Ph.D. Adventures!

Take Time to Celebrate (Ph.D. Year 2, Spring Update 9)

TL; DR

Slowly but surely getting through the revisions on my SGD paper and Project CODE Switch. Tired of writing quizzes and my TA is too. I’m also not happy that I had to fail a student this week, but it’s important to be firm because it’s fair. Been procrastinating my cardio workouts, so need to figure out how to improve motivation for that. Reading Atomic Habits by James Clear (#ThankYouForYourSupportCommissionsEarned) and I have started pairing my pomodoros with healthy rewards that can be accomplished in 5 minutes or less.

Weekly Update Breakdown

Accomplishments Since Last Update

  • Writing (SGD theory)
    • Came up with a name for my computational model which my advisor agreed to (for now. lol)
    • Drew out sFBS in terms of my new model
  • Research (Project CODE)
    • Set up coding/version control standards with Sarah (the team engineer) and came up with a plan for when to use objects vs scripts
    • Rogelio told me that I’m now Engineer Lead (that way Sarah and himself can focus on engineering, not organizing).  
  • Teaching
    • Had to fail a student which made me very sad, but Rogelio reassured me that it was good to be firm and fair.
  • Self-care dailies
    • I realized today that I have been associating my difficult cardio workouts with a negative, too difficult to complete attitude and pain in my lungs. And so every time cardio comes around I don’t workout for a few days. Need to change this mindset. New mindset about cardio: I get to improve my endurance and energy!
  • Executive
    • I have been reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, which is what made me aware of the previously mentioned association. The book is based on actual science to help you create good habits (and get rid of bad ones). I highly recommend! Even my brother is going to get it. 🙂
    • I hit a motivational wall. So I started doing pomodoros (25 min work, 5 min break). But then I started getting burnout. Realized I need to implement longer breaks after doing a couple, and I also need to respect the timer. When it goes off, I need to take a break.
  • Personal
    • Took time to celebrate my two-year anniversary with my husband. We took the Lady dog along. She liked getting to see all new doggies on our mini-vacay and we bought her a really cute Ladybug blanket. In fact, everything we bought on our vacay was for the doggo or the kiddos. lol.

Next Week’s Tasks

  • Writing (SGD theory)
    • Finish theory backdrop
    • Start sSGDT section (maybe even finish it too!)
  • Research (Project CODE)
    • Finish basic sim setup
    • Start hero pool
  • Teaching
    • Just two more quizzes to write!
  • Self-care dailies
    • Implement the new mindset. Perhaps I can reward myself with a bubble bath or shower melt after cardio!
  • Executive
    • Institute a longer 30 minute break after completing 3-4 pomodoros to keep motivation high
    • Use point and say (I forgot the exact terminology from Atomic Habits) to point out when I am procrastinating (or other bad habit) or on task (or doing a good habit).

Speed Bumps & Obstacles

  • Writing
    • The link to Dr. Rogelio’s writing log didn’t work. 😦
  • Research (Project CODE)
    • Lack motivation to program in GML.
  • Teaching
    • Lack motivation to write two more quizzes
  • Executive
    • I’m feeling burnout.
Ph.D. Adventures!

Getting Stuff Done (Ph.D. Year 2, Spring Update 8)

TL; DR

10 days in to the 14-day writing challenge. The extra accountability has really helped me burst through internal resistance I had to doing more revisions; I have accomplished a ton of work in the related works: dug through lots of paper citations and found core papers to cite. I also started writing a second paper that is positional and digging through the citations was key for me to start working on it (It has been on my mind for over two years now). As far as teaching: I’m sick of writing quizzes for my class, just two more to go though. Personally, I designed a layout for our laundry room and my husband has been putting that together. The new paint color is fab-u-lous!

Weekly Update Breakdown

Accomplishments Since Last Update

  • Writing (SGD theory)
    • Discovered a core paper to cite for chocolate broccoli by Amy Bruckman, who is, as far as I can tell, the person who first coined it (calling it chocolate-dipped broccoli). And… she was my favorite professor’s advisor! (I just can’t get away from Dr. Cardona-Rivera and Dr. Zagal! LOL!)
    • Started work on the theoretical backdrop revisions
  • Research (Project CODE)
    • Wrote up some coding standards and put them in the Game Maker notes. Need to go over with Sarah to implement.
    • Sarah made a readme → I put it in a note. 🙂
    • I’m bumbling my way through GameMaker, but I think I’ve got some things figured out. Haven’t merged yet with Sarah but will soon. I have been working on the sim. It’s mostly placeholder code for now, but will get us where we need to go I think.
  • Teaching
    • So sick of writing quizzes. Thank goodness my TA has been on the ball. One of my students has abandoned his team and isn’t even responding to me, so I might have to fail a student. So sad. 😦
  • Self-care
    • I am loving how our new laundry room is coming along! I love that I can draw up designs and my husband and can build it. So awesome. Will include pictures when done. 🙂
  • Executive
    • Completed the NCFDD’s core curriculum #3 on how to do a daily writing practice which I thought worked out great with the challenge I’m doing right now. I didn’t expect to learn anything, but I did. Glad I was open to doing it.
      • Added an end of week assessment which will aid in my weekly planning
      • Want to add a daily writing progress tracking.

Next Week’s Tasks

  • Writing (SGD theory)
    • I wanted to complete the revisions this week, but it looks like it will take me through til next week.
    • Track daily writing progress
  • Research (Project CODE)
    • Finish sim
    • Start on hero pool
  • Teaching
    • Quiz 12 this week, Quiz 13 next week.
  • Self-care
    • Continue with dailies
  • Executive
    • End of week assessment + weekly planning
  • Personal
    • Celebrate two-year anniversary with my honey 🙂

Speed Bumps & Obstacles

  • Research (Project CODE)
    • Might be good to have a coding sync meeting with Sarah. Probs 10 minutes or less
  • Teaching
    • Do I have to write quizzes? ;P
  • Executive/Writing
    • I would like to add a daily writing progress tracker. Wondering if Rogelio has one he could let me use, or knows where I could get one.
Ph.D. Adventures!

Why Can’t They Use Powerful Languages that Already Exist? (Ph.D. Year 2, Spring Update 6)

TL; DR

I was sick half the week so I didn’t accomplish much. Worked on refining the beginning part of the SDG theory paper. For teaching, I had grading, quiz creation, and made some minor improvements to assignment instructions. Feeling overwhelmed and not all the way better.

Weekly Update Breakdown

Accomplishments Since My Last Update

  • Writing (SDG theory)
    • Updated abstract, citations, and gathered ACM CCS Concepts. 
  • Research (Project CODE Switch)
    • Started learning GML. The only positive thing I have to say about GML is that it is better than JavaScript. My brother told me that by the transitive property that it is also better than R. 
    • This has been a roadblock because I am unclear what the best way to implement the sim in GML. (I would just do structs and classes in C#.) I believe I have an idea of how to implement it. I really wish we were using an OO language though.
  • Teaching
    • Is going well. Getting lots of good feedback to help improve the class from post-presentation writeups. That was an excellent idea I had. 🙂
  • Self-care dailies
    • Thank goodness for these! Helping me stay sane. The extra daylight is making me feel better as well.
  • Executive
    • I did the NCFDD’s core curriculum #2: “Sunday Meetings.” It was good to listen to the webinar on 1.5X speed. I gained some new insights on the benefits of Sunday meetings and how to frame some concepts (like feeling overwhelmed from a massive to-do list) and creative ways to handle it.
      • One thing to note: the idea that the weekly plan (created during a Sunday meeting) is flexible. It isn’t meant to be rigid. Sometimes life happens and can through off your plan (happened to me right after I did the webinar!) and then you should take some time to replan. 

Next Week’s Tasks

  • Writing (SDG Theory)
    • Keep going through Rogelio’s notes and re-framing paper based on design rationale
  • Research (Project CODE)
    • Help finish the vertical slice
      • Basic Sim model
      • Hero Pool
  • Teaching
    • Create quiz 10

Speed Bumps & Obstacles

  • Research: Project CODE Switch
    • Learning GML
    • Getting over freaking GML (Maybe I’ll like it later????????) This is causing me a lot of anger and frustration. Had I known that I would have been asked to do core programming I would have pushed for Unity so I could have worked in a powerful programming language. I freaking hate programming in GML-like languages and it makes me very angry. I feel incredibly frustrated and really really mad.
    • Rant: it also makes me really really frustrated that these game engines have to write their own languages like they’re going to make something better than other languages that built and used by teams 10s-1000s times bigger than their little game engine team. No, you are not going to write a language that is better than C# or Python and make a great game engine. It hasn’t been done, and if it is done, it will be done by a very large team and/or take another 50 years. It’s freaking ridiculous! These game-engine-made languages are so limited. And why require a programmer to learn yet another crappy language when if you used a language that is both popular and powerful the game programmer to actually do their job: program a game. It really infuriates me.
  • Executive
    • Getting the rest of the way better.
    • Managing overwhelm and stress