Thinking About Work

31 March 2019

To quote one of my favorite shows, “I’m a planner.”

I like to think I’m a fairly self-aware person.

Of course, like everyone, I’m not perfect, and there are time when I come up short, either in other people’s estimation or my own.

All of which is to say: I spend a decent of time analyzing myself and my interactions with other people. As a result, I have a good understanding of how I work, and strategies to maximize my productivity during the portions of the day where I have both time and energy to get things done. This semester, I am also, technically speaking, overloading with four full classes as opposed to the required three.

Taking four full classes means that I have to be very deliberate about how I spend my time: I break everything up into smaller sections, make lists to plan out how and when I’ll work through those sections, and update those lists on a daily basis. In some ways I’m deeply indebted to my senior year of undergrad for helping to develop this skill. And it works perfectly for me. Given 15 sections of Cicero to read, I’ll break it up into 3- or 4-section chunks, and then read one chunk per day for four days; same goes for Greek. Archaeology assignments I’ll usually read one article at a time, one article per day, to give myself time to absorb each piece. And for my longer-running project of helping to centrally digitize all of the field notebooks from a 1985-87 survey, I set aside a block of 30-60 minutes (usually at the very end of the day since it’s fairly rote by this point) to make progress.

It’s taken me a while to realize this (and several frustratedly frantic days), but not everyone in my program shares my system. Two of my housemates will regularly leave language assignments to the night before they’re due; one with whom I’m working on the digitizing project, works on that once or twice a week for several hours at a time.

I am myself, and I work in the way(s) that are best suited for me. But I still need to remember that other people have other ways and modes that work best for them.

Grad School - The First Three Weeks

15 September 2018

Hello! I am, in fact, still here.

In the months since my last little mini-review, I have finished my job at the bookstore, learned Latin, packed up (most of) my worldly possessions, and moved to Lubbock, Texas. It’s been a rather hectic few months.

So far grad school has been about what I expected it to be; to be clear, this is a very good thing. There are, and continue to be, a lot of new things to adjust to, like TAing a class, the higher expectations for work, and renting a house, to name a few.

All in all, I’m extremely glad that I made the decision to do this. I’m thinking I’ll try to write a post towards the end of each month so I can keep track of progress.

Until next time!

In Review - Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

28 May 2018

The line that I always use when describing this book is that it contains my all-time favorite use of a sewing machine.

Karen herself is whip-smart, hilarious, emotional, stubborn, and courageous; in a word: human. The entire cast of characters is vibrantly alive and unapolegetically themselves, whether they be an African-American lawman, a transgender sex worker, or a queer sex worker like Karen herself. The story hums along at a good clip, the action is satisfyingly energetic, and the intriguing glimpses into the larger world (like the official Mad Scientist licenses, mentions of something like the Civil War, and Rapid City’s history and development) make it feel like there is more to the world than just this story.

Basically: I love this book, and you should give it a try.

In Review - Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

12 April 2018

I discovered and started this book under false pretences.

I heard about it via an interview on Eidolon with the author. Given the fact that I skimmed this article at work with half an eye on the register to ensure that I didn’t miss a customer, my comprehension was…lacking. Thus, my main takeaway was that this was essentially a modern-day retelling of Sophocles’ Antigone, and not much more–despite the second paragraph:

Like all successful retellings, Home Fire stands on its own merits —- no familiarity with Sophocles is needed to appreciate the novel’s elaborate interweaving of family and state. Like the most successful retellings, the novel casts new light on the original. With a particularly deft hand, Shamsie exposes the complex depths of humanity in Sophocles’ characters and displays how germane the story of the Antigone remains in today’s geo-political landscape. The novel was rightly longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for 2017.

To put it mildly, this book is stunning. Shamsie very deftly weaves a story that shares many characteristics and an overall arc with Sophocles original, but that still stands vibrantly on its own as a satisfying, melancholy story of modern fear and courage in the face of that fear. Definitely worth a read.

August 2017 Media Diet

31 August 2017