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The best laid plans of mice and men… September 4, 2017

Posted by mareserinitatis in research, teaching, work.
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It’s the beginning of the new school year, and I decided my blog has been left neglected too long.

That, however, was the thought I had in early August, when I was in the middle of putting together a lab for the fall semester.  I therefore wasn’t in a good place to be writing.

I figured that, this semester, I’d have more time.  That was before a couple weeks ago.  In addition to teaching two new classes, I somehow ended up on faculty senate for the next year (along with a committee as part of that responsibility). I decided to continue my involvement with a committee I was on last year and ended up as chair.  And then I found out that I would be coordinating a search committee for a couple new faculty members.

My chair asked me how that happened.  I shrugged.  Best laid plans and all that…

There was also a CFP for a journal I’d like to submit to.  I have until December to write something up.

It’s a lot to do, but it also has been enjoyable in a way my previous job wasn’t.  I liked doing research, but when that’s all you’re doing, it’s a lot of time working alone or with a select group of people.  I always looked forward to teaching my class of freshmen in the fall just because it got me out and talking to people, which was a great way to break up the monotony.  While talking to myself was a great way to do some problem solving, I would get bored with my own company after a while.

I definitely have a lot of opportunities to be interacting with people now, so there’s little chance it will become monotonous.  At least, not until next summer.

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The first week September 5, 2016

Posted by mareserinitatis in career, education, engineering, work.
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I finished my first week teaching in my new institution, and I have to say it was very strange.

I started college at a small university, but it had twice as many graduate students as undergrads, and it was in the middle of a large metropolitan area.  While the campus wasn’t huge, it was relatively busy.  I finished my undergrad at a mid-size state school, but the department I was in was tiny.  I had very small upper-level classes but most of my generals were in very large classes, one even having about 500 students. For my MS, I switched to one of the largest departments, which was a jolt.  While my classes weren’t huge (15-20 per class in the grad program), there were a lot of people around and pace and flavor of the department was far less intimate.  There were people in the building nearly 24 hours. For the PhD, I was in a very large state university in a big city but in a small department.  Even so, my classes typically had at least 20 people in them.  At all of these places, it seemed like, at least during the school year, the pace was hectic and there were a lot of people always around.  I always felt like I was busy.

Now I’m in a new department (I’m one of two faculty) in a small liberal arts college in a small town.  The feel is completely different.  The classes are smaller, and the students always seem to be off at class.  The campus quad is usually quiet, unlike the last place (the really big university in the middle of city).  At the big school, people would eat lunch while listening to the Christian hippy-looking fellow standing on a ladder in front of the library, preaching fire and brimstone or playing inspirational music and singing slightly out of tune.  Other students would be playing frisbee or football.  Now I mostly see people walking from one building to the other (usually on the sidewalks!), with the occasional line coming out of the student center because everyone decided to grab lunch at the same time.

While I’m kind of surprised by the quietness, I am also enjoying the lack of everything feeling so hectic.  My colleagues generally seem to be laid back, the students are mostly pleasant and polite.  Everyone is getting things done, but no one seems to be running around all frantic and the campus doesn’t feel like a beehive.

Of course, it’s early in the semester; I’ll have to revisit this train of thought in December.

Writing about writing February 16, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, research, writing.
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I won’t apologize for not updating regularly.  I will, however, say I miss it.

I’ve been doing a lot of writing again, and I’m finding that it leaves me with very little to say.  I can’t really write about what I’m writing about in any sort of entertaining fashion.  Well, I suppose I could complain, but who wants to read that?

In the past month, I’ve had to write a short proposal and put together a presentation, significantly edit a previously written long proposal to submit someplace else, and then write a conference paper.  I’m hoping I get at least one of these so I can tell you about it, but for now, I’m still waiting.  Heck, I’m still waiting on the proposals I wrote last October.

I suppose I could write about how much I hate waiting, but it would be a very short post.  Even shorter than this one.

Because I really don’t have time for a proper post March 29, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in education, engineerblogs.org, Fargo, pets, teaching.
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I have lots of thoughts, but no time and am in need of sleep. Therefore, enjoy the following bullet points.

• Head over to EngineerBlogs.org and check out the theme for the week: networking.

• During my commute and exercise, I’ve been listening to the book Brain Rules. I honestly believe everyone who is a teacher of any age group ought to read this book. In particular, some of you know that we recently moved the younger boy to a new school. A major problem that we were trying to make clear is that removing recess from his schedule if he failed to complete an assignment was NOT a good way to handle the problem and may, in fact, be counter productive. The book vindicates my stance on this. I will probably write out more once I’ve finished the book.

• I discovered today that it is possible to be productive and have several meetings in a single day. Color me stunned.

• Three more days before Gigadog arrives.

• I’ve discovered that playing violin soon after one gets braces is really not pleasant. My teeth aren’t too happy with my right now.

• The Red River hit flood stage today. Wish us luck. I’m drawing up plans for an ark. If you’d like to see current levels and predictions, you can look here: http://bit.ly/f9qR1q

• The schedule is more hectic than usual this week, but normal posting should return around the weekend. I’ll try to post something, but if not, you know what’s going on. Thanks for hanging in there.

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