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!

Had a Week (Ph.D. Year 2, Spring Update 7)

TL; DR

Personal life had a lot going on so it was difficult finding time to work on other tasks. Was invited to and attended a leadership conference. I am four days into a 14-day writing challenge with NCFDD. So far so good. Got the related works section. There’s a lot of work left in that section. Rogelio believes I’ll be ready to do my written qualifiers THIS fall (2021, not 2022). It’s exciting and scary. Picked out who we think will be a good fit for my committee.

Weekly Update Breakdown

Accomplishments Since My Last Update

  • Writing (SGD theory)
    • Updated introduction, added supporting citations, and began work on related works.
  • Research (Project CODE Switch)
    • Talked with Sarah about objects and persistence in GML. Have an idea of what to do now.
  • Teaching
    • Had a lot of things come up with this last week with students that urgently had to be handled.
    • My TA got behind in work last week (which is fine) and said he would catch up this week, but he has a long to do list. I am hoping he can pull through.
  • Self-care dailies
    • Realized that I don’t need to set aside time daily for teaching because it comes up when it needs to and I have all of Monday set aside for it. One less thing to worry about.
  • Executive
    • Skipped NCFDD’s core curriculum this week since I’m doing the 14-day writing challenge.

Next Week’s Tasks

  • Writing (SGD Theory)
    • Complete Related Works
  • Research (Project CODE)
    • Help finish the vertical slice
      • Basic Sim model
      • Hero Pool
  • Ph.D.
    • Look over Munzer’s dissertation proposal
    • Prep my own
    • Keep track of who to have on my committee. 
  • Teaching
    • Create quiz 10, 11

Speed Bumps & Obstacles

  • Executive
    • Hopefully things in my personal life will settle down.
Ph.D. Adventures!

Back to Dailies (Ph.D. Year 2, Spring Update 4)

TL; DR

Missed the CHIPlay deadline, but have a second chance with a deadline this summer. Finished the IRB draft which Rogelio completed and submitted. I’m excited to move away from the crunch I have felt I have been under. So even though I have a lot on my plate, it feels so much more relaxed. Had a bit of a break from teaching, but some students have asked some great questions on their module 1 writeups and I love their engagement. Got a bit of a holiday with my sister’s family, and happy to be back home.

Weekly Update Breakdown

Accomplishments Since Last Update

  • Research Writing (SDG theory)
    • Missing the CHIPlay deadline was very disappointing, but I am a trained writer (journalism style) so even though technical writing is a new style to me, I could tell the piece wasn’t ready. I expected Rogelio’s “bad” news, but the good news is that we can still aim for CHIPlay this year (PHEW!) by aiming for their Rapid Communications call for papers which isn’t due until July 16th.
    • I am really enjoying writing this paper. I think it is going to be really great.
  • Research (Project CODE Switch)
    • I got to lead two game design meetings using my SDG theory I’ve been working on with Rogelio (see paper above) and out of the meetings came my favorite game pitch that got me really excited for the project and it came from Rogelio. Dr. Rogelio told me afterward that he felt that was his first real game pitch. It was super satisfying to see how the theory we’ve been working on could so positively affect not only our case study project but a fellow game maker as well. It felt really good.
  • Teaching
    • Bit of a break from class because of the holiday.
    • Just answering some great questions from students for their first module wrap-up write-up which showed how well, at least some of them, are engaging with the material. It was very satisfying as well.
    • Got ahead on some of the material so we will be two quiz weeks ahead moving forward, even with the ginormous reading assignment (it is long!) that will be the following week’s quiz.
    • It’s not all roses, but Rogelio has been a great support and I got to learn more about the university’s student code which I have never truly appreciated before.
  • Dailies
    • Self-Care
      • I was purposefully slack with my centering and other self-care dailies last week because of the CHIPlay deadline and the President’s Day holiday. Want to get back on track with it this week.
      • I also want to add more mindfulness to my day. Just experiencing life without judgment. So I am taking time to enjoy the fragrance of my herbal tea and food (as much as I can remember to) to enjoy the eating process more and just be more mindful. Again, without any judgment.
  • Executive
    • I didn’t do my Sunday Meeting last week and I really feel it today because I didn’t appropriately plan all my tasks. Should be okay, but made for a bit of a doozy for my end of the week to-do lists!

Next Week’s Tasks

  • Writing (SDG Theory)
    • Back-planning so we hit July 16th CHIPlay due date
    • Go over feedback (once received)
    • Revise, get feedback, repeat.
  • Research (Project CODE Switch)
    • Create 1-2 game pitches for Project CODE Switch
    • Leading Project CODE Switch meeting again this week — going over game pitch ideas and next steps
  • Teaching
    • Create/Publish Quiz 5 & 6
    • Grade Game Design Snacks
  • Dailies
    • Self-Care
      • Was slack last week with Centering dailies because of CHIPlay deadline, want to get back to my centering dailies. They really help my mood and emotional management. Still haven’t figured out what to do in the morning with kiddos to help me achieve that…
    • Achievement
      • Do my Sunday Meeting with planned daily tasks for each achievement focus area (Forgot to do it last week and I really felt it now that it is the end of the week when my tasks weren’t all complete because I hadn’t scheduled appropriately)

Speed Bumps & Obstacles

  • Writing (SGD theory)
    • Waiting on feedback before proceeding
  • Research
    • I think I need to schedule another supplemental design meeting next week (like we did this week), so we can meet as a team to decide on our game idea moving forward
  • Teaching
    • One student is making class a little difficult. I am hoping the informal interventions will resolve the issue because no one really wants it escalated (I hope!). I do know my next steps, now that I am more familiar with the student code, so even if it doesn’t resolve, I know my next steps, but it has caused me some anxiety and has eaten up much of my time.
  • Executive
    • gotta remember to do my Sunday meetings. It’s not a habit, so maybe I need an alarm or something?
Ph.D. Adventures!

Puppy Dogs Are Distracting (Ph.D. Year 2, Spring Update 2)

TL; DR

First student presentation class went well, my TA is killing it (he’s been very great), I feel mostly on top of things, and I really like being Professor Blackburn. Missed the FDG deadline for my first SGD , so retargated to CHIPlay. Doggies are good for emotional wellbeing therapy. Etc. (Read below.)

Weekly Update Breakdown

Accomplishments Since Last Update

  • Research Writing (SDG theory)
    • Completed writing the paper from start to end! Phew! I’m so tired! Lots of refining left to do. We’re aiming for CHIPlay. If we miss we’ll find another venue. It’s a lot of work!
    • I have another paper, a lit review, I’ve already started writing and I am targeting IEEE tog. The good thing about that one is that I can submit anytime the paper is ready. It’s good to have a deadline, but it’s nice to have a paper that I don’t have stress about deadlines for too.
  • Research (Project CODE)
    • I got to lead the meeting last time! That was fun. We went over “How to Read a Paper,” MDA+GFI and FBS frameworks, and discussed gameplay.
  • Teaching
    • First student team presentation went really well.
    • My TA, Joseph Conrad, is killing it. So grateful I got a B.S. English TA. He’s great and keeps up with the class very well.
    • Wrote up Game Design Snacks end of module assignment instructions
    • Feel like I might be on top of things. I maybe spend too much time on the course, but it is fun for me.
  • Dailies
    • Self-Care
      • It’s good to have the get the top two done + 1 more and call it good because that was pretty much every day last week.
      • I didn’t stick to my fitness goals as much as I would have liked, but I still did something most days.
    • Achievement
      • I realized that I wasn’t working on my more focus areas (anything other than my top priorities) because I had no set tasks planned for the for the day like I do for the top ones So I finally wrote down tasks to complete
  • Executive
    • I remembered about Sunday Meetings! I can’t remember exactly how to do them, but I did sit down and write out my Achievement areas, the top goal(s) I want to accomplish in them, and then the tasks I need to do this week. I already have accomplished more this week on my more goals because of this.

Next Week’s Tasks

  • Writing (SDG Theory)
    • Finalize the paper for CHIPlay submission
    • When that is complete, IEEE tog lit review paper 🙂
  • Research (Project CODE)
    • Use the SDG theory to start design of our artifact (we need to get cracking!)
  • Teaching
    • Create/Publish Quiz 4
    • Post Game Design Snacks Instructions
  • Dailies
    • Self-Care
      • Get up at my alarm time and start on self-care right away. (Maybe have the kiddos send me text messages if I’m in my office when they are ready/leaving).
    • Achievement
      • Do my Sunday Meeting and week review with planned daily tasks for each achievement focus area

Speed Bumps & Obstacles

  • Research Writing (SGD theory)
    • I don’t know the deadline for CHIPlay.
    • If we miss CHIPlay, what’s next?
  • Teaching
    • I think I might be spending a little too much time on teaching tasks, but it is really fun for me. I am enjoying it.
  • Executive
    • I don’t recall exactly how to do Sunday Meetings, and Dr. Rogelio mentioned doing a task review, but I don’t remember when/how that is supposed to happen.
  • Puppy Dogs
    • Yesterday I spent more time playing with my dog when I needed to be doing other tasks. She’s just so cute and I wanted to make her happy. Then this morning I spent a good two hours shopping for dog food storage, customizable collars, and other doggie items. Was supposed to be doing teaching tasks… That said, when I was really despondent on Tuesday (after missing the FDG deadline) she was a great emotional support to me. Maybe that’s why I’ve been so distracted??