In the beginning there was grad school. That ended in 2010. Now what do I blog about?

NEW BLOG - ACADEMIC AMPLITUDE

November 27, 2009

In a nutshell what has been happening with school, work, home

Winding down the program, feeling tired. The time change and amplified work load causing me to feel like I only have 19.5 hours in a day and not a full 24. Not sure what happened to what little free time I had - for you know, eating lunch and paying bills - but I am definitely working more than ever before.

What's been happening in the last 6 weeks since my last blog post? Let's see if I can get my brain to untangle and present it in a way that makes sense to those of you who live outside my head.

In my last post, I was a bit frustrated with something happening at work; school was well, normally as abnormal as it gets; and home was stable. Let's catch up:

Home is still stable.
All is well. Celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday with hub at my brother's house. The turkey was actually good this year although the stuffing was soupy. My brother opted to become angry with and embarrass his wife instead of hollering at his kids and making them cry. My dad's girlfriend had laryngitis and was relatively quiet. My cousin is separated from his wife so they weren't together which means they weren't arguing, although he looked miserable without her. My hub and I had a decent time and came home to unwind, have a beer or two, and watch old Steve McQueen movies.

I am looking forward to the Christmas season- it's my favorite. I like the tree and other household decorations, the music, the movies and the general excitement. It will be a lean Christmas this year. With hub out of work and my student loans looming in 2010 I need to keep my cash in the bank. But you know what?, it doesn't matter. I can't think of anything I need or want. It has been a good year - other than hub's layoff and broken toe - I have everything that makes me happy.

School is OK.

The graduate assistantship isn't moving along at any significant pace. I made some headway, created a new CSS for the portal pages and sent out a sample for review. A week went by and I heard nothing, so I pinged the project leader. He said he'd get back to me. He hasn't. And that was weeks ago. I'm not stressing out over it. It's his project - he hired me - he should be the one on top of it. If he's not worried, I'm not worried. If we don't renew in the spring, nothing lost on my end.

Classes are winding down. In the one regular class I have, the assignments have been moderately interesting and the class discussions have been OK. There are two people that I have have started working with outside of class, via Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, so that's cool.

My other class is a graduate research project that I have tied in with work. I have been staying late at work to meet with faculty collaborators and doing a lot of late evenings building, designing, reading. It's coming along nicely. My faculty partner has a lot more to do on her end to launch the program so I am trying to help as much as I can.

I did attend the graduate honors program a few weeks ago. It was nice to see and chat with the dean and the chancellor again. It's good to have that face to face connection. I won't feel like a loser when I go up to get my diploma because I know they know who I am. All in all, the honors program is fantastic and I am happy to have been one of the students at the ceremony. I really like my school and I am happy I chose it.

Work is crazy, in a good way.
I have moved into a private office which is fabulous. The first day I had a webinar and it was awesome to be able to use the computer speakers and lapel mic instead of having to use a headset for an hour long session. I love having a door I can close when I'm on a phone call and there are people out in the hall. (hospital, school = always people in the hall).

My social media initiative is starting to bear fruit. I have secured some interested parties and we are working together. We have an 'Intro to Social Media' session scheduled for Dec and are talking about next steps. I have also been instigating discussions on LinkedIn and I have noticed more people joining campus-related groups and making connections with other campus dwellers. It is neat to watch it develop a little bit. Will these folks remain active or become more active in the network? I do not know. Time will tell. But the coolest thing is the Twitter stuff.

I set up a departmental Twitter account in April this year. I started adding random bits of info from our events listings and publications and grant news and before I knew it, and I wasn't even advertising the account, we had 100 followers. Note, these followers weren't people at our institution but people in the industry (med ed). So then I added 'Follow us on Twitter' to my email signature, to the footer of our department list-serv mailings, and on our department home page. Our followers continued to increase yet still none from our institution. Once we hit 200 followers I started tracking more closely via HootSuite. I was able to get a better picture of our follower activity. I also started tracking adds/drops. I searched for and found more med ed community people to connect with by following conference tags during the summer and fall.

We are now over 425 followers strong. I also track our website hits - in the top 25, #19 is Facebook and #21 is Twitter. I think that is amazing. In only a few months social media sites are ranking as referrers to our dept homepage. Very cool.


So what's next?

Finish up this class. Wrap up Phase-I of my grad research project. Get ready for Phase-II, which is the only 'class' I have in the winter/spring term. Get ready for graduation in May 2010. Get ready for the graduation party in May 2010. Keep on trucking at work. Keep the homefires burning at home.

It has been a good year.