Ups and Downs and Side to Side

Another week of events and eventfulness

  • Interview preparation: This will probably warrant a longer post all of its own, but for now it’s suffice to say I’m working on preparing to do the next round of interviews. [Although after my supervisory meeting…this has all gone very much on the back burner]
  • Background reading: Read a book on Monday I bought about 4 years ago (Weinberger’s Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder).  May be the award holder for the longest period of time I’ve owned an academic text and not read it!  Good read, and useful background for both my media studies lecturing and the thesis too.  Now I just need to read the other 4 books that are out from the library before Christmas…
  • Graduate School: Notification from the grad school that we ought to be working on our interim report.  I cannot begin to describe how arcane and labyrinthine some of the administration processes associated with being a PGR are.  Honestly if supervisors were held to the same level of accountability I suspect the university would explode into a riot.  Trying to work out how to download the forms alone requires a doctorate (or at least stubbornness) in that the link shared by the grad school takes you to the blank form page; not the pre-populated forms with all the key information in them (that would be too easy!).  Have to download the latest version of the PGR handbook, which tells you to log onto the MyNTU site and access them from there.  Except of course every time I do that…I get an error.  Had this issue at the start of the year when I was re-registering for the year, but gave up worrying as I’d got a confirmation in person I was registered.  But no, still broken in whatever browser I use (and on campus too).  Emailed the IT people to see if they can sort it.  But honestly what an effort just to write a 500 word progress report and plan.
    • Yeah – got it sorted the next day, as it seems my having a staff account has somehow buggered up (my words) my access to these forms.  I have to log on as a staff member to see them, not as a student.  Madness – really not sure why this has happened, but at least I can see the forms.  Which is just as well as I have to write the interim report by 23rd Dec and get my supervisor’s to sign it off.  Suspect that means I need to write in the next two weeks before my lead supervisor goes off on Xmas holidays…
  • Supervisory meeting:  Wasn’t quite the total shellacking I feared it might be, but all the same there was a WHOLE heap of feedback to wade through.  So much so that we had to arrange a second meeting for a week’s time to cover it.  On the whole my last three months have been useful, but I’m not as far through sorting out the theory aspects as I had hoped.  Some serious chapter re-writing needed and I think that’s going to take up the next few weeks.  Sigh.  Also more reading into the autonomous Marxists (especially Gramsci) is needed to flesh this out more.  Beginning to wonder if I’ll ever see the back of this chapter – deeply frustrating.  Guess this means I’m holding off on the interviews again now. 😦
  • Teaching: Held a mock press conference for the Media communication students; which included me wearing a mocked up cop hat (I had a peaked cap in my LARP gear so didn’t take much invention).  It was a good lively session, and some of the students got really into the exercise (huzzah).  Mind you, one team wrote a piece of tabloid journalism that made me giggle – great bit of writing, but boy did I have to remind them of the laws of defamation that we’d covered in the previous week.  The F2F2Facebook class got Freud and Rorschach blots to handle.  My day (week!) was made when one student asked for my slides as she had only really gotten a handle on the topic when I talked about it.  Felt very happy for a few minutes afterwards.  Shame I forgot to take in my hourly pay form to hand in, which means I won’t get paid this month.  I’ll get a big pay cheque in late December instead.  ah well, that’ll pay for Xmas I guess.
    • Also spending a fair amount of time this week dealing with student enquiries from non-attendance.  Notable that this week was the lowest attendance yet at both seminars (~10-12 student in each, so less than 50%).  At least for one of them there was a clash with an international seminar programme briefing, but honestly I do wonder how poor some of the students are going to do in the coursework if this is their attitude this early in the course – week 7 of 24!  Ah well, I guess they could all just be brilliant at the subject already; but going on last year’s coursework marks…I strongly suspect not.
  • Thursdays: never could get the hang of them, and my Thursday (20th) wasn’t great.  Felt exhausted, nudged someone’s car in the car park (no damage but they got shouty), and may have got caught by a speed camera.  Oh yeah…and my supervisory meeting too.  One of those days where I wanted to come home and just hit the reset button on life and go and do something less intellectual taxing with my life.
  • Student Rep: Got notified of the election for student rep on Friday.  Just as well I’d spoken to the graduate tutor last month otherwise this would have been out of the blue.  Given my work loads right now, I mailed the grad office to let them know I’m not going to stand for re-election.  Not that they’ll care one way or another I suspect.  Have to say being a student rep has been a colossal waste of my time, feels like it wasn’t possible to effect any real change and most of the other reps never bothered participating in the discussions (which could have helped unify the reps into an effective force for change).  Drawing a line under the whole sorry mess and moving on I think is the best thing I can do!
  • Library meeting: Was supposed to meet with the library rep on Friday but they couldn’t make it (did warn me ahead of time, which was good).  Wonder if they’ll be ready to meet before I’m no longer rep…
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