When expectations meet reality

As with the beginning of any new year, 2014 brings with it high hopes. When the clock struck 12:01, I turned to my husband and said that one of my professional new years resolutions is to be “more productive.” But as I reflect a bit more on this goal, it got me thinking, how much more productive can I actually be? This year in addition to taking on this Praxis Fellowship and TAing for the Media Studies Department (approximately 80 students each semester) I am trying to complete/defend my dissertation proposal. Since I’m finally done with coursework, I thought this year was going to be a breeze! Of course, I didn’t quite consider the reality of my situation – in addition to all of these professional responsibilities I was taking on another large undertaking…raising my son who was born on July 23, 2013. Insert on-going (and extremely convoluted) debate on  if women can really have it all.  

Being a new mom and a graduate student is quite frankly bizarre. In some respects I live a semi-charmed life. Unlike most of the other working moms that I know, I am able to spend most days with my son (in part this stems from the fact that my modest income does not begin to cover the ridiculous price of childcare). Luckily for me I work for amazing people who let me do a great deal of my work at home (both in Media Studies and Scholars’ Lab). Thanks to Bethany in particular, who doesn’t believe in the Yahoo approach to creativity, and an amazing mother-in-law who comes up once a week to help with childcare, I’m just barely making it work. However, even with all of this extra help I basically have no free time and spend most nights and weekends working.  I feel like I’m in a constant state of catching up. Basically, this is my life:

What could this post possibly do with Praxis? Well, for one it helps to explain why I’m so lost when it comes to learning new programming languages! But it mostly reaches out as a thank you to the SLAB team for helping me with my schedule (Wayne for Web-conferencing me in and Jeremy for making himself available on IRC over the weekends). And, a shout out to the other members of my team: five highly skilled and motivated individuals who are juggling their own eccentricities of graduate life. Finally – I hope my post can serve as a reminder to all of us to set realistic expectations for ourselves. Perhaps my new years goal is not to be more “productive” but to be more “realistic” about my capabilities and do the best that I can.

I’ll wrap this up here with a bit of humor (courtesy of PhD comics)

phd060112s

I am a fourth year PhD candidate in the Sociology Department and am interested in the intersection between media and society. My specific sociological interests are media (as culture), gender, and inequality.

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