’m moving away from corpus linguistics as an investigative method, but instead looking at it as a possible result or resolution. Another takeaway from my one-on-one that is going to affect my methodology section is the integration of critical terms and components from my conflict resolution course. No, I’m not trying to overload this paper with stuffy, academic terms, or trying to pull it in divergent directions, but I do think that if this is going to be a reflection of my academic self, there has to be a shred of the greatest class I ever took that changed my life in more ways than I ever imagined possible. I plan to spend a bit of next class pondering this a bit, and revisiting the text that I’ll most likely be using, Hostage at the Table by George Kohlreiser. It’s a lock that the ideas of schismogenesis, models of power, restorative justice, and forgiveness and reconciliation as separate concepts will appear at some point. 

Finally, I’ll be narrowing down what landmark Supreme Court cases regarding faulty procedures, due process, the first amendment, or sentencing I’d like to include. Riggins vs. Nevada is definitely a lock, and I’m still deliberating on others. (Jackson vs. Indiana is another of my favorites, but I’m not sure if there is a place for it in this project.) Hopefully, I’ll have a definitive answer by next week! 

You Either Got It, Or You Don’t

A discussion of my budding research days project deserves a song like, “Say It Right,” especially when looking at the severity of what I’ve decided to pursue. As previously mentioned, I’ll be looking at both the CSI effect and overall effect that police procedural television programming has had on the general public’s understanding of what the role of police in society is, what they are and are not qualified to do, and what resources are actually available and realistic investigative timelines, as opposed to those seen on television. Much of the research on the CSI effect is growing dated, and many social psychology studies on the effect of watching police procedurals focus less on perceptions of the group, and instead on the effect on someone’s empathy responses. 

For this, I most definitely will need to compile both archival and original data, and with the original data, it’ll be time for me to revisit statistics! So, here’s an outline of how I’m thinking about tackling this:

  1. Complete Preliminary Research  
    1. Look into different scientific, psychological, and criminology themed journals 
      1. Not only for past research on this topic, but also to discern realistic parameters of police + forensic capabilities
    2. Consider the integration of different concepts + theories from social psychology as necessary 
    3. Mention the implications of this phenomenon
    4. Clearly state what this project aims to measure and capture 
  2. Design Survey 
    1. Ensure the questions are bias-free and easily quantifiable
    2. Determine whether a convenience sample or a stratified sample is the more feasible or appropriate option  
      1. Determine whether the stratified sample will be limited to Kean-affiliated individuals or to a larger audience; if Kean limited, which student population? (Ex. graduate students only?)
    3. Utilize a linear ranking scale and dichotomous questions to allow for seamless statistical analysis
  3. Send Survey Out 
  4. Conduct Statistical Analysis (Order of steps will be revised)
    1. For this process, SPSS will be utilized 
      1. Determine the mean, median, and range of responses.
      2. Determine the correlational coefficient.
      3. Based on the claim, conduct a hypothesis test.
        1. Based on the result, either reject or accept the null hypothesis.
      4. Determine the standard deviation of responses.
      5. Determine the associated error via confidence interval testing 
      6. Document all statistical analysis, final conclusion, and feelings 
  5. Full Write-Up and Poster Completion

Sure. it’s a lot, but it can, and it will be done! I have little to no fear regarding the mathematical analysis involved, thanks to having an amazing statistics class I saved my notes from! (That was another one of those life-changing classes for me, and the professor I had is someone I will always look up to! I hope to model my classroom mannerism after her.)

I Only Stop At Exits, Wondering If I’ll Stay Young and Restless

This is the part of the blog where I usually mention what my plans for next week are, and it’s only fitting that looking at all of the above has me nodding along with “All Good Things Come To An End.” 

With so much going on, I’ll have to figure out how exactly to rotate between the two tasks at hand, as well as prepare for my thesis presentation. It isn’t for a few more weeks, but March will probably creep up on me the same way February did. For now, I’ll have to dedicate two hours a day to my thesis, and two to my research days project for equilibrium. One hour dedicated to revisiting research and annotations, and the other hour dedicated to writing and making meaning out of it on the thesis side, and one hour dedicated to compiling research and the other to survey design on the Research Days side. As far as my presentations go, I know that for Research Days, I’ll be bolstered by my poster and photos of all the graphs of my statistical analysis and explanations of the findings underneath. But for the thesis, it’s trickier. No matter what way I turn, that same inside-outsider feeling is there, along with this weird budding internal indignation. 

At least it’s starting to get drowned out by the spring tide of determination I’ve been lucky to feel this past week. No matter how old I am, a diagonally cut, slightly burnt grilled cheese with bell pepper made by Dad while he reminds me that it takes time to strengthen your mind, just like your muscles always makes me laugh, and then gets me back on track. I don’t know when, but I know it’ll be fine. 

The Dogs Were Whistling A New Tune

Oh, and because I want to be open about things; I went to an open house for Montclair this past weekend and by the end of this week, I’ll be sending in an application for their post-baccalaureate certification in paralegal studies, which will probably take a year or less to complete. See you later tonight! 

  

Tomorrow’s Getting Harder, Make No Mistake

Son, Don’t Let The Man Get You!

It doesn’t take a lot to feel genuine happiness. Just a flickering lamplight, notepad, static crackling on whatever station I’m tuned into, a good book or ten, and a whole lot of solitude. (I’ll add my winter break reading list to the bottom of this post!) With all the reminiscing lately about how our family’s journey in America started out in Louisiana, I can’t help but start things off with “Born On The Bayou,” a household staple. 

It’s truly something to behold, looking back at all the moments, minute and monumental, that make this year stand out in my mind. A year split between what was becoming the “new normal” and the unfamiliar “old routine.” A regular sleep, work, and exercise schedule. What should have been my undergraduate ceremony in the spring that was actually me wrapping up half of the graduate school experience. But also, finding a new appreciation for the people who stuck around. A couple of new arrivals, and departures, if you will, to carry on with the metaphor of transitory spaces from my last blog. Growing closer to people as time grew scarcer. A sense of adventure, in all of the forms that can take on, beginning to form and solidify. Putting those map-reading skills to the test for more than just navigating life. And a sense of familiarity, comfort, and enchantment with the unknown, perhaps the greatest ironic gift of all. I hope I can capitalize on it, and make meaning of exactly what I’m doing here, and in a more meaningful sense of that question.

And with all of this, a project that I’ll be carrying with me for the foreseeable future, one that will serve as a marker of my identity in areas where it’ll make a big impact. 

I’ve Been Swimming In A Sea of Anarchy

It’s only fair that a transition to a new year and a fresh thesis process warrants a song with the same concept, like “Everyday Is A Winding Road” by Sheryl Crow. Thankfully, I’ve discovered another search term that yields useful resources even without extensive filtering and truncated searches; forensic oration. Granted, it has more so to do with litigation practices and actual courtroom semantics than evidence, but that’s perfectly fine! In fact, it ties in perfectly to what I’m hoping to achieve after all, which is exploring how linguistic evidence can be valued in the same regard as even the smallest scrap of physical evidence. 

A lot of last semester was spent as my foray into archival, involved, and innovative research and much of the break was spent evaluating sources, approaches, and research designs in between chasing joy. I’ve finally figured out what would work best for this project, in terms of organization and design, and it’s a very special construction that I’ll outline below:

  1. Abstract 
    1. Brief summary of the thesis and the associated keywords meant for database searches
    2. Projected Length: 250 words or less
  2. Introduction
    1. Defining the Term + Field of Forensic Linguistics
      1. Begin broadly, and narrow the scope to pertinent components
    2. Introduction of Field History + Key Figures + 1-2 Landmark Cases/Expert Testimonies
    3. Introduction of the Conflict/Central Question and Its Importance 
  3. Literature Review 
    1. Should segue seamlessly from the Introduction
    2. Components 
      1. Re-Iteration of the Hypothesis Question and Individual Sections to Address Different Instances of Forensic Linguistics Being Critical, But Overlooked (Meant as In The Different Forms of Forensic Linguistics, Not Necessarily Different Cases)
      2. Methodology (Will Be Thoroughly Explained and Expanded Upon Appropriately)
        1. Qualitative Mixed-Method Study using Discourse Theory, Case Study, Protocol and Content Analysis, Corpus Linguistics, and Possibly (?) A Criminal Justice Theory 
      3. Explanation of Projected Impact of this Research
        1. A nuanced portrait of the entire legal process, from arrest to courtroom, linguistically
        2. A path forward toward equitable interviewing, evidence collection, and courtroom processes
        3. Possible changes to the justice system 
    3. Projected Length: 4-7 Pages
  4. Thesis Casework 
    1. Determination of Parameters of Forensic Linguistics Necessary for Demonstrating Competence/Mastery +Defining of the Following
      1. Interviewing Procedures/Outcomes 
      2. Enhanced Auditory Evidence
      3. Forensic Stenography/Handwriting Comparisons 
      4. Forensic Oration
      5. Examine the Ethics and Motivations Associated
    2. Careful Selection of Cases Where Forensic Linguistics Could Have Been Employed via Expert Testimony But Was Neglected
    3. Cases Where Forensic Oration Was A Deciding Factor
      1. Once again, Ethical Implications, Factors of Bias, Etc. are to be examined
  5. Approaches to Demonstrate Thoughtful Analysis and Application of Forensic Linguistics (Only For the Purposes of This Outline, Not A Section In The Paper)
    1. Discourse Theory 
    2. Protocol and Content Analysis
    3. Explication and Imagined Application of Corpus Linguistics in Appropriate Scenarios 
  6. Results 
  7. Conclusion
  8. Overall Projected Length: ~70 + Pages

While the above is my overall outline, I recognize that there is a need to further flesh out and define the components I’ve condensed, in my hypothesis so that maybe my project can shed after-thought labels like “unique” or “interesting” when discussing or presenting it locally.  So, have a very bare outline of just the things involved in my hypothesis question! 

  1. Forensic Linguistics (General Premise, Field of Study) 
  2. Linguistic Evidence (What It Is, What It Is Not)
    1. My Points of Focus 
  3. How Is Forensic Linguistics Currently Utilized Today 
    1. Expert Use 
    2. Use By The Prosecution 
    3. Use By The Defense 
  4. What Does The Above Mean For the Field? 

It’s hefty stuff, but that’s what the abstract and introduction of any good thesis are for since they set the stage! I’ll focus this week to refine the work I’ve steadily completed on this thus far, and then set it aside. After all, fresh eyes will yield a different perspective, even if the writer and editor are one and the same. 

Smile and Grin At The Change All Around

After checking out the outlines above, and seeing all the work I have to do, there’s nothing that exemplifies how I’m feeling better than the screech in “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who. (Also, it was the theme for CSI: Miami, a great show that will be mentioned again later!) Naturally, the above sections I have to write are going to continue to be refined until I feel that they’re thesis caliber. Maybe it’s an impossible idea that I’m chasing, one of the perfect thesis, or something that I’m not capable of, but I just know that I can, I should, and I will be better than this. 

Beyond that, however, it’s almost eating me alive how I really shared what was on my mind in terms of what I mentioned during the TROIKA exercise last class. Dr. Zamora summed it up perfectly by mentioning the insider-outsider phenomenon because there is a dissonance attached to seeing all the meaningful feedback flying around and then just stopping or slowing when it gets to you. And for what it’s worth hearing a week later, I’ve somewhat always known this isn’t the audience for my work. I guess the best way to describe this is more of a social than an academic struggle; my work is sound, but my feelings are not, and that is grating. It feels valid and important yet somehow also juvenile and distracting. Nevertheless, I won’t get lost in the cycle or fooled by these feelings! My mind’s eye is focused on the process, and I just have to stay the course. 

It’s going to come down to two things to pull everything together; grit and resilience. And there isn’t anything I do better than the two. So, that May 5th deadline is one I’m going to battle onwards to. 

I guess the best way to summarize my thesis work thus far and the overall process is that I’m essentially working it from the inside out; I’ll have to really, truly treat this as an investigation; I have all my evidence, a few theories of how the events unfolded, and now I need to put things together to find the actual occurrence, not the one of convenience. Parallel to completing my thesis, this is only going to enhance my investigative and academic skillsets. So, with this out of the way, I’m going to tackle my literature review, specifically the nuances of the methodology after I clear up the introduction and proceed from there. 

Don’t Bend, Don’t Break, Baby, Don’t Back Down 

It’s only fair to end the blog post with a song as stubborn sounding as I am, like “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi, while I detail what I’ll be presenting on at Research Days in the coming months! Especially since it is adjacent to, but not exactly my thesis work! 

I’ll be presenting a media-studies content analysis of the CSI effect, which means that yes, I have a good reason for why I’ve been re-visiting the three main series and the current re-boot! (Jorja Fox’s Sara Sidle will always have a special place in my heart as a primary reason for why I pursued my thesis topic and this research.) I’ll be conducting some original quantitative research for this as well, so be on the lookout for a survey in the near future. And with that, I’ll see everyone in class! 

Tomorrow’s Getting Harder, Make No Mistake

Son, Don’t Let The Man Get You!

It doesn’t take a lot to feel genuine happiness. Just a flickering lamplight, notepad, static crackling on whatever station I’m tuned into, a good book or ten, and a whole lot of solitude. (I’ll add my winter break reading list to the bottom of this post!) With all the reminiscing lately about how our family’s journey in America started out in Louisiana, I can’t help but start things off with “Born On The Bayou,” a household staple. 

It’s truly something to behold, looking back at all the moments, minute and monumental, that make this year stand out in my mind. A year split between what was becoming the “new normal” and the unfamiliar “old routine.” A regular sleep, work, and exercise schedule. What should have been my undergraduate ceremony in the spring that was actually me wrapping up half of the graduate school experience. But also, finding a new appreciation for the people who stuck around. A couple of new arrivals, and departures, if you will, to carry on with the metaphor of transitory spaces from my last blog. Growing closer to people as time grew scarcer. A sense of adventure, in all of the forms that can take on, beginning to form and solidify. Putting those map-reading skills to the test for more than just navigating life. And a sense of familiarity, comfort, and enchantment with the unknown, perhaps the greatest ironic gift of all. I hope I can capitalize on it, and make meaning of exactly what I’m doing here, and in a more meaningful sense of that question.

And with all of this, a project that I’ll be carrying with me for the foreseeable future, one that will serve as a marker of my identity in areas where it’ll make a big impact. 

I’ve Been Swimming In A Sea of Anarchy

It’s only fair that a transition to a new year and a fresh thesis process warrants a song with the same concept, like “Everyday Is A Winding Road” by Sheryl Crow. Thankfully, I’ve discovered another search term that yields useful resources even without extensive filtering and truncated searches; forensic oration. Granted, it has more so to do with litigation practices and actual courtroom semantics than evidence, but that’s perfectly fine! In fact, it ties in perfectly to what I’m hoping to achieve after all, which is exploring how linguistic evidence can be valued in the same regard as even the smallest scrap of physical evidence. 

A lot of last semester was spent as my foray into archival, involved, and innovative research and much of the break was spent evaluating sources, approaches, and research designs in between chasing joy. I’ve finally figured out what would work best for this project, in terms of organization and design, and it’s a very special construction that I’ll outline below:

  1. Abstract 
    1. Brief summary of the thesis and the associated keywords meant for database searches
    2. Projected Length: 250 words or less
  2. Introduction
    1. Defining the Term + Field of Forensic Linguistics
      1. Begin broadly, and narrow the scope to pertinent components
    2. Introduction of Field History + Key Figures + 1-2 Landmark Cases/Expert Testimonies
    3. Introduction of the Conflict/Central Question and Its Importance 
  3. Literature Review 
    1. Should segue seamlessly from the Introduction
    2. Components 
      1. Re-Iteration of the Hypothesis Question and Individual Sections to Address Different Instances of Forensic Linguistics Being Critical, But Overlooked (Meant as In The Different Forms of Forensic Linguistics, Not Necessarily Different Cases)
      2. Methodology (Will Be Thoroughly Explained and Expanded Upon Appropriately)
        1. Qualitative Mixed-Method Study using Discourse Theory, Case Study, Protocol and Content Analysis, Corpus Linguistics, and Possibly (?) A Criminal Justice Theory 
      3. Explanation of Projected Impact of this Research
        1. A nuanced portrait of the entire legal process, from arrest to courtroom, linguistically
        2. A path forward toward equitable interviewing, evidence collection, and courtroom processes
        3. Possible changes to the justice system 
    3. Projected Length: 4-7 Pages
  4. Thesis Casework 
    1. Determination of Parameters of Forensic Linguistics Necessary for Demonstrating Competence/Mastery +Defining of the Following
      1. Interviewing Procedures/Outcomes 
      2. Enhanced Auditory Evidence
      3. Forensic Stenography/Handwriting Comparisons 
      4. Forensic Oration
      5. Examine the Ethics and Motivations Associated
    2. Careful Selection of Cases Where Forensic Linguistics Could Have Been Employed via Expert Testimony But Was Neglected
    3. Cases Where Forensic Oration Was A Deciding Factor
      1. Once again, Ethical Implications, Factors of Bias, Etc. are to be examined
  5. Approaches to Demonstrate Thoughtful Analysis and Application of Forensic Linguistics (Only For the Purposes of This Outline, Not A Section In The Paper)
    1. Discourse Theory 
    2. Protocol and Content Analysis
    3. Explication and Imagined Application of Corpus Linguistics in Appropriate Scenarios 
  6. Results 
  7. Conclusion
  8. Overall Projected Length: ~70 + Pages

While the above is my overall outline, I recognize that there is a need to further flesh out and define the components I’ve condensed, in my hypothesis so that maybe my project can shed after-thought labels like “unique” or “interesting” when discussing or presenting it locally.  So, have a very bare outline of just the things involved in my hypothesis question! 

  1. Forensic Linguistics (General Premise, Field of Study) 
  2. Linguistic Evidence (What It Is, What It Is Not)
    1. My Points of Focus 
  3. How Is Forensic Linguistics Currently Utilized Today 
    1. Expert Use 
    2. Use By The Prosecution 
    3. Use By The Defense 
  4. What Does The Above Mean For the Field? 

It’s hefty stuff, but that’s what the abstract and introduction of any good thesis are for since they set the stage! I’ll focus this week to refine the work I’ve steadily completed on this thus far, and then set it aside. After all, fresh eyes will yield a different perspective, even if the writer and editor are one and the same. 

Smile and Grin At The Change All Around

After checking out the outlines above, and seeing all the work I have to do, there’s nothing that exemplifies how I’m feeling better than the screech in “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who. (Also, it was the theme for CSI: Miami, a great show that will be mentioned again later!) Naturally, the above sections I have to write are going to continue to be refined until I feel that they’re thesis caliber. Maybe it’s an impossible idea that I’m chasing, one of the perfect thesis, or something that I’m not capable of, but I just know that I can, I should, and I will be better than this. 

Beyond that, however, it’s almost eating me alive how I really shared what was on my mind in terms of what I mentioned during the TROIKA exercise last class. Dr. Zamora summed it up perfectly by mentioning the insider-outsider phenomenon because there is a dissonance attached to seeing all the meaningful feedback flying around and then just stopping or slowing when it gets to you. And for what it’s worth hearing a week later, I’ve somewhat always known this isn’t the audience for my work. I guess the best way to describe this is more of a social than an academic struggle; my work is sound, but my feelings are not, and that is grating. It feels valid and important yet somehow also juvenile and distracting. Nevertheless, I won’t get lost in the cycle or fooled by these feelings! My mind’s eye is focused on the process, and I just have to stay the course. 

It’s going to come down to two things to pull everything together; grit and resilience. And there isn’t anything I do better than the two. So, that May 5th deadline is one I’m going to battle onwards to. 

I guess the best way to summarize my thesis work thus far and the overall process is that I’m essentially working it from the inside out; I’ll have to really, truly treat this as an investigation; I have all my evidence, a few theories of how the events unfolded, and now I need to put things together to find the actual occurrence, not the one of convenience. Parallel to completing my thesis, this is only going to enhance my investigative and academic skillsets. So, with this out of the way, I’m going to tackle my literature review, specifically the nuances of the methodology after I clear up the introduction and proceed from there. 

Don’t Bend, Don’t Break, Baby, Don’t Back Down 

It’s only fair to end the blog post with a song as stubborn sounding as I am, like “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi, while I detail what I’ll be presenting on at Research Days in the coming months! Especially since it is adjacent to, but not exactly my thesis work! 

I’ll be presenting a media-studies content analysis of the CSI effect, which means that yes, I have a good reason for why I’ve been re-visiting the three main series and the current re-boot! (Jorja Fox’s Sara Sidle will always have a special place in my heart as a primary reason for why I pursued my thesis topic and this research.) I’ll be conducting some original quantitative research for this as well, so be on the lookout for a survey in the near future. And with that, I’ll see everyone in class! 

I Had The Best Day With You Today

It’s been a few weeks of being in all sorts of transitory and symbolic places; bus terminals, subway cars, airports, and the hospital. Thankfully, my uncle recuperated well enough to fly home this Friday, and so I found myself helping out with facilitating a drive on the Belt Parkway, to drop him and my aunt off at LaGuardia. But, then it was my father’s turn to experience a health scare, and while my mother and my brother were able to get a handle on things, the fear still hasn’t vanished. I wrote in my second blog that I know at some point, things like this are possible, and that yes, at some point, my loved ones will pass on. I just always thought that before falling ill or passing, there would be some sort of build-up, some sort of indication like there was with my grandmother, but everything thus far has been sudden, unpredictable, and uncontrollable. I can’t even fully explain what it felt like over the weekend; the cognitive load that comes with experiencing this sort of thing twice in less than a month is crushing, and a liminal space I do not want to be in. I’m being entirely too vulnerable here, but I can’t say I’m surprised; things may not always be perfect, and we may butt heads way too often, but yeah, my Dad is my best friend, and the person I’m growing up to be a better version of, and I want him there to see it all unfold. Who else is going to call me out when I’m wrong or out of line? Or take me on an unnecessary Costco trip to take my mind off of how frustrating people and school can be while I eat “pizza”? Who else would I work out with at the local park when I need to go for a run but don’t want to be alone?

After a semester of having to commute together, I think there’s a lot more I’ve come to understand and realize about exactly what kind of things my Dad specifically has always sacrificed and braved for his family, so I have to have this semester end on a strong note, not a swan song. I owe him the bare minimum. After this, I also know that a good portion of my winter break is going to be dedicated to hanging out with my parents. I don’t want to bring the mood down any more than I already have for my last blog of the semester, so I’ll try to capture my emotions and give hope for the future with the tune of “The Best Day” by Taylor Swift. (And naturally, Taylor’s version!)

Saturday was a split day since the above was happening, and I still had a commitment I had to fulfill in New York. Luckily, I’ve always been good at keeping my wits about me (having a positive internal monologue, as well as a stress ball handy helps!) and I was able to navigate my way from home to Park Slope, where another life-altering event took place; I met Stan Fischler, the living legend, the Maven, the greatest hockey historian at his book signing! It was surreal hearing his jokes, stories about the Dodgers and hunting down ice cream in a New York Blizzard, and learning how to make an egg cream in 90 minutes. None of this could have been possible without the help and mentorship of Professor Falkowski from the Communications department! It’s insane to look back and realize it all started the day I wore my Jim Craig replica jersey for courage when I had to present in Samina’s class for the first time; the Miracle on Ice led to another miracle! 

With this, of course, comes an even deeper immersion into the world of hockey, that I’m naturally excited for, and yet somewhat apprehensive of. By taking on the role of a gameday volunteer with the Riveters, and then hopefully getting to a Devils game from a perspective beyond just that of a fan, I’m in closer proximity to the things I love than I ever thought would be possible. 

It feels like my dreams that always seemed impossible are right in front of me; my Dad’s words of wisdom, that life can change at any moment, as long as you’re there, finally make sense. And I just know that becoming more involved in this regard is going to comprise a good amount of my time over winter break as well. Believe me, I’m not complaining one bit! I know that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance, but after how much I struggled this semester, it’s also my light at the end of the tunnel. Hockey in general has always had a sense of hope attached to it for me; like I said many blogs ago, every season is a fresh start, with experience. I’ve met some incredible and inspiring people along the way, and I have to do things right by them, and hopefully, I’ll be that person for someone else in the future. 

Other things will also be weighing on me heading into winter break as well; post-Christmas is the start of a serious, committed job search, there’s Student Government training and other assorted responsibilities, and hopefully somewhere in between some time to spend with friends, but also by myself, doing things I love again! These past few months have been mostly utilitarian, with even normally relaxing activities like journaling and working out always having the subtext of getting this over with so you can get back to work. Working through this all-or-nothing mentality is looking more and more like a Herculean task by the second, but something says I can, I must, if I stay the course. And as childish as it may seem to some, I do want to go out and experience some life! Now’s the time for impromptu day trips and bookstore adventures and concerts and hockey games. It’s the perfect moment for savoring warm cups of coffee and daring to bake something new. 

Rest assured, there’s going to be plenty of progress made on my thesis as well since it’s still haunting me in everything I do. It’s very overdue, but thank you to everyone who provided feedback after my presentation a few weeks ago! The dream semester finally came true for me, since the content across all my classes clicked and connected! I gained the high ground, intellectually. The most invaluable class proved to be my out-of-program elective, Conflict Resolution. It’s cheesy, but this is indeed the class that’s changed my life more than any other course I’ve taken from undergrad to now. I was challenged and constantly engaged with the material, in the class and outside of it too. (Honestly, I don’t think I could have made it to the end of the semester without employing a lot of the skills I learned from the material.) Promulgation or the clear statement of goals is a big part of conflict resolution, and I’m writing now that at least an hour a day will be dedicated to working on my thesis. And that hour can manifest itself however it likes.

It might be early morning or late night. Sometimes, that one hour will be just sitting and thinking about what the logic next step in writing or research is, rather than the go go go action that I’ve favored as of late. Maybe I will do some more research! And of course, there’s going to be a deeper dive into how to apply my methodology of protocol analysis, as well as discourse analysis so this thesis isn’t one-dimensional. And hopefully, most days that one hour will spiral into two or three. 

Looking back on everything I learned this semester and everything I survived, I can say I’m a better version of myself in spite of all of it. Sure, there’s still a little big chip on my shoulder, and sticking to school, there’s a lot I wish went differently, but there’s hope on the horizon. A while back, I compared my thesis progress to a hockey game and said I was on a three-on-five penalty kill. But, it looks like I’m back to even strength, and there might even be a line change on the horizon! (The Devils shutout win tonight is clearly inspiring me as well!) Congrats to Amber, Hugo, Tom, and Kelsey on graduating! I know you’re all going to be doing some amazing things, and know that you will be missed.

I’ll leave you with “Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty, and I hope you have an amazing winter break! 

I Had The Best Day With You Today

It’s been a few weeks of being in all sorts of transitory and symbolic places; bus terminals, subway cars, airports, and the hospital. Thankfully, my uncle recuperated well enough to fly home this Friday, and so I found myself helping out with facilitating a drive on the Belt Parkway, to drop him and my aunt off at LaGuardia. But, then it was my father’s turn to experience a health scare, and while my mother and my brother were able to get a handle on things, the fear still hasn’t vanished. I wrote in my second blog that I know at some point, things like this are possible, and that yes, at some point, my loved ones will pass on. I just always thought that before falling ill or passing, there would be some sort of build-up, some sort of indication like there was with my grandmother, but everything thus far has been sudden, unpredictable, and uncontrollable. I can’t even fully explain what it felt like over the weekend; the cognitive load that comes with experiencing this sort of thing twice in less than a month is crushing, and a liminal space I do not want to be in. I’m being entirely too vulnerable here, but I can’t say I’m surprised; things may not always be perfect, and we may butt heads way too often, but yeah, my Dad is my best friend, and the person I’m growing up to be a better version of, and I want him there to see it all unfold. Who else is going to call me out when I’m wrong or out of line? Or take me on an unnecessary Costco trip to take my mind off of how frustrating people and school can be while I eat “pizza”? Who else would I work out with at the local park when I need to go for a run but don’t want to be alone?

After a semester of having to commute together, I think there’s a lot more I’ve come to understand and realize about exactly what kind of things my Dad specifically has always sacrificed and braved for his family, so I have to have this semester end on a strong note, not a swan song. I owe him the bare minimum. After this, I also know that a good portion of my winter break is going to be dedicated to hanging out with my parents. I don’t want to bring the mood down any more than I already have for my last blog of the semester, so I’ll try to capture my emotions and give hope for the future with the tune of “The Best Day” by Taylor Swift. (And naturally, Taylor’s version!)

Saturday was a split day since the above was happening, and I still had a commitment I had to fulfill in New York. Luckily, I’ve always been good at keeping my wits about me (having a positive internal monologue, as well as a stress ball handy helps!) and I was able to navigate my way from home to Park Slope, where another life-altering event took place; I met Stan Fischler, the living legend, the Maven, the greatest hockey historian at his book signing! It was surreal hearing his jokes, stories about the Dodgers and hunting down ice cream in a New York Blizzard, and learning how to make an egg cream in 90 minutes. None of this could have been possible without the help and mentorship of Professor Falkowski from the Communications department! It’s insane to look back and realize it all started the day I wore my Jim Craig replica jersey for courage when I had to present in Samina’s class for the first time; the Miracle on Ice led to another miracle! 

With this, of course, comes an even deeper immersion into the world of hockey, that I’m naturally excited for, and yet somewhat apprehensive of. By taking on the role of a gameday volunteer with the Riveters, and then hopefully getting to a Devils game from a perspective beyond just that of a fan, I’m in closer proximity to the things I love than I ever thought would be possible. 

It feels like my dreams that always seemed impossible are right in front of me; my Dad’s words of wisdom, that life can change at any moment, as long as you’re there, finally make sense. And I just know that becoming more involved in this regard is going to comprise a good amount of my time over winter break as well. Believe me, I’m not complaining one bit! I know that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance, but after how much I struggled this semester, it’s also my light at the end of the tunnel. Hockey in general has always had a sense of hope attached to it for me; like I said many blogs ago, every season is a fresh start, with experience. I’ve met some incredible and inspiring people along the way, and I have to do things right by them, and hopefully, I’ll be that person for someone else in the future. 

Other things will also be weighing on me heading into winter break as well; post-Christmas is the start of a serious, committed job search, there’s Student Government training and other assorted responsibilities, and hopefully somewhere in between some time to spend with friends, but also by myself, doing things I love again! These past few months have been mostly utilitarian, with even normally relaxing activities like journaling and working out always having the subtext of getting this over with so you can get back to work. Working through this all-or-nothing mentality is looking more and more like a Herculean task by the second, but something says I can, I must, if I stay the course. And as childish as it may seem to some, I do want to go out and experience some life! Now’s the time for impromptu day trips and bookstore adventures and concerts and hockey games. It’s the perfect moment for savoring warm cups of coffee and daring to bake something new. 

Rest assured, there’s going to be plenty of progress made on my thesis as well since it’s still haunting me in everything I do. It’s very overdue, but thank you to everyone who provided feedback after my presentation a few weeks ago! The dream semester finally came true for me, since the content across all my classes clicked and connected! I gained the high ground, intellectually. The most invaluable class proved to be my out-of-program elective, Conflict Resolution. It’s cheesy, but this is indeed the class that’s changed my life more than any other course I’ve taken from undergrad to now. I was challenged and constantly engaged with the material, in the class and outside of it too. (Honestly, I don’t think I could have made it to the end of the semester without employing a lot of the skills I learned from the material.) Promulgation or the clear statement of goals is a big part of conflict resolution, and I’m writing now that at least an hour a day will be dedicated to working on my thesis. And that hour can manifest itself however it likes.

It might be early morning or late night. Sometimes, that one hour will be just sitting and thinking about what the logic next step in writing or research is, rather than the go go go action that I’ve favored as of late. Maybe I will do some more research! And of course, there’s going to be a deeper dive into how to apply my methodology of protocol analysis, as well as discourse analysis so this thesis isn’t one-dimensional. And hopefully, most days that one hour will spiral into two or three. 

Looking back on everything I learned this semester and everything I survived, I can say I’m a better version of myself in spite of all of it. Sure, there’s still a little big chip on my shoulder, and sticking to school, there’s a lot I wish went differently, but there’s hope on the horizon. A while back, I compared my thesis progress to a hockey game and said I was on a three-on-five penalty kill. But, it looks like I’m back to even strength, and there might even be a line change on the horizon! (The Devils shutout win tonight is clearly inspiring me as well!) Congrats to Amber, Hugo, Tom, and Kelsey on graduating! I know you’re all going to be doing some amazing things, and know that you will be missed.

I’ll leave you with “Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty, and I hope you have an amazing winter break! 

What’s the Frequency, Sun?

So, things in life were more than a little rough and troublesome last week! I’m still worrying and trying to figure out how I can best help my family and where to go from here, but, this weekend was a reprieve from all of that, as well as the looming pressures and deadlines of school! I spent the most important parts of Saturday and Sunday at the RWJ Barnabas Hockey House, helping to support the Metropolitan Riveters, the PHF hockey team for the area, and it still feels like a dream! From fellow gameday volunteers and interns to arena staff, to GM Anya Packer and the team, I met so many amazing people and had quite possibly, the best weekend of my life, ever! I can’t even begin to describe everything, but I think the momentum and excitement being there is bringing to my work in all classes is definitely palpable and something to behold! 

There have also been a lot of silver linings this week; I had my lunch stolen out of the fridge at work on Friday, but I got to have a lunch date with an old professor and another close friend instead! I know this is going to sound super silly, and even privileged, but when Starbucks forgot to add milk to my order yesterday, I got a whole separate cup of milk to pour it in myself! (These bones are strong!) And despite everything that happened last week with my uncle, things are looking better, and for the first time in my twenty-two years of living, I’ll have extended family to spend a holiday with! 

This week, I’ll be presenting on my closely-guarded thesis topic, forensic linguistics! (And don’t worry Susan, I know that you present first!) It’s equal parts intriguing and intellectual as it is expansive and interpretive, so be on the lookout for lots of explication and background at first, a rationale for why I’m interested in this field of study, and a plan of attack to ultimately create… well, a thesis! 

As my past few blog posts have suggested, the road to my thesis thus far has actually been a lot more like a bunch of potholes, with minimal paving in between. I’m still a bit torn between the two possibilities for orientations; research or creative? It’s been touched upon in previous blog posts, but there is pervasive insecurity around both for me; I hate sharing my creative writing with others, but the research angle has not been smooth sailing in terms of design and implementation thus far. There’s also the fact that I’d rather have the former to blend in with most of the class, while the latter is just instinctually who I am. And just when I think I’ve figured it out, the vicious cycle of “but creative will get better engagement and feedback and constructive criticism” versus “research is practical and fun and right up your alley” starts up all over again. 

I do have a short reprieve for everyone from my inner turmoil, and it comes in the form of this teaser of the creative piece I hashed out a week and a half ago, thinking that it might help me expedite the research design process. I’ll establish a bit more background of what is going on here during class, so make sure to tune in at 4:30! Feel free to put on “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” as you read, and I’ll see you then!

Teaser Creative Work based on Forensic Linguistics 

“Silenus may have been onto something.”

“Who is that?”

“The satyr who unraveled the universe for King Midas. It’s Greek mythology.”  

At that moment, I knew my date had asked another question, either regarding who King Midas was, or where I would have read Greek mythology, or even why I had, but it didn’t matter. Her tone and line of questioning told me all I needed to know. Clearly, she was only asking to be polite, probably wasn’t going to Google any information after the date, and would believe anything I said at this point to save face. She was already starting to look uncomfortable, and the honest answer wasn’t going to lighten the atmosphere.

“He told King Midas the greatest wish anyone could ever have is to either never be born or to die swiftly and avoid any of the great pains and atrocities of human life because we are built to self-destruct or destroy everyone in our path.” 

I could see her face falter, and the words get stuck in her throat a few times before she cleared it. A speech bubble practically appeared above her head before letting out a soft “Oh, that’s interesting.” That line was the last nail in this social coffin. No matter how hard she tried to initiate another conversation, it lacked authenticity. She was trying too hard to forecast my responses. As I anticipated, it only took a few more awkward glances and forced grins before we parted ways, stomachs half-full. She to a cab, with the promise of a text when she reached her home safely, and myself to walk in the night air and ponder the merit of Silenus for another moment.

With the atrocities I witness regularly at work, it seems that Silenus is indeed correct; apathy, selfishness, and the need to perform for others are how most people waste their lives away. There are contracts signed with ink but stained with spilled blood or broken relationships and emotional turmoil underneath, the whispers that get enhanced to screams to unravel plans of murder or intent to hurt another, and the general documentation of human greed and apathy. Language can tell us the what and the how, but no matter how much the perpetrator explains, or what you analyze from it, sometimes there’s never any closure about the why. 

It rained just like any other Thursday night in Seattle. The pelting drops echoed as they hit the window and raced down the glass, to see which could reach their demise faster. The flickering porch light greeted me with fragments of orange on the banister and stairs leading to the door, which opened to my fortress of isolation. Still, there was no chime on my phone, no flashing light on my landline. 

Her cab should have dropped her off at least 15 minutes ago. Maybe she just forgot and went to bed? That doesn’t seem like her, but that Silenus conversation must have bummed her out. 

—–

“And when exactly did you say you last saw her?” 

“Where did she say she was going?”
“Did you happen to catch any part of the cab’s plate, the driver’s description…” 

For once, I was on the opposite side of the glass, and not the one asking the questions or doing the analysis. 

What’s the Frequency, Sun?

So, things in life were more than a little rough and troublesome last week! I’m still worrying and trying to figure out how I can best help my family and where to go from here, but, this weekend was a reprieve from all of that, as well as the looming pressures and deadlines of school! I spent the most important parts of Saturday and Sunday at the RWJ Barnabas Hockey House, helping to support the Metropolitan Riveters, the PHF hockey team for the area, and it still feels like a dream! From fellow gameday volunteers and interns to arena staff, to GM Anya Packer and the team, I met so many amazing people and had quite possibly, the best weekend of my life, ever! I can’t even begin to describe everything, but I think the momentum and excitement being there is bringing to my work in all classes is definitely palpable and something to behold! 

There have also been a lot of silver linings this week; I had my lunch stolen out of the fridge at work on Friday, but I got to have a lunch date with an old professor and another close friend instead! I know this is going to sound super silly, and even privileged, but when Starbucks forgot to add milk to my order yesterday, I got a whole separate cup of milk to pour it in myself! (These bones are strong!) And despite everything that happened last week with my uncle, things are looking better, and for the first time in my twenty-two years of living, I’ll have extended family to spend a holiday with! 

This week, I’ll be presenting on my closely-guarded thesis topic, forensic linguistics! (And don’t worry Susan, I know that you present first!) It’s equal parts intriguing and intellectual as it is expansive and interpretive, so be on the lookout for lots of explication and background at first, a rationale for why I’m interested in this field of study, and a plan of attack to ultimately create… well, a thesis! 

As my past few blog posts have suggested, the road to my thesis thus far has actually been a lot more like a bunch of potholes, with minimal paving in between. I’m still a bit torn between the two possibilities for orientations; research or creative? It’s been touched upon in previous blog posts, but there is pervasive insecurity around both for me; I hate sharing my creative writing with others, but the research angle has not been smooth sailing in terms of design and implementation thus far. There’s also the fact that I’d rather have the former to blend in with most of the class, while the latter is just instinctually who I am. And just when I think I’ve figured it out, the vicious cycle of “but creative will get better engagement and feedback and constructive criticism” versus “research is practical and fun and right up your alley” starts up all over again. 

I do have a short reprieve for everyone from my inner turmoil, and it comes in the form of this teaser of the creative piece I hashed out a week and a half ago, thinking that it might help me expedite the research design process. I’ll establish a bit more background of what is going on here during class, so make sure to tune in at 4:30! Feel free to put on “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” as you read, and I’ll see you then!

Teaser Creative Work based on Forensic Linguistics 

“Silenus may have been onto something.”

“Who is that?”

“The satyr who unraveled the universe for King Midas. It’s Greek mythology.”  

At that moment, I knew my date had asked another question, either regarding who King Midas was, or where I would have read Greek mythology, or even why I had, but it didn’t matter. Her tone and line of questioning told me all I needed to know. Clearly, she was only asking to be polite, probably wasn’t going to Google any information after the date, and would believe anything I said at this point to save face. She was already starting to look uncomfortable, and the honest answer wasn’t going to lighten the atmosphere.

“He told King Midas the greatest wish anyone could ever have is to either never be born or to die swiftly and avoid any of the great pains and atrocities of human life because we are built to self-destruct or destroy everyone in our path.” 

I could see her face falter, and the words get stuck in her throat a few times before she cleared it. A speech bubble practically appeared above her head before letting out a soft “Oh, that’s interesting.” That line was the last nail in this social coffin. No matter how hard she tried to initiate another conversation, it lacked authenticity. She was trying too hard to forecast my responses. As I anticipated, it only took a few more awkward glances and forced grins before we parted ways, stomachs half-full. She to a cab, with the promise of a text when she reached her home safely, and myself to walk in the night air and ponder the merit of Silenus for another moment.

With the atrocities I witness regularly at work, it seems that Silenus is indeed correct; apathy, selfishness, and the need to perform for others are how most people waste their lives away. There are contracts signed with ink but stained with spilled blood or broken relationships and emotional turmoil underneath, the whispers that get enhanced to screams to unravel plans of murder or intent to hurt another, and the general documentation of human greed and apathy. Language can tell us the what and the how, but no matter how much the perpetrator explains, or what you analyze from it, sometimes there’s never any closure about the why. 

It rained just like any other Thursday night in Seattle. The pelting drops echoed as they hit the window and raced down the glass, to see which could reach their demise faster. The flickering porch light greeted me with fragments of orange on the banister and stairs leading to the door, which opened to my fortress of isolation. Still, there was no chime on my phone, no flashing light on my landline. 

Her cab should have dropped her off at least 15 minutes ago. Maybe she just forgot and went to bed? That doesn’t seem like her, but that Silenus conversation must have bummed her out. 

—–

“And when exactly did you say you last saw her?” 

“Where did she say she was going?”
“Did you happen to catch any part of the cab’s plate, the driver’s description…” 

For once, I was on the opposite side of the glass, and not the one asking the questions or doing the analysis.