Charlottesville

Regarding Charlottesville… I feel grossly inarticulate. I am stunned and horrified that such a thing could happen in the United States in 2017, and yet this is where we find ourselves.

I did grow up in the South, but was pretty far-removed from any significant glorification of the Confederate flag or white supremacy. I knew they were there–there was always a sort of undercurrent that never went away; you’d see the flag on the back of a truck, for example, or hear people make grotesque remarks. It may very well be the case that I was exposed to much more of this kind of thing than I actively noticed, because over time it just sort of became “white noise” (pun intended) that I tuned out.

I was clearly wrong to have done so, because that undercurrent of hatred, bigotry, bias, reductive and ignorant thought, and 100% pure unadulterated idiocy has punched through that thin wall that I had set up in my mind. There is a sickness running through the veins of this country–I can’t help but think of trying to draw blood but getting black slime instead. And I fear that things are only going to get worse, though I really hope I’m wrong about that.

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Space, place, and the tourist

At the moment I’m sitting under a canopy in a sidewalk café that I believe is called “ΔΙΟΔΟΣ,” but as I have no training in Greek and only a marginal familiarity with the Greek alphabet, I’m not sure at all. What I can tell you, though, is that you get a view of a curious cross-section of humanity in such a place. Tourists, locals, employees… all sort of blur together, and somehow it just works. A woman who looks like a middle school science teacher is no more or less welcome than a guy who looks like he should be hosting a weird game show on the Romanian equivalent of VH1.

I think a lot about spaces; it’s an inseparable part of what I worked on as a doctoral student. And this mélange of cultures under the same awning, all of us satisfying the same animal instincts (i.e., eating, drinking, socializing), despite otherwise significant cultural and language barriers, is fascinating.

I’m not entirely sure where this particular rabbit hole of interest will lead, but that’s my problem to solve… in the meantime, look around the next time you go out to eat or simply find yourself socializing in public. The similarities coexist with differences in a fascinating way.

Wading into the academic job market

I will be the very first to admit that I am beyond lucky to be in the very small minority of (soon-to-be) graduates from PhD programs who landed a tenure-track job; as it so happens, I will be starting as an Assistant Professor at Washington College in the Department of Business Management in the fall. I’ll save my gushing for another post, but I’m thrilled to be in a department where I can do applied rather than theoretical research, and I’m very excited to have teaching as my primary focus.

A couple of weeks ago I was invited, along with my colleague and friend Senyo Ofori-Parku (who, like me, was hired into a tenure-track job over the holidays; he will be heading to the University of Alabama, where he will join our former SOJC colleague Toby Hopp in the APR) to talk to other SOJC doctoral students about the job market and what looking for a position requires.

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Fifty minutes to productivity

Though I have purchased a couple of Tim Ferriss‘ books, typically I don’t subscribe to shortcuts and hacks and so forth for increasing productivity, mainly because they never seem to work for me (or, if they do, I can’t make them stick and become habit). However, there is one trick in particular that I learned from my former orthodontist and mentor Dr. Sarah Shoaf, who has more alphabets after her name than anyone else I know, and it has helped me immensely in my efforts to plow through my dissertation proposal, piles of grading, and various other projects. And it’s shockingly simple.

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To strike, or not to strike?

For those of you who are familiar with the goings-on at the University of Oregon, the GTFF 3544 (the union that approximately half of all UO graduate students belong to, particularly if they have teaching assignments) is currently on strike. This article from the Register-Guard does a fairly good job of explaining what’s going on in a nutshell.

However, after carefully thinking it over, I’ve made a decision not to participate in the strike, and I thought I’d try to articulate why.

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Self-hacks to conquer procrastination

Let’s face it–all of us have struggled with procrastination at some point or another (I bet even Martha Stewart has had her moments). It seems difficult to combat for a variety of reasons, particularly when you have a relatively unstructured schedule, but I’ve been working for the past several weeks to figure out how to trick myself into being more efficient. Here’s what I’ve done so far, in part thanks to the suggestions that I found in the book Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It by Burka & Yuen (read it, if you haven’t done so already). Continue reading “Self-hacks to conquer procrastination”