I use this space to post status updates on my professional activities. Read at your own risk!
So Far, So Fall
I'm typing this in my office at USF. Students wait in the hallway, occasionally stopping by to ask for directions. As for my students, yesterday they linked class activities to the course student learning outcomes. Yay! My course is doing what it is supposed to do.
As anticipated, the semester is off to a rolicking start. I'm mostly out of coursework, but my time is spent Studying for Comprehensive Exams, or as I prefer to call it, Katie's Time in Happy Theory World. Not being sarcastic; thinking through theories is the best part of each day.
Thinking through theory is also absolutely necessary (and alliterative). My dissertation needs to address questions about rhetoric and disability studies, questions that a lot of us are working to answer. So many people are concerned about mental health, surveillance, and stigma, and the work they're doing is so imperative. Of course, mental health, surveillance, and stigma are not part of Katie's Happy Theory World. My concerns drive my research.
Still to go before comprehensive exams: finish my ATTW conference proposal, propose a course for USF's undergraduate major, and revise a piece on depression and mental health literacy.
There are three more weeks of summer, and I still need to finish a draft of my prospectus. I think I can, I think I can.
The end of summer is difficult because we have to reconcile our dreams of productivity with our perceived summertime laziness, and with all the expectations of fall. Of course I had dreams of productivity: I was going to go to the gym everyday! Going to have my comps reading lists memorized. Alas.
I did, however: form a dissertation committee, go to DHSI, write a paper on surveillance and mental health, and teach a professional writing course. I'm super okay with my productivity levels.
Thank you to the people in my life who held me accountable:
- my parents, who are both strong advocates of "why don't you get it done by Friday so you can enjoy the weekend?"
- my professors, who made the time to chat with me over the summer/sign forms/keep me on track
- the good folks in my womenintc writing group, who encouraged me to check in three times a week with my progress.
As my third year in grad school looms, I find myself thinking back to my third year of college. My theme song then was the third-season opener from the fantastically-underrated show Community. Like the show, I declared my wish to "have more fun and be less weird than the first two years combined." High expectations, I know.
This year, my expectations are equally lofty. I need to take comps, defend my prospectus, and write the majority of my dissertation before this time next year. Despite folks' insistence that I'll do fine, I'm still nervous that I'll mess up everything. #impostersyndrome
So it's helpful to think in terms of what I can control and what I can't. I control my capacity to finish a draft of my dissertation prospectus before the semester starts, my ability to study for comprehensive exams, and my list-making skills. The stuff I can't control, I can't blame myself for. Perhaps not-blaming is my #RhetKindness for this month, and for the upcoming academic year.