Slow Start, but I am starting, seriously.

This weekend I started to feel like myself again when it comes to my old work life balance. I went out, I ran errands and I was just busy. Which I actually enjoy. Busy for me usually means I am getting shit done. I did take Dr. Zamora’s advice and took a little break. ( notice the blog post being submitted the day of class, this is so not like me) At first I thought I probably should speed up but that might be the cause of rushed work. I had to change my environment, I do apologize if this sounds like I am complaining but for me the energy and environment matter. I absolutely love my loft apartment my boyfriend and I share. It’s nice and huge, two floors, clean and it just feels like home. What causes confusion in my brain is when I have to do work from home, school from home and home from home. I know I have expressed that many times before but yesterday as I was in what was supposed to be a 3 hour in person strategy meeting, it turned into a 6 hour in person strategy meeting. Annoyed the entire time, it hit me. I need to bring my ass to the office daily and work on my thesis here! Our office is brand new, bright, and very quiet. Today I layed out my stuff in our conference room and have been editing my work like crazy. Usually I would apologize or be doom and gloom about my current pace I have been going but I have to be kind to myself and I am grateful I figured out how I will make this work. So to be transparent, my progress is that I have found my working space. Now I honestly feel I can get to gettin with my thesis, for real this time! 

Week 3: Lines in The Sand Always Wash Away

It’s been a pretty brutal week, between putting in my 2 weeks’ notice at one job, trying to keep up with everything else that’s happening in school, and in my life, and of course, with my feelings. I really took the phrase “when one door closes, another one opens” to heart since I started planning ahead for how I’m going to fill my spare time. I think this is my Renaissance period as a human, and I hope it doesn’t just pass me by! It’s also been a week of massive change externally; for the first time since I was in kindergarten, Travis Zajac is not a New Jersey Devil. Seeing him retire has me feeling a little more at ease with my decision to quit the first job I ever had; it’s like a cosmic sign that sometimes, it really is over, and that’s OK! Besides, if I’m posting this less than 12 hours before a class there’s no telling how much more difficult balancing school and work and life would have gotten. There’s no song better fitting for right now than “Dream Life, Life” by Colbie Caillat since I’m searching for that ease of mind and good vibes! So, with all of this out of the way, let’s dive into actual thesis things! 

I was tasked this week with beginning to think about what sort of articles I am going to need to look at for my literature review and the academically oriented written portion of my thesis project. I was able to take the broad umbrella term of forensic linguistics and narrow it down to wanting to focus on instances of linguistic violence, linguistic injustice, and linguistic bias with consequences relating to judicial issues.  To be a bit more specific I looked at linguistic violence from the perspective of using language to intentionally hurt someone or their credibility, linguistic injustice through the lens of discrimination that many individuals face if they speak with a certain accent or dialect, and linguistic bias as the idea that if someone does speak with a certain dialect they should still be able to transition to a more “desirable” dialect, to make their speech appear intellectual or palatable for others. It’s a very problematic belief that I cannot wait to combat!

With everything going on this week I was not able to find 2 articles but I haven’t had the time to thoroughly read, annotate, and reflect. But, I’m figuring out that life is much easier when you’re able to stop and compromise with yourself rather than ruminate on shattering your dreams of perfection, so I decided to make myself a list of tasks and a weekly agenda that’ll get me back on track, and keep me there. 

  1. Every week I should commit to finding a minimum of three relevant articles and be able to read, annotate, and understand what is going on. For this, I will dedicate two hours to finding the articles on Fridays, and use Saturday and Sunday to explicate them. My goal is to have a minimum of 12 solid sources in terms of looking at instances of linguistic violence, bias, and injustice. I would also like, if time permits, to look at the use of forensic linguistics in the judicial system. Good thing databases, truncated searches, and good folks will be there to help with this!
  2.  I am going to set up a separate Google space, a shared folder, that will be visible on a different page of my website to show how my progress in accumulating articles and understanding them is going.  Updates will be provided regularly on Twitter and screenshots will be used in future blogs to avoid repetitive content or overly long future posts. 
  3. As I am working on gathering my articles, I recognize that the methodology that best suits my approach would be a case study, as I am researching and examining how the field has grown and evolved, but if I am able to look and analyze the actual application of forensic linguistics, I can also incorporate protocol analysis. I’m hoping to have a rough outline of how I’ll organize my lit review prepped by mid-October, and it’ll be a living document that will run parallel to my research. 
  4. As I do my academic, official research,  behind the scenes I’m also going to have to work on expanding my skills with applications like Flash and Twine, and look into other mediums, so that way come the spring, the creative component of the project, which is an e-lit piece, will be facilitated smoothly.
  5.  I’m going to remind myself that it’s OK for me to walk away when things get overwhelming and pick it back up later. I’m also going to take the time this semester to actually enjoy what I’m doing beyond just thinking about the academic aspects and merits of everything. Things are looking up! 

Admittedly, it is hard to step back and say I didn’t get what I wanted to or needed to do, and I can feel my inferiority complex kicking in! But, I can also appreciate having the space to grow. Here’s a lovely TED Talk that inspires me to think about why it’s more important to strive for internal honesty, bravery, and improvement over perfection. I might have started out with a foundation like a house of cards, but I’m definitely evolving into an origami masterpiece! 

I’m going to leave you with the wondrous, and seeking track “Seems So” by The Apples in Stereo, and I’ll see you on the other side! Oh, and happy fall! 

On the Right Track

It is amazing how, without focusing heavily on something, everything will eventually come to you and fall into place. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that I haven’t honed in on my thesis topic as much as I should have, but honesty is the best policy. 

This past week has been an interesting one as I recently received a promotion and am now a full-time employer rather than having a graduate assitancship. I don’t think I have been able to sit back and congratulate myself as I have been with my department since my sophomore year of undergrad and have worked my way up. It is exciting, and I am proud of myself, but there are also worries. I have always struggled with saying no and creating a work-life balance if that’s even possible to do so. Living on campus, working on campus, and going to school all in the same location can be exhausting. The worries of not being able to handle the responsibilities that I will have (I know I can handle them, but I am usually always doubting myself), not being confident enough, and not making time for myself have led me to my thesis topic. When writing last week’s blog, I jotted down the idea of work-life balance as only an idea, but recently I have seen how important it is for myself and my staff. Work-life balance is a topic that every job touches upon, but I feel it gets swept under the rug as the months go on with the number of tasks that need to be completed. Truthfully, as the months go on during the academic year, I also see how one can drive themselves crazy without a balance, and I am one of those people. What does it mean to have a work-life balance, how does one create one, what factors play a negative role in creating a balance, what is the difference between employer’s and employee’s perception of work-life balance? These are all questions that have come to my mind and may appear in my thesis paper or at least get me started. 

I am excited to have found a topic I am interested in, but completing my thesis on this topic will also benefit me personally and professionally as well. It’s a win-win situation as I get to continue learning while conducting my research! Cheers to finding a topic and receiving a promotion!