My research has sort of been a “funnel” since I’ve been a grad student–but I think I’m starting to see where it all leads. I am interested in consumption as a communicative act; we all consume, but too much attention has been paid to what consumption says about class and taste (which I couldn’t care less about). What does it mean to consume, and what do we tell others when we consume? These are questions that really interest me, particularly when it comes to food, drink, and mobile technologies.
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.
Though I have purchased a couple of Tim Ferriss‘s 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.
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.
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”
Yesterday I wrote my final comprehensive exam, which essentially marks the midpoint of my pursuit of my PhD in Media Studies. Next week I will defend my answers; my department requires four exams, so there will be questions from my comps committee regarding all four. Assuming that everything goes well, that will advance me to candidacy, and my focus will shift to getting my dissertation proposal approved and writing the actual dissertation.
I wanted to take an opportunity to offer some suggestions to other PhD students who might be facing their exams in the near future. While every discipline and every school varies slightly in terms of what comprehensive exams consist of, they are a universal in terms of earning a doctorate in the United States. Here are the strategies that I used to get ready. Continue reading “Conquering comps”
Now that I’m more than a year and a half into my doctoral program and have wrestled with dozens of papers, short and long, I believe I’ve finally put my finger on an ineffable experience that I seem to encounter with some frequency, particularly when working with later drafts of something that I’ve written and rewritten a half-dozen times already.
As I just noted, this is something ineffable, but I’ll attempt to describe the experience anyway. Say I’m staring at a paragraph that just isn’t quite right–perhaps I need to add an additional source, or introduce a contrasting idea, or both. I will find myself staring at the screen, silently (or sometimes not) screaming at the computer, almost paralyzed–it is unbelievably difficult to put my hand on the mouse, maneuver the cursor, click, and start typing.
I know what you’re thinking. “Why?” (Or, more likely, “Who cares?”)
I’m mulling over a study idea related to the “best” restaurants in the world and how that may (or may not) correlate to social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) use. I’m wondering if there’s any possibility that Michelin stars indicate “stuffiness” (based on critiques like this one) and whether this has any bearing on a restaurant’s use of social media. I’m also thinking about comparing the full list of Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide to several other “world’s best” lists and seeing what I come up with. Any thoughts, foodies? Where do you get your restaurant recommendations if you want a “destination” meal?