Day 38: Celebration!

Today I am celebrating for two reasons: It is the last day of #AcWriMo. My husband completed the first draft of his dissertation. My husband, Matt, and I met in our PhD Program. He is one year ahead of me in this process and is one of the most diligent and hardworking individuals I have ever …

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Day 37: 5 Minute Dance Break

http://www.bradfordesprit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/DANCE.jpg One of the tools that keep me productive is the Pomodoro Technique. What keeps me energized are my 5 minute dance breaks! Academic work is tedious. You read a paper over and over. You look at your data over and over. You write, and edit, and rewrite, and edit again. You look at your …

Day 36: Dyslexic Moment

I posted this picture to Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScienceClau/status/670318154447458304 I did not notice until now: I misspelled the word advice. Sigh... I am going to go ahead and call this another dyslexic moment. Yes, I can write. Yes, I can pay attention to detail. And yes, I will slip up and will probably not notice. The thing …

Day 35: Milestone 7

On Day 30-ish I set myself some SMART goals. This is how I did: I did make the spreadsheet work - with 8 generations! I completed the theory logic for paper 2. I send my idea for feedback to my advisor. I wrote 2,239 words! Days are going fast - I need to keep making progress. …

Day 34: Small Victories

Every day since my 100 Day Challenge started, I have been tracking how many words I write, how much I read, and the progress I make. Today I accomplished a major win: I sent Paper 1 (literature review) to my advisor! I completed the final draft weeks ago, but it has taken me this long to edit and …

Day 33: Quora and Dyslexia

I had been a long-time lurker in Quora. I had an account, and I usually spent time reading answers to questions that were interesting. I always thought it was fascinating that people would give their time to writing answers for strangers. And then I saw a question that I obviously could not resist: Can a person …

Day 32: Milestone 6ish

So, I took a day off on my official milestone evaluation day.  Yikes! So, for the record, this is how I did: On Day 25, I set myself some SMART goals: I did finish the code. This time, my mentors contacted me. I did work on the theory for Paper 2 I only wrote 2,116 …

Day 31: Restart

Yesterday I took a much needed day off. Today, it was back to the routine. Except that waking up at 5 am after sleeping in the day before was painful. After only one day, it was back to square one. The very first day I started the 5 am routine I was invigorated by how much progress …

Day 30: Academic Guilt

http://shebudgets.toobnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2012/07/Guilt.jpg I took a day off. Yes, I am working on #AcWriMo and my personal 100 day challenge. But I needed to rest. I've mentioned it before, but I am completing my degree far away from my home institution because of some health issues. Being close to my family and friends has given me the strength …

Day 29: How I use Dictation

http://www.augsburg.edu/class/wp-content/uploads/sites/78/2014/05/AT-Mind-Map-for-Website.jpg Today, I was very close to not writing at all. It would have been my first day in #AcWriMo without any writing. The nice graph I have been keeping would have had an empty space. The horror! I wanted to write. I really did. But writing (as in typing) is an activity that uses …

Day 28: Coding and Dyslexia

Today  I spent all day finishing that code that has been the only incomplete milestones. I will debug and test it tonight and tomorrow morning. I love coding. As a dyslexic, I thought that having all these random words would be hard to cope with. Surprisingly, it is not. Coding is not about words at all. …

Day 27: The Right Work Environment

Finding the right environment to work and learn is very important for anyone. Just as it is important, it is challenging. Which is why there are countless articles written about how to create a workspace that allows you to focus (see almost any article at Lifehacker, for example). I have found that I work best in three …

Day 26: Learning with Dyslexia

Earlier today, I answered a question on Quora about how to memorize text with Dyslexia. People without Dyslexia take reading for granted. But when reading is not how you can learn, what do you do? You Listen. When I was very young (3rd grade or so) I began to make recordings of myself talking in order to …

Day 25: Milestone 5

It is goal evaluation time - again! EVALUATE - EVALUATE! (If you have ever watched Doctor Who, this should be hilarious! If you have never watched Doctor Who, I strongly recommend you stop everything you are doing and fix this major problem in your life. OK - So, how did I do? On Day 20, I …

Day 24: How #AcWriMo is helping my fear of Writing.

The chart above shows how many words I have written each of the last 15 days. My goal was 500 words per day. It was a stretch goal. I would have been happy with 300 words. What is most amazing here is what you don't see: any empty days. Before #AcWriMo, my average day consisted of …

Day 23: Weekend Balance

Life is about balance. Yes - I am working a lot and very hard on my dissertation proposal. At the same time I am taking care of my health (the reason I am in DC and not at my University). But it is important to take time to live - beyond work and health. Today, …

Day 22: Shitty First Draft

November has been an uncharacteristically productive month. This is thanks to #AcWriMo and my own 100 Day Challenge. The interesting part about that realization is that I have always had it in me to be this productive - so why wasn't I? PERFECTIONISM A long time ago, my husband told me about the idea of …

Day 21: Dissertation Update

My dissertation consists of three papers. When I began this challenge, my plan looked like this: A literature review of something? Some idea? Some other idea? If you are concerned about my future as a PhD at this point, you are in good company. My goal is to have the front-end (or theoretical arguments) drafted completely …

Day 20: Milestone 4

Why are these milestones every five days? Goal setting theory essentially suggests that people perform to meet their goals. The goals that we have as future scholars are measured in years. So it is really easy to get lost. After making no discernible progress in a year, I started the 100 Day challenge as means to keep …

Day 19: This Literature Review Needs to End

I have been making steady, but slow, progress on my literature review. And I am officially over it. I still find the research interesting, and the process is enlightening. I know more than I could ever have imagined knowing about a single topic. But I just need it to end. Yesterday, preferably. I am close. …

Day 18: A New Normal?

Yesterday, I relaxed in the afternoon. And I may have stayed up way too late. I was supposed to sleep in - just a little bit. But now, it seems that my early morning habit has taken effect. I woke up at 4:55 am - before my alarm! While I am thrilled that after only …

Day 17: Like A Boss

Today was a good day. All the reading I have been doing trying to recreate my spreadsheet paid off (today, at least). Revisiting the literature in that much detail, years after I originally read it, has given me a new perspective. I think I finally have worked out how I am going to organize my …

Day 16: The Horror

I have been hard at work finishing my literature review. I originally thought it would take me three weeks to complete. It has been three weeks. I am not even half-way done. What happened? Missing files. This is one of the worst nightmares of graduate students and researchers everywhere. Actually, this is a nightmare for …

Day 15: Milestone 3

These milestones come too fast! I am always surprised! On Day 10, I set myself some SMART goals, This is how I did: Here are the goals for the next five days: I sent an update to my advisor. I sent update to Mentor 1 and 2 at the same time. I became familiar with Norton …

Day 14: Morning Writing Sprint1

  Every morning, I wake up in time to get to my local Starbucks when they open at 5:30 am. Then I challenge myself to read and write for one whole Pomodoro cycle (which takes about 2 hours). I usually write for about 1 hour and read for one hour. I get 500+ words written …

Day 13: Discovering Dyslexie

I started my PhD in September 2012. And I quickly realized that I was out of my depth. Not in the way impostor syndrome makes you feel, though there was plenty of that happening. I was out of my depth because of the amount of reading.  There was more reading and writing than I had …

Day 12: I’m just here so I don’t get fined

Today, I worked from home after my writing sprint in the morning. This is my work space. I have the Wacomb tablet and the cheat sheet I discussed in the Dyslexic Grad Student's Toolbox post. I am not writing much on this blog today. My brain is a little bit fired for the following reasons: …

Day 11: Writing with Dyslexia

Yesterday, I posted this on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScienceClau/status/660814052223025152 I wrote this in order to remind myself (and anyone reading) that dyslexics can, indeed, write. Does that mean that it is easy? Nope. After years of writing and practice, has it gotten any easier? Not really. So, what is it like writing with dyslexia? It is different. …

Day 10: Milestone 2

It is Day 10, which means it is time for a reckoning! Did I actually accomplish my goals? Almost! On Day 5, I set myself some SMART goals. This is what I accomplished: I wrote only 2,258 words in total. I did not meet this goal because of my Day 6 distraction: Getting the Harry Potter tickets! …