Thursday, May 17, 2012

PhD Candidate

Wow!!  You were awesome this morning Katey!!!  Way to go!  And everyone seemed really engaged. I love your committee members. All are very very smart!!  Your work is super interesting and has SO much potential to contribute innovative ideas to help dementia caregivers. Go celebrate and sleep. And Katey don't be surprised if you "crash." It takes awhile to recover from candidacy exams. Great job. You should feel so proud of yourself.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Decisions, Decisions...

I had my first job interview, ever, last Thursday.
I flew into the Chippewa County Airport on Wednesday night. My interview lasted from 7:15 AM to 7:30 pm.  It was an amazing day but so absolutely exhausting.  I can't remember the last time I slept that well.  My teaching demo was amazing.  I didn't get through it all because the students were participating and discussing what I was asking.  I can't remember the last time I got done teaching and felt that great about what just happened.  It was so encouraging and exciting for me!  Then, I gave my research talk to about 3 people, another showed up more than halfway through and then another showed up as I was taking questions and comments.  There weren't many questions, but mostly just comments saying how awesome my ideas are and how important they are not only for society but also in terms of theoretical contributions.
Dinner went well with the whole committee. I bonded with the two professors I didn't know and the student representative on the search committee.
I felt so good about the whole day and I made it known that regardless of what happened, I had such a good experience and was so thankful for it.
My old professor told me that I really knocked it out of the park.  He wasn't there for my teaching talk but the report from the other two that were there was to the extent of "wow".  And he said my research talk was amazing.  He likened me to Rocky Marciano in the historic fight - Marciano v. Jersey Joe Walcott both in my interview and during my phone interview as well.  I was the underdog and things weren't very strong at the beginning, but I came through and and knocked 'em out eventually.
I had quite a few conversations with my old professor - mostly just shooting the shit, but he made it very clear to me before I left that I put in a good performance and it seemed that 4/5 committee members he had already talked to were impressed with me.  I knew the committee was meeting on Monday to discuss their decision.
Fast-forward through the weekend...
Today is Monday.  I hadn't told anyone at school about how the interview had gone.  I had through an e-mail told a professor I was working with that the interview had gone well and within the hour my advisor contacted me to tell me she heard it went well.  How quickly news travels in our department... or so I thought.
She requested that we meet before our normal Wednesday meeting, and in fact, that we meet in 45 minutes.  I raced into school and found out that LSSU had contacted her about the position.  I have no idea what they talked to her about, but she told me that I was basically going to be offered the job.  I was surprised that they contacted her so quickly... I knew they were meeting on Monday, but I figured it would be at least another day or two before any contact was made.  I got home from school, from TA-ing the final exam, and within 45 minutes I received a call from the provost at Lake State.  He extended me the offer for Assistant Professor of Communication.  Only had a few details but I'm apparently receiving a whole bunch of paperwork in the mail detailing the offer.  I have until next Wednesday to give them my answer.

This is insane.  So happy and blessed to have this offer, but this is terrifying and is probably the biggest life decision I've ever had to make.  At the age of 26, I am being offered a tenure track, Assistant Professor of Communication, faculty position.  Put that in your pipe and smoke on it.

So, to take it back to da yoop, or keep bleeding scarlet and grey for one more year?

Decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I find myself facing a situation that I've already been in before.  Fortunately, this time I am recognizing that I am being set up before it is too late.  With an authority backing me, I am hopefully taking care of this situation tomorrow.  Every mountain I climb, I descend to find another.  I am resilient. I am courageous.  I am determined. I have the strength and I WILL persevere. 

is a Finnish term loosely translated into English as strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity. However, the word is widely considered to lack a proper translation into any language. Sisu has been described as being integral to understanding Finnish culture. The literal meaning is equivalent in English to "having guts", and the word derives from sisus, which means something inner or interior. However sisuis defined by a long-term element in it; it is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain an action against the odds. Deciding on a course of action and then sticking to that decision against repeated failures is sisu. It is similar to equanimity, except the forbearance of sisu has a grimmer quality of stress management than the latter. The noun sisu is related to the adjective sisukas, one having the quality of sisu.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Its Been a Long December...

Man oh man. What a crapshoot of a term Fall 2011 was.

I worked my butt off straight through summer, never had much of a break before Fall began.  I was exhausted when this term started.  And for the record, I didn't make it through unscathed.  This was one rough term for me.

Things started to go sour over the two week break I had between summer and fall terms.  My then-boyfriend made some off-color comments to me that really pissed me off.  Things stayed sour when I got back to school and within 3 weeks of being back, our relationship was over. His behavior since the breakup has been a roller-coaster for me and his immaturity has really taken its toll.  I have felt completely isolated in our department.  I tried to avoid social situations where he would be so it wouldn't be hard for him.  And in doing so, I have lost a friend or two.  Not to mention he couldn't be bothered to acknowledge my presence or not run and hide when he saw me at school.  So, yeah, he's been super awesome and helpful in the healing process of this whole mess.

On top of matters, my sister had her first baby less than a week before classes started again.  I've been home as much as possible to spend time with her, but its still difficult being away from home.  Molly is growing and changing so much I feel like she is a different person every time I see her.  So, while this has been a good life change, it is still a stressful one adding to the pile.

My comprehensive exams and dissertation have been a roller coaster as well.  My committee meeting kept getting pushed back until it was finally canceled altogether the first week of november.  To reschedule, I had to have my statement of purpose written, and during that week I was to be writing it, my advisor sent me an e-mail suggesting I look into a completely new direction for my dissertation. Well, needless to say, this paralyzed me since I had no idea what to make of this suggestion and it didn't help matters that we didn't meet again for almost a good month due to conferences and holidays.  So, over Thanksgiving break, I decided that since we hadn't had a committee meeting yet, I didn't have my reading lists from my committee members, and 4 weeks and Christmas break sounded like insufficient time to study for my comps, I didn't want to do them until the Spring term.  All of my committee members sounded pretty happy about this when I told them the news, and so I am happy too.  Now, I get to study for 10 weeks and do the readings that I want to do.  Unfortunately, during my last meeting with my advisor, some issues were raised and my dissertation focus is going to have to change.  I'm somewhat bummed since I've been so focused on this topic for at least a year now, but oh well I suppose.  Its one project.  A big project, but just one.  Things could be worse, I suppose.

This term was the first term without some of my really good friends here.  Christine and Whitney were my girls and they have both graduated and gone.  I am so thankful that Christine left me Lauren, because quite honestly, I'm not sure what I would have done without her here.  God has blessed me with such a good friend.  She is amazing and has been about the only support I've had in Columbus for a good two months.  Its been really hard having such huge life changes taking place and not having your support system available to you.  I've been struggling.  A lot.  I think I've remedied the situation though.  The past two weeks I've made my loneliness known to a few girls in my department and extended an offer to them to be friends.  They accepted my offer with open arms. :-)

I spent the majority of my time this term working on two research projects to get them ready to submit to ICA.  They got finished [for the most part] and submitted, but still don't know if either got accepted and I neglected my school work to do these things.

Classes weren't too bad, but neglecting to do the readings for the most part in all of my classes really had me behind for a while.  Not to mention, the advanced stats class I took with stats god, Andrew Hayes, was the first stats class I've taken in almost 2 years.  So, I was a little rusty in that area, obviously.  I was really stressed about my grades for a good portion of the last week and a half.  I had convinced myself that there was a good possibility that I might not even pass the stats class.  Thankfully, my worry was unfounded.  I passed all of my classes with flying colors.  In fact, they were so good I'm still in shock about my stats grade. :-)
To top off the good grades, I got amazing student reviews from my research methods labs.  So, that makes me feel wonderful.
I was also instructed to apply for a tenure track position at my Alma Mater by my professors from there.  Apparently the first time they wanted me to apply, they didn't understand what I meant when I said I had 2 years of school left.  Well, after the way this first term has gone, I'm applying.  I don't have to make any big decisions right now, but I'm applying.  Because if winter term is as miserable as fall term was, thanks to some really immature people in my department, and I am offered the job, I might just have to peace out of Ohio and head back North to make a big kid salary and finish my dissertation in the beauty of the Yoop.

I've had a rough term.  And when I say rough I don't mean its all been bad, its just that the stress load has taken its toll and my body is very unhappy with me.  I've learned a lot the past 3 months.  I've grown a lot as well.  I've learned that even if you try to keep things civil, people still take sides.  But thats just fine.  I know loss very well and even though it hurts for a while, everyone will move on and life will be okay without them.  I've started counseling and am working out some issues - some recent and some from my buried past that has resulted in some ptsd.  I'm going to keep working on it and keep working on me.  Because I will forever and always be a work in progress.

I've decided that even with all of the crying, this term is an overall win.  I'm still alive and I'm re-energizing to tackle my next big project: The Dreaded Comprehensive/Candidacy Exams.  So here is to a successful and prosperous 2012 with the ups and downs of life and the phd process.


Monday, November 14, 2011

"Empty Rooms"

"I just called to see if you're loving anybody today.  If you're not loving somebody, you're wasting your time.  These are my words of wisdom, from this side of eighty." -Paul, on an answering machine (pg.153)

Ray, R. E. (2008). Endnotes. New York: Columbia University Press.

Monday, October 24, 2011


It is good to feel lost... because it proves you have a navigational sense of where "home" is.  You know that a place that feels like being found exists.  And maybe your current location isn't that place but, Hallelujah, that unsettled, uneasy feeling of lost-ness just brought you closer to it. 
-Erika Harris