A Four-Day Week

I can say that the four-day week was very much needed! For the first time in months, I was able to genuinely rest and sleep in. I had the time to celebrate my mother’s wedding with my family and not focus on work for once. This does not come often and I believe my mind and body began to confuse itself as I was getting the days of the week mixed up. 

Although I am appreciative of the time off, a part of me now feels guilty. As we start a new week and I prepare for classes, I realized that I did not get much done regarding my thesis. Thankfully, Spring Break is coming next week. I still will have to work, but the majority of the students will not be in the residence halls so hopefully (fringes crossed), I will not have too many incidents and meetings to attend to. With this, I am hopeful that I will be able to begin conducting interviews.  Thankfully, I have still been journaling, so I’ll also begin to see what snips and pieces I want to take from my journal to input into my opener/closer. I recently received an email with my subject as “Are you s stressed- out supervisor” and the body including “If you’ve felt stressed, exhausted, or even burned out in the past year, we’re here for you.” Perhaps, this email is telling him to get a move on my thesis.

It’s Gonna Get Worse If He Waits Too Long

You Take It On Faith, You Take It To The Heart 

Tom Petty is absolutely correct; “The Waiting” is indeed the hardest part! But, waiting is thankfully where things have massively turned around for me. What I thought was falling behind was a lot more like being under construction; the road to actually, really feeling better and happier is no doubt going to be long and stretch well beyond what I thought it would, but staying the course is something I’m determined to do! The first steps came this week, by re-assessing what is and isn’t working in life in general. Negativity and living in the imagined “worst-case scenario” or “bad outcomes” isn’t going to magically disappear, but it is possible to take a step back, assess the thought, and do my best to work around it. I finally convinced myself that it’s OK to still enjoy the things I love even if I was momentarily stuck and unmotivated with my thesis, and that’s how I found myself spending Saturday and Sunday both weeks rooting for the Riveters! (I really hope that everyone at least got to take a peek at the games, whether on ESPN+, Twitch, or from all the clips and play-by-plays I retweeted! And it was great to get my family into the games as well; my parents are familiar with a fair amount of hockey terms and rules after years of the Devils on their TV, and now they’re getting to know the Riveters as a team! (It’s a work in progress; Madison Packer, team captain, is the only player my parents can recognize and name on their own, in large part because of her pink hair!) Needless to say, they think it’s fitting and hilarious that the team I root for spent a bit of time in the penalty box!

It’s pretty tough to be sad after seeing amazing work like that, and finding a viable path forward in the process! During Sunday’s win against the Minnesota Whitecaps, I had an enlightening interaction on Twitter with Dr. Virginia Yonkers, an amazing and accomplished scholar who opened my eyes to the methodology of ethnomethodology, as well as keeping a methodology but adding a lens, such as constructivism! I’ll explain further down just how my mind’s eye is imagining this is going to play out. 

Outside of just the weekends, I’m back to a regular gym schedule, lifting a little heavier, and took full advantage of the few nicer days and went for some long runs, bike rides, and soul searching. There’s something about beating the traffic and pedaling to your backdoor in the middle of the sunset while wind hits your face that makes things feel a little better, just like pulling into the parking lot for a deserted beach and staring out at the water on a cold, windy day. Of course, with student government meetings, the wonderful Twosday that happened to coincide with the Miracle on Ice anniversary, the Devils returning to action on Thursday against the Penguins in a big way, a trip to Broadway, and of course, the Riveters at home this weekend in Newark with the gorgeous Black Rosie jerseys, I can feel a shift coming! The ongoing negotiations between the MLB and player’s association will hopefully have an equitable outcome, and I know it’s ancient news now, but I can’t wait for the Mets to have their Old Timers Day this summer! 

(Also, I have my fingers crossed regarding a few more upcoming job interviews and the results of a few past ones!)

Things are in motion, and I am trying to conscientiously be here for it all. And now, a thesis update! 

You’ve Got To Trust Your Instinct And Let Go Of Regret

If you’ve been following my progress since September and know me, “All Mixed Up” by 311 is just the right pace and mood for how things have been, and I’m on the happier side of it now! The methodology dilemma is no more! I know where this thing is going, and I know “how to write my thesis” now that I have all of that cleared up. In my last attempt at a methodology section, I got frustrated and overwhelmed and wrote a whole short story as a way to prove to myself that I know what’s going on and how to do things, but I’m not so good at telling others what the framework of my project is. Most of my struggles in school are lost in translation to my parents, and yet this time, my (real, not something of a) scientist (himself) Dad had a helpful response; brush up on my lab manual comprehension and lab report writing skills, because the problem I’m describing is basically the same as those processes! And yes, it worked. (Also, I am still capable of keeping up with the fast-paced and nuanced science talk! Between that, this, some literary theory and criticism I’ve been delving into on the side, and all the stats I’ve been brushing up on and crushing, I’m feeling really good about myself!)

So, it was once again a scenario where I had to work it from the inside out; I might have figured out my angle and style, but I also needed to work on formatting, organization, and introduction of ideas, transitions, and actually sitting still long enough to write things out. Naturally, I rationalized that if there could be different types of literature reviews (narrative, chronological, etc.) the same logic could be applied to my methodology section, and so I chose to introduce my means of analysis by ranking and re-evaluating what a methodology is. Of course, case study and discourse analysis are my top two, and so they were scheduled to appear in that order. Protocol analysis almost threw a wrench in the plans, but since it ties into my case study framework, I just folded it in there. I took a look at content analysis and corpus linguistics next and through the same process, worked out how I would introduce and implement these investigative tactics. 

Following this, I used some structural elements of the lab manuals and reports I combed through to create a “composite document,” which was essentially typing out how I would introduce the methodology in a transition from my literature review no matter and leaving brackets with very obvious instructions to my future self wherever necessary, such as [insert name of the methodology here], [insert author’s name here] and [insert quote about the relevance of methodology] to give you a basic idea. I then circled back to add in other important brackets, such as [explication of the relevancy] and [reiterate supporting detail from previous sections], and also added the essential and pertinent headings and sub-headings for each approach and for the rationale section. I then created a corresponding “for filling in the brackets” document that contained all the key terms, definitions, and figures I wanted to mention and used a bold and italic system to once again denote importance versus optionality. I made sure to add in-text citations next to each term where applicable, and created another document for just those. (It’ll be handy through the whole process, so future me will thank me later!) And then, just to make sure I really hit all the bases before loading them up with information, I revisited Telling A Research Story: Writing a Literature Review by Christine B. Feak and John M. Swales and checked my composite document against some of their tips for having concise, pragmatic writing that still addressed all concerns of both author and audience while giving attribution where necessary. 

Naturally, drawing up a composite document also meant a lot of re-evaluation of who is this really for, an issue that I’ve constantly been grappling with. (Yes, it is for everyone here, but when published, hopefully, it will be seen by other forensic linguists and researchers!)  Luckily, I happened to know of a few categories of case studies, and after some research, I determined illustrative and critical instance case studies were the two that best fit the bill here. As a quick refresher, illustrative case studies are used to dissect and examine a prior situation for the purpose of explaining it to others and are qualitative by nature. Nothing is added, subtracted, or dissected, but it differs from a cumulative case study in the sense that it is assumed the audience is either entirely new or only vaguely familiar with the topic at hand. Critical instance case studies can be utilized to either examine or determine the causes and consequences of an instance or to challenge a universal assertion. Rather than challenge a universal assertion, the question at the center of my thesis, how can linguistic evidence come to be viewed in the same light as physical evidence, seeks to introduce a potential universal assertion. So, that moved finding supporting sources and justifying this approach, my main concern for this section of my thesis to the resolved column. It was tedious, and some of the steps may not have been entirely necessary, but it felt good to feel like something was getting done and eventually filling in all the brackets. 

Conventional? No. 

Successful? Yes! 

TL;DR: I played a high-stakes game of mad-libs with my methodology section and it paid off really well! 

I’ve gotten started on the critical part of my thesis writing, which is the actual application and analysis of all the cases I selected. It’s going to be a hyper-involved process that involves checking out my notes on my sources, re-reading articles and re-visiting podcasts, possibly adding in some documentaries (PBS is the best!), and of course, creating titles for each chapter, but I can, and I will do this! 

Out Of The Shadows And Into The Night!

Now that I’m older, I admire how sociable Phil Collins is, insisting Billy not lose his number! (I could never!) As I’m working on my Research Days project, I am also working with the knowledge of knowing it will ultimately become a part of my thesis, and based on the topic, it is coming at a highly polarized time and needs to be completed with a high level of integrity, not just for the sake of the outcome, but also with consideration to the impact it could potentially have. It means working on a disclaimer to place at the beginning of my survey, to ensure that there is a clear understanding that completion of the survey is completely voluntary and that there is content of a sensitive nature that will be addressed. Furthermore, as I load up and trim down questions, I am also cognizant of the limitations of what is and is not permissible without an IRB certification, so I plan to meet with a resource librarian to ensure that the questions are appropriate and within bounds. 

Aside from narrowing the list and scope of the questions on my survey, I’ve narrowed down what statistical software to use! I’ve messed around with a few open-sourced tools and found that I really liked both JASP, which is automatically calibrated for APA-style results, charts, tables, and PAST, a similar, but simpler software. I’m confident in my working knowledge of the tools, and I’ve done quite a few practice runs with some stats problems to make sure I know exactly where to input what and everything else. (I will also admit it is inflating my ego every time I intuitively know where to plug in what or click what.) 

Aside from the mathematical side of things, I feel pretty confident that I have reviewed all of the pertinent literature on the CSI effect, and am able to translate that into what my survey questions are attempting to measure. I’d also given myself the task of watching a set of shows that I felt were pertinent to influencing how others in my age group and a bit older might view police, investigations, and available resources, and I’m making steady progress working my way through them all. I’m only one person with a limited amount of time, so I’ve devised a plan to try and see if transcripts of episodes are available anywhere, and then, I plan to run a bot to analyze for similarities among the scripts, a set of key search terms, etc. and go from there. (Rest assured, this will be marked in my methodology section if I chose to do so!) So, my Research Days work is alive and a live wire! 

All My Dreams Have Fallen Down

This floaty and focused feeling I’m getting from making progress on my work and other concerns are pretty well summarized by “Save Me” by Remy Zero. Just like young Clark Kent, I too am setting out on my journey to become who people will know me as for years to come. Smallville is one of my all-time favorite shows and I usually have it on in the background while writing. This week, it echoed in my life; much like Clark and Jonathan Kent, my Dad and I definitely fight a lot but are still quite close. And just like Jonathan Kent, my Dad looked me in the eyes when he gave me the lab manual review advice and said, “I wish I could tell you all the answers, but you have to find them yourself.” It had me thinking about the insider-outsider feeling, and I came to realize over the last two weeks I hardly felt it, and I want to keep it that way. Forensic linguistics is fascinating and I regret spending even a moment wishing I picked something else to write about. I’m literally going to exercise the option of being able to leave the classroom for the second half of class and walk around as I write, and hope to finish at least half a chapter before heading home. 

I also realized I’m closer than further on a lot of big decisions, like how to submit my thesis and how to present in a few weeks. For my thesis, I’m definitely doing a traditional submission and a website. (I figure it might help to have live links to my sources in my work.) Admittedly, the latter half is weighing heavily on my mind; I really don’t want to go for round four of an aggravating instead of exhilarating time in front of the classroom. I could take the easy way out and use it for practice for Research Days. Or, I can stop stressing over what is still way out on the horizon and remind myself that no matter what happens, I’m hitting submit in May. 

So, I’m not quite Superman just yet, but the time will pass in the blink of an eye.

Don’t Give Yourself Away! 

It’s only fitting to end a post this long and with hints to even longer pieces of my writing with a bop like “Surrender” by Cheap Trick. (This came on at least three times while I was cycling uphill, so I’m equating it with a strong surge of determination and a push against all odds.) As I look ahead to today’s class, it’s all about showing up and supporting Susan, who I am sure will have an amazing presentation! See everyone later! 

It’s Gonna Get Worse If He Waits Too Long

You Take It On Faith, You Take It To The Heart 

Tom Petty is absolutely correct; “The Waiting” is indeed the hardest part! But, waiting is thankfully where things have massively turned around for me. What I thought was falling behind was a lot more like being under construction; the road to actually, really feeling better and happier is no doubt going to be long and stretch well beyond what I thought it would, but staying the course is something I’m determined to do! The first steps came this week, by re-assessing what is and isn’t working in life in general. Negativity and living in the imagined “worst-case scenario” or “bad outcomes” isn’t going to magically disappear, but it is possible to take a step back, assess the thought, and do my best to work around it. I finally convinced myself that it’s OK to still enjoy the things I love even if I was momentarily stuck and unmotivated with my thesis, and that’s how I found myself spending Saturday and Sunday both weeks rooting for the Riveters! (I really hope that everyone at least got to take a peek at the games, whether on ESPN+, Twitch, or from all the clips and play-by-plays I retweeted! And it was great to get my family into the games as well; my parents are familiar with a fair amount of hockey terms and rules after years of the Devils on their TV, and now they’re getting to know the Riveters as a team! (It’s a work in progress; Madison Packer, team captain, is the only player my parents can recognize and name on their own, in large part because of her pink hair!) Needless to say, they think it’s fitting and hilarious that the team I root for spent a bit of time in the penalty box!

It’s pretty tough to be sad after seeing amazing work like that, and finding a viable path forward in the process! During Sunday’s win against the Minnesota Whitecaps, I had an enlightening interaction on Twitter with Dr. Virginia Yonkers, an amazing and accomplished scholar who opened my eyes to the methodology of ethnomethodology, as well as keeping a methodology but adding a lens, such as constructivism! I’ll explain further down just how my mind’s eye is imagining this is going to play out. 

Outside of just the weekends, I’m back to a regular gym schedule, lifting a little heavier, and took full advantage of the few nicer days and went for some long runs, bike rides, and soul searching. There’s something about beating the traffic and pedaling to your backdoor in the middle of the sunset while wind hits your face that makes things feel a little better, just like pulling into the parking lot for a deserted beach and staring out at the water on a cold, windy day. Of course, with student government meetings, the wonderful Twosday that happened to coincide with the Miracle on Ice anniversary, the Devils returning to action on Thursday against the Penguins in a big way, a trip to Broadway, and of course, the Riveters at home this weekend in Newark with the gorgeous Black Rosie jerseys, I can feel a shift coming! The ongoing negotiations between the MLB and player’s association will hopefully have an equitable outcome, and I know it’s ancient news now, but I can’t wait for the Mets to have their Old Timers Day this summer! 

(Also, I have my fingers crossed regarding a few more upcoming job interviews and the results of a few past ones!)

Things are in motion, and I am trying to conscientiously be here for it all. And now, a thesis update! 

You’ve Got To Trust Your Instinct And Let Go Of Regret

If you’ve been following my progress since September and know me, “All Mixed Up” by 311 is just the right pace and mood for how things have been, and I’m on the happier side of it now! The methodology dilemma is no more! I know where this thing is going, and I know “how to write my thesis” now that I have all of that cleared up. In my last attempt at a methodology section, I got frustrated and overwhelmed and wrote a whole short story as a way to prove to myself that I know what’s going on and how to do things, but I’m not so good at telling others what the framework of my project is. Most of my struggles in school are lost in translation to my parents, and yet this time, my (real, not something of a) scientist (himself) Dad had a helpful response; brush up on my lab manual comprehension and lab report writing skills, because the problem I’m describing is basically the same as those processes! And yes, it worked. (Also, I am still capable of keeping up with the fast-paced and nuanced science talk! Between that, this, some literary theory and criticism I’ve been delving into on the side, and all the stats I’ve been brushing up on and crushing, I’m feeling really good about myself!)

So, it was once again a scenario where I had to work it from the inside out; I might have figured out my angle and style, but I also needed to work on formatting, organization, and introduction of ideas, transitions, and actually sitting still long enough to write things out. Naturally, I rationalized that if there could be different types of literature reviews (narrative, chronological, etc.) the same logic could be applied to my methodology section, and so I chose to introduce my means of analysis by ranking and re-evaluating what a methodology is. Of course, case study and discourse analysis are my top two, and so they were scheduled to appear in that order. Protocol analysis almost threw a wrench in the plans, but since it ties into my case study framework, I just folded it in there. I took a look at content analysis and corpus linguistics next and through the same process, worked out how I would introduce and implement these investigative tactics. 

Following this, I used some structural elements of the lab manuals and reports I combed through to create a “composite document,” which was essentially typing out how I would introduce the methodology in a transition from my literature review no matter and leaving brackets with very obvious instructions to my future self wherever necessary, such as [insert name of the methodology here], [insert author’s name here] and [insert quote about the relevance of methodology] to give you a basic idea. I then circled back to add in other important brackets, such as [explication of the relevancy] and [reiterate supporting detail from previous sections], and also added the essential and pertinent headings and sub-headings for each approach and for the rationale section. I then created a corresponding “for filling in the brackets” document that contained all the key terms, definitions, and figures I wanted to mention and used a bold and italic system to once again denote importance versus optionality. I made sure to add in-text citations next to each term where applicable, and created another document for just those. (It’ll be handy through the whole process, so future me will thank me later!) And then, just to make sure I really hit all the bases before loading them up with information, I revisited Telling A Research Story: Writing a Literature Review by Christine B. Feak and John M. Swales and checked my composite document against some of their tips for having concise, pragmatic writing that still addressed all concerns of both author and audience while giving attribution where necessary. 

Naturally, drawing up a composite document also meant a lot of re-evaluation of who is this really for, an issue that I’ve constantly been grappling with. (Yes, it is for everyone here, but when published, hopefully, it will be seen by other forensic linguists and researchers!)  Luckily, I happened to know of a few categories of case studies, and after some research, I determined illustrative and critical instance case studies were the two that best fit the bill here. As a quick refresher, illustrative case studies are used to dissect and examine a prior situation for the purpose of explaining it to others and are qualitative by nature. Nothing is added, subtracted, or dissected, but it differs from a cumulative case study in the sense that it is assumed the audience is either entirely new or only vaguely familiar with the topic at hand. Critical instance case studies can be utilized to either examine or determine the causes and consequences of an instance or to challenge a universal assertion. Rather than challenge a universal assertion, the question at the center of my thesis, how can linguistic evidence come to be viewed in the same light as physical evidence, seeks to introduce a potential universal assertion. So, that moved finding supporting sources and justifying this approach, my main concern for this section of my thesis to the resolved column. It was tedious, and some of the steps may not have been entirely necessary, but it felt good to feel like something was getting done and eventually filling in all the brackets. 

Conventional? No. 

Successful? Yes! 

TL;DR: I played a high-stakes game of mad-libs with my methodology section and it paid off really well! 

I’ve gotten started on the critical part of my thesis writing, which is the actual application and analysis of all the cases I selected. It’s going to be a hyper-involved process that involves checking out my notes on my sources, re-reading articles and re-visiting podcasts, possibly adding in some documentaries (PBS is the best!), and of course, creating titles for each chapter, but I can, and I will do this! 

Out Of The Shadows And Into The Night!

Now that I’m older, I admire how sociable Phil Collins is, insisting Billy not lose his number! (I could never!) As I’m working on my Research Days project, I am also working with the knowledge of knowing it will ultimately become a part of my thesis, and based on the topic, it is coming at a highly polarized time and needs to be completed with a high level of integrity, not just for the sake of the outcome, but also with consideration to the impact it could potentially have. It means working on a disclaimer to place at the beginning of my survey, to ensure that there is a clear understanding that completion of the survey is completely voluntary and that there is content of a sensitive nature that will be addressed. Furthermore, as I load up and trim down questions, I am also cognizant of the limitations of what is and is not permissible without an IRB certification, so I plan to meet with a resource librarian to ensure that the questions are appropriate and within bounds. 

Aside from narrowing the list and scope of the questions on my survey, I’ve narrowed down what statistical software to use! I’ve messed around with a few open-sourced tools and found that I really liked both JASP, which is automatically calibrated for APA-style results, charts, tables, and PAST, a similar, but simpler software. I’m confident in my working knowledge of the tools, and I’ve done quite a few practice runs with some stats problems to make sure I know exactly where to input what and everything else. (I will also admit it is inflating my ego every time I intuitively know where to plug in what or click what.) 

Aside from the mathematical side of things, I feel pretty confident that I have reviewed all of the pertinent literature on the CSI effect, and am able to translate that into what my survey questions are attempting to measure. I’d also given myself the task of watching a set of shows that I felt were pertinent to influencing how others in my age group and a bit older might view police, investigations, and available resources, and I’m making steady progress working my way through them all. I’m only one person with a limited amount of time, so I’ve devised a plan to try and see if transcripts of episodes are available anywhere, and then, I plan to run a bot to analyze for similarities among the scripts, a set of key search terms, etc. and go from there. (Rest assured, this will be marked in my methodology section if I chose to do so!) So, my Research Days work is alive and a live wire! 

All My Dreams Have Fallen Down

This floaty and focused feeling I’m getting from making progress on my work and other concerns are pretty well summarized by “Save Me” by Remy Zero. Just like young Clark Kent, I too am setting out on my journey to become who people will know me as for years to come. Smallville is one of my all-time favorite shows and I usually have it on in the background while writing. This week, it echoed in my life; much like Clark and Jonathan Kent, my Dad and I definitely fight a lot but are still quite close. And just like Jonathan Kent, my Dad looked me in the eyes when he gave me the lab manual review advice and said, “I wish I could tell you all the answers, but you have to find them yourself.” It had me thinking about the insider-outsider feeling, and I came to realize over the last two weeks I hardly felt it, and I want to keep it that way. Forensic linguistics is fascinating and I regret spending even a moment wishing I picked something else to write about. I’m literally going to exercise the option of being able to leave the classroom for the second half of class and walk around as I write, and hope to finish at least half a chapter before heading home. 

I also realized I’m closer than further on a lot of big decisions, like how to submit my thesis and how to present in a few weeks. For my thesis, I’m definitely doing a traditional submission and a website. (I figure it might help to have live links to my sources in my work.) Admittedly, the latter half is weighing heavily on my mind; I really don’t want to go for round four of an aggravating instead of exhilarating time in front of the classroom. I could take the easy way out and use it for practice for Research Days. Or, I can stop stressing over what is still way out on the horizon and remind myself that no matter what happens, I’m hitting submit in May. 

So, I’m not quite Superman just yet, but the time will pass in the blink of an eye.

Don’t Give Yourself Away! 

It’s only fitting to end a post this long and with hints to even longer pieces of my writing with a bop like “Surrender” by Cheap Trick. (This came on at least three times while I was cycling uphill, so I’m equating it with a strong surge of determination and a push against all odds.) As I look ahead to today’s class, it’s all about showing up and supporting Susan, who I am sure will have an amazing presentation! See everyone later! 

The Snooze Button Has Been Hit

This week was definitely a much-needed reset.  As much as I have been feeling really productive in class, I also really enjoyed the day off.  It was a truly relaxing President’s Day with my family.  (I’m really liking the 4-day work week, too!  Why don’t we do this regularly?)  There were positive signs all around, from the pleasantly warm and springlike weather, to seeing robins on my front lawn, and daffodils beginning to pop up through the soil.  My mood was definitely improved, and I felt a wave of optimism about the upcoming season.

There was also a pleasant distraction this week from the developments in my story, since my younger brother officially tied the knot!  Congrats Anth and Mel!

But, I have to admit that I had less “working time” on my project as a result, since having the designated time and space in which to work has really opened up a new avenue as far as my ability to get schoolwork done.  I mainly focused on getting my “work work” done, and setting up my lesson plans so that they will pretty much be on auto-pilot for the next few weeks.  I have to admit, I had a mild moment of panic, though, last Monday, when I thought a blog was due, but thankfully, it was a false alarm!  I was relieved because, at that point, I really had nothing to show for my week.  

This week, not much time was spent on my actual narrative, nor was it spent on writing my foreword or lit review (although I did do a lot of thinking about it).  However, the week wasn’t a total bust, since there were some dramatic developments which I journaled about that might become/inspire/inform some side-stories or tangents to my main plot, to further develop the relationships between my protagonist and her husband, as well as with her sister.  I also had a sort of funny conversation at work (debating how many spaces go after a period, which, since I swore it was two, means I’m definitely over 40!) that I think can make its way into the narrative, since I’m looking for “moments of lightness” to incorporate into the piece.  And even if they only wind up on the cutting room floor, so to speak, I think it was still a worthwhile exercise in the therapeutic power of writing, as it relates to my thesis and to the development of speculative memoir as a genre.  It helped me to navigate two tricky conversations this week, and better prepare me for what seemed like inevitable conversations.  

Though now, my 9-minute snooze is up! I’m looking forward to getting back into a groove, and to hear more of what I’m sure will be Susan’s beautiful writing.  

The well has run dry

I spent most of these past 2 weeks working on a new story, but I just can’t get it to come together. I’ve done everything to prime the pump—long walks, exercising, looking at old pictures, talking to my sisters, reading other people’s memoirs—with no success. I am really stuck and feel like I don’t have enough material for a substantial collection, but maybe this is a sign from above that I need to move on. So, for now I’m done writing new stories and just concentrating on finishing up all the mostly done ones, but this has proved very time consuming. Every time I think I’m done with one, I keep finding things that bother me, mostly grammatical errors and syntax. I could keep rereading and editing forever, but I’ve decided that I have one more week to edit ALL of my stories, and that’s it.

Now for the introduction, I haven’t written anything down yet, but I have been mulling over ideas in my head. I need to give this some serious thought because the intro must tie the research and my stories together. This will not be easy as I feel there is a large gap. However, I will make it work. 

I just got Jessie’s book and am so excited and inspired to self-publish my own stories, but that’s not something I’m even seriously considering at the moment. Things are moving too quickly for me. Seems like just yesterday I was dabbling in memoir writing and now suddenly, I’m about to complete a thesis and get a master’s degree. This all feels like a dream—a good one.

Please check your email for my presentation.

Week, IDK I lost track…

The last time we met in class, Susan mentioned how she was hanging out with her sister, reminiscing on the past, which reminded her about a story she had forgotten, which helped her draft the next section of her thesis. After the twenty pages, I felt lost about where to take the story next. I had an outline, but I was having a hard time writing it. So today, I went and hung out with my brother, which is rare. As I was trying to share a story about my father, I was shocked to hear my brother’s version. How did we grow up with the same parents but view them so differently? I cherish my parents; they’re everything to me. But, my brother resents them, almost feels like he hates them. 

This has always been our story. I always jokingly say we have different parents. He is the oldest, so maybe he got the young version of my parents when they didn’t quite know how to be Mom and Dad. But, on the other hand, perhaps I, the youngest, got the more skilled version of them. So his version didn’t help me with the story I am writing, but maybe his version is just as important as mine, and I should include it in my account. Which in turn makes things a little more complicated. Back to revising my outline, I’m not even sure how I’m going to do it, but I feel like it’s important to tell the whole truth, even the NOT SO PRETTY PARTS.

I wanted to draft and revise ten more pages during this break: two parts of my story—the part of my mother and father’s love story and the part of heartbreak. I did draft about four pages; by Monday, I hope to have all ten drafted and once again a revised outline once again. Then during the week, I will adjust my writing. That being said, I’ll end the blog right here and go on about my writing

25% There

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Two weeks of progress…Two weeks seemed like such a long time when Dr. Zamora said it in class nearly two weeks ago. I was able to finish editing essay two right before class on Monday the 14th and began editing essay three that night. It has once again been a slow process, but I am making my way through essay three. I did not realize how long the essay was until I started working on this essay about assessing students.

When I started revising the essay, I looked at the introduction and subcategories and decided that something needed to be changed. I talked with Diana in class and she agreed that the introduction needed to be changed and that I should move the introduction into a section about co-teaching.

In terms of my progress over the past week and a half, I have been taking my own advice that I gave to Bailey about time management and I am setting a timer for working during the week. I am not working everyday. But I am spending a few hours a week on my project.

Unfortunately, I was sick last weekend and did not get as much done as I had hoped. Whomp whomp!! I am completing my blog on Wednesday night so that I can just focus on completing the editing of this essay and finding a good source to insert on data driven instruction. I must have one somewhere in my collection of sources, I just need to sort through and find the best one to link in my digital teaching guide.

Looking forward to another class with you lovely ladies on Monday!

A two-week stretch….

I am happy to have started our Valentines Day thesis discussion with a short meditation that focused on taking a pause, breathing, and centering our self-compassion. As we rush through time and space, I hope these small moments are restorative so that you are better able to assess how you feel. I hope that we can all consider what strategies we need to apply in the midst of a busy day, in order to make another dynamic day-in-life feel a bit better. This past week we covered a discussion of potential formats for the submission of your thesis work, and we also discussed the importance of Creative Commons licensing for anyone considering publishing thesis artifacts on the open web. I also reminded you of the best strategies for preparing for your thesis presentations since they will begin on 2/28.

Our slides:

What is critical to remember during this stretch of time is simply to keep going. Please devote some worthwhile time to work on your thesis during this two-week stretch. Please do not to let too much time pass without working on some aspect of the project.

Make the most of a longer stretch of time between our meetings!

Set some small goals, create a work schedule for this relatively short period of time, and stick to it!

Remember – we have President’s Day off this week so no class meeting on 2/21! So for 2/28 please write your fourth blog (progress report) of the semester – accounting for your accomplishments during the 2 week stretch and any questions that come up. 

Susan will present first when we return. What a great way to start our thesis presentations series!

Not Much to Say

I really don’t have much to say for this blog. I have started working on the cover of my book on Amazon, since their cover creator is making things a little difficult for me and it will take me time to finalize what I want. However, in terms of revision, I have finished revising and editing ten chapters. I have eleven left. By the time we meet again, I plan to finish six more chapters. So far, so good. I am content with the material each chapter consists of, and although I know I have gone ahead of my outline for this month, I did it because I had a realization over the past couple of days. The semester is ending in the beginning of May, and I plan to submit my thesis as a fully published novel. For that, I would have to upload the manuscript and buy a copy of my book which takes a few days to come in. I have to give it during that last week of the semester, which ALL comes down to the fact that, I would like my story to be completed and ready to submit by the middle of April.

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As a result, I would like to read as much as I can so that I can spend time with the visuals of the cover and be satisfied with what I produce. Time is counting down, and so I want to make sure I don’t take it too easy when it comes to comprehending how many days I really have when it comes to submitting my thesis. My literature review is only missing a few more annotations which I expect to finish by the week before Spring Break. And then, everything else will be done (except my revision of course.) But yeah, all is well. And my blog for this week is small and simple. Like I said, not much to say.

P.S. The picture of seashells was chosen because I feel very calm and peaceful when I look at or feel them, and I felt it was a good representation of my mental process with my thesis.

Creating My Story

If there was such a thing, I would consider myself a perfectionist. My parents expected As and Bs from my sister and me during my childhood and nothing less. They are the type of parents that want the best for their children and are very understanding, but when it came to academics that was a top priority. I can recall getting an A- and hearing “What happened to the rest of the points?” inquiring about why I did not receive an A or the times I got straight As and heard “Well you did it once so we know it’s possible.” Since then academics has always been my focus. So much so that I graduated undergrad with one B and contemplated retaking the class. Now in my adulthood, perhaps this has affected me in the professional setting. I strive to do everything for everyone. I am one to receive praise due to being a team player, being detail-oriented, and always submitting tasks on time. With this, also comes additional tasks as my supervisors are aware I am reliable and “Bailey can get it done.” I am proud of my work ethic, but not proud of the challenges that come with it. 

I am tired. 

I have learned that I cannot do everything as much as I try to. I hear this from my colleagues and supervisors. In every evaluation I have had, the topic of creating a balance between work and personal has come about.

I begin to ask myself, “How is a balance possible?”

From living and working on campus and receiving emails, calls, and texts all throughout the day even when off, it is hard to create a balance and when one tries to, they suddenly don’t have “visibility” or is “never around,” but I must also realize that the tiredness I am feeling is also coming from my actions as well.