One Year On

August 20th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

On August 15th, I celebrated my one year anniversary of moving to Minneapolis, MN to begin my doctoral studies. I have lived in Minnesota for one year, and I couldn’t be happier. I think this is one of the few times in my life where I am truly happy. I have accomplished a lot this past year. When I came to the Twin Cities, I made a promise to myself to take it easy, relax, encourage a stress-free environment, and enjoy my time. I have done all those things, though I don’t think you can ever have a truly stress-free environment, especially during finals week, and I accomplished more than I ever thought possible.

Over the last year, I have accomplished much:

  1. I started and completed my first year of doctoral school.
  2. I worked with world-renowned scholars on my writing and researching.
  3. I wrote about a dozen papers, and I submitted half of those to various interdisciplinary conferences.
  4. I taught writing courses, and I challenged my students and, more importantly, challenged them to challenge me.
  5. I served as the 2010-2011 US Bank Fellow in Technical Communication at the University of Minnesota.
  6. I attended THATCamp Great Lakes, met fellow digital humanists, and discussed the role of the digital humanities in the 21st century.
  7. I made more friends and met more colleagues than ever before, both face-to-face and through social media.
  8. I started writing for many different popular publications, all of which value public writing.
  9. I saw my CV grow by pages.
  10. I started to explore the world of gaming more fully.
  11. I volunteered for various national and local organizations.
  12. I adopted/rescued a six month old kitten named Tanner.
  13. I strengthened my relationship with my dad.
  14. I entered into a relationship, which is still going strong.

I believe I’ve accomplished a lot over the past year. There are times when I think I didn’t do much, but when I write everything down, I think I did enough. These are just the big things; there are various little things I did throughout the year.

Now, I am preparing for my second year of doctoral school; I’ve picked out awesome classes with great professors. I have a chance to collaborate on an scholarly article with a professor. I’ve started thinking about my exams and dissertation topic with my  wonderful advisor. I will be working with my advisor and another professor in establishing a digital humanities initiative at the University of Minnesota. I’ve had two proposals accepted for two different conferences, one this fall and the other in spring 2012, and I’m preparing another proposal for a third conference. I will be done with coursework at the end of next spring. I have a feeling the next year will be exciting, stressful, challenging, and fun. I can’t wait to get started.

I couldn’t have accomplished anything without the help of my family, friends, and significant others. They helped me often and usually without me asking. I owe them much, and I love them. I think graduate students frequently feel like the world rests on their shoulders; I know I have felt like it did before, but I always take a breath, think of my loved ones, the fortunate life I live, close my eyes, and the weight of my world vanishes.

Even if it doesn’t vanish, I’ll just watch this, and I’m sure I’ll feel better:

Onward and upward, my friends.



Snow Fall

November 28th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

I experienced my first snow fall last week. It was quite nice. I know everyone is warning me about how cold it is in Minnesota, but, so far, I love it. Now, I do realize that it hasn’t gotten to the below zero weather yet; however, when it does, I am prepared. I bought a heavy winter coat last month. It’s rated to -35 degrees F, so I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble.

It is a bit odd being exposed to all the snow and the true winter weather. I grew up in Central California, and it never snowed. Then, I moved to Arkansas where it snowed maybe one inch total over the entire winter. So, stepping outside after the first snow fall, I was astonished at how clear the roads were. It was amazing. The road in front of my apartment was plowed and salted before I even awoke that morning. Some of the kids in my building made a snow man and had a snow ball fight. It was cute. I almost joined in, but, alas, I had to go to work.

It’s weird living in a state where there are actual seasons. There is an actual winter with snow. I still need to order some winter boots and get some proper gloves, but, overall, I have enjoyed the winter so far. I look forward to the sub-zero temperatures.

I usually enjoy cold weather because you can always put more clothes on; you can only take so many clothes off in public.

Minnesoata Dreaming

July 8th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Over this last week, I traveled to Minneapolis, MN to secure an apartment. My father accompanied me and we took a U-Haul trailer filled with my things.  The trip took 13 hours straight through from Little Rock to Minneapolis. We passed through Missouri and Iowa before coming to the Great State of Minnesota.

I tweeted the entire time about things I saw or ideas that popped into my head. I am excited to be moving and starting a new chapter of my life. It’s a big step and cannot wait for the challenges of doctoral school. I love being a student and teaching writing to others. I couldn’t think of anything else I would rather do in this world.

One of my best friends and mentors–Michael Kleine–once told me that he couldn’t believe that he was actually paid to do what he does. He told me he couldn’t imagine what he would have done had he not become a college professor. Michael has had and continues to have a profound impact on my development as a graduate student and scholar.

I will miss him when I move to MN in August.

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