Monthly Archives: December 2013

1 Year

ernestos chair

What a difference a year makes! A friend sent this picture to me a couple of weeks ago to remind me of where I was and where I am now. It’s been a really cool year. I started it in Memphis, TN, working at a job that I didn’t love and not really sure what I should do next. I would often sit in that exact chair and try to figure out what I should be doing, or just complain about the workplace frustrations that we all experienced. A year ago, I still hadn’t finished my application to grad school at Virginia Tech (let’s be real, I hadn’t started it yet).

Since then, I have quit my first job, moved to Virginia, and finished my first semester as a PhD student. I’ve made a lot of new friends and had to leave old ones. I bought a plane ticket to Colombia on a whim with a friend of a friend as my only in-country support. I fought my first battle against a roach infestation and moved into my first solo apartment. I experienced great sadness and great joy. Overall, it’s been a good year.

Now, looking towards 2014, there’s a lot to be excited about. I’ll be moving out of my (roach infested) apartment to a different one with a walk-in closet. I got a new bike and am so excited about learning a new skill and hobby.

2013-12-23 20.20.02

Lastly, I just found out that I will be doing research this summer in Nottingham, UK for 7 weeks. (This was the big news that I was waiting for that I mentioned in an earlier post.) I can’t wait to explore a new city!

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Audio Book Recommendations?

It is approximately 10 hours of driving for me to get home for the holidays. With all of that driving, I’ve been trying to come up with a good audio book (or multiple books) worth listening to. Singing in the car while I drive is all well and good, but eventually you lose your voice (or your sanity).

What recommendations do y’all have?


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I’m still here!

To my loyal blog readers, I offer my most sincere apology for slacking on the blogging front. Can you ever forgive me? It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the end of semester craziness.

So what have I been doing? A quick look through my planner shows that I’ve spent a fair amount of time turning in end-of-semester assignments, planning Christmas presents, and most time consuming – apartment hunting. I’ve come to the realization that I have too much space that costs too much money, and it’s a little too far away from campus. Luckily, as of yesterday I have found myself a new apartment! Not only is it cheaper, but it’s closer to campus. It’s actually literally across the street from campus. Let’s compare commute distance:

old drive

My Old Drive

Now you may be thinking, “Missie, 3.2 miles is a fabulous commute! What are you talking about?!” However, somehow the city of Blacksburg takes this 3.2 mile/9 min commute and turns it into a 30-45 minute saga, especially when parking is involved. I thought Mississippi State had problems with parking, but it was nothing compared to this!

new drive

New and improved commute – I can walk!

That’s right, folks. It will actually be quicker for me to walk to campus than it was for me to drive! But I still have 8 more months in this apartment…so I guess I shouldn’t get too terribly excited yet.

Because I know I’ll be moving, I’ve invested a little bit of time in getting rid of stuff that I don’t need. I’ve been selling a bunch of yarn stuff that I had stockpiled, which is always exciting. I like to clear some space for new crocheted goodies! Life lesson: it is significantly easier to sell hats, headbands, and scarves when it’s actually cold outside.

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My only other big news isn’t really news, but it could be! (This is called a cliff hanger.) I have an interview tomorrow morning that is really important to me, so if you get a chance to send me some good vibes around 8 AM (EST), I would really appreciate it!


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My First Class

Wow! I can’t believe I let almost a month slip by since I last posted. I knew I had been slacking when I started getting threatening emails from my regular readers (ahem, Ernesto) telling me I needed to update my blog. I just had no idea it had been that long. Sorry about that! It has been quite busy. Soon, I’ll give a brief recap of my Thanksgiving break, but this post is dedicated to an exciting event…

Yesterday, I got to teach my first class! I’ve filled in for a couple of lectures as a TA in the past, but the notes and slides were handed to me. This was the first lecture that I have ever given where I had to do all of the preparation.

After a semester of discussing ways to engage the students, it was both exciting and intimidating to take a stab at it myself. I filled 45 minutes with a mere 13 slides (I never thought that would happen) full of questions and 2 major activities. Most of you probably don’t care for the nitty gritty, but the topic was Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) and Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA). One of the other really exciting things was that these topics were covered on my final exam today, so it helped me study too. I love killing two birds with one stone!

I think the class went well. I had some good involvement from the students, and got generally good feedback from a student and the normal professor. After all of the nerves and anticipation, it really wasn’t that scary. I could do that for a living!

A good friend asked me to take a picture of my first real class. I didn’t think I would actually teach my own lecture at the time, but in honor of this request, I present to you a picture of my students:

Creeping on my students


I thought it would be a little bit awkward to take a picture from the front of the classroom, so this was the best that I could do.


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