Saturday, January 29, 2011

Whistler has an occupational crisis again

Okay readers! What kind of job would I be good at and actually like?

I have been thinking about this lately since I have discovered that I don't want to be a professor. I hate going to conferences, I don't particularly like teaching composition, and I'm terrible at writing long papers. Why the heck was I even in my grad program? I don't know. I think it was because I usually like reading and I think it's entertaining to discuss ideas. Writing itself is not loathsome to me, but at this point in time I find that I am so not proficient at academic writing that it is very discouraging. Every other week I want to drop out of the program, knowing that my thesis is not going to affect anyone deeply and that it is causing me so much stupid mental anguish.

I also know that I don't like working closely with mentally ill individuals, especially where their children are involved. I don't even like working with mentally healthy individuals that much. I also hate meetings that do not have a specific purpose or are for the sake of having meetings (several church callings and past jobs come to mind). I get impatient with people who don't read written material I have presented to them.

Okay, so we know what I don't like. What do I like doing? I like working with data. I don't mind a little data entry as long as I get to do something with it too, even if it is just reading it. I like organizing data. I like researching things online; "things" here means "what are the best PS2 games for learning Japanese," not "what is the definition of postmodernism." I like my current research job of reading/skimming articles and deciding which ones are relevant to the project. I don't think I could handle doing it all day though. I also like the idea of things being efficient. When I worked at the Counseling Center, I liked the idea that we were trying to figure out if therapy was actually working for our clients, even if the questionnaire we were using was biased towards depressed individuals. I also really like what and okaycupid do with the data from their websites; that is, they use it to help other users understand how the world works and find better matches for their customers.

I'm also really interested in educational games, specifically, language learning games. I think that it is possible for a game to teach a language through natural methods along with drills (drills are easy to make; nicely scaffolded learning is not. I think we can make a game that is like what Lingua Latina is to book language learning: completely immersive but comprehensible at the same time). I don't know a lick of programming, but the part that interests me is actually how this would be done conceptually. I think it would be interesting to study the best ways to learn a language (cognition, psychology, pedagogy, neuroscience, whatever) and then transform that into a fun game. Does such a job exist? I'm interested/disillusioned by pedagogy in general, but for language learning especially.

What do Myers-Briggs have to say about it? Every time I've taken that test (as fallible as tests are) I have been an INTJ. I think I've softened over time, but I really am an introvert and I really like things to be planned and organized. My spice shelves are alphabetized and I wish I could alphabetize my kitchen utensils, for instance. When I read an editorial from an international student complaining about how expensive food was on campus, I thought "bring a lunch from home!" (Empathy isn't my strong point.) INTJs are supposedly good computer programmers, engineers, librarians, or natural scientists. I agree that my personality is suited to working with data and computers, and maybe talking to people about said data. I'm also interested in how we can make things like teaching and working be more efficient (how much Facebook time helps with productiveness and how much it doesn't and how one would solve that problem).

Knowing all this, what kind of job do you think I would enjoy?

Monday, January 03, 2011


Jan - Started my 2nd semester of grad school and teaching at 8 am. Adam and I started thinking about marriage and I think we ate out a lot.

Feb - I made chocolate truffles for Adam for Valentine's Day. He was really sick (not because of the truffles). I went on a road trip to Flagstaff, AZ, where I presented a paper on Calvin and Hobbes and was unimpressed with other presentations.

March - Adam proposed with chocolates. I dropped out of accelerated Spanish to work on wedding plans.

April - I finished up the semester. I got a good grade on a paper I wrote the night before and a less-good
grade on a paper I did tons of what I felt was original research on and I felt betrayed by the academic system. My experimental section of English 150 was not accepted. I also had one really disgruntled student review which was discouraging. My family visited for Easter and met my in-laws and Adam. Adam had a birthday... I got him an encyclopedia of cooking.

May - I think I worked on wedding stuff and beat Chrono Trigger, and I took one graduate course. I wrote a pretentious paper on authorial insertion in text-based adventure games.

June - I GOT MARRIED. Can't remember much else. It was really hot in my apartment and it was very nice that Adam's had air conditioning.

July - Went on a honeymoon (mostly to a castle in Washington and the bay area). I wrote probably 200 thank-you notes and tried to organize everything (taking stuff back we didn't need, using up giftcards, putting pictures on the wall, etc.).

August -  We went to San Diego with my family and I loved boogie boarding. I got a little bored afterwards and played some Okami and did some weeding. I decided to write my thesis on Portal rather than some obscure text-based adventure game that no one has ever heard of. I lost a lot of weight over the summer (maybe I need to eat bigger lunches?) and never really gained it back.

September - I started a new semester studying bookbinding and Japanese (and that one last class for my grad coursework). I taught another computer-intensive Writing 150 course. I got my committee to approve my prospectus but I think it still hasn't been officially filed.

October - We had mice and it stressed us out a bit. I turned 23 and Adam's mom made me a fantastic Portal cake. We went to Adam's sister's for Halloween, which was fun. I think we started our Starcraft 2 practices around this time.

November - I was really glad to have Thanksgiving break. I read a lot of manga and played DS games while still going to classes and stuff.

December - Grading wasn't as torturous as I feared and we had a real Christmas tree! I lost my steam for finals and I think I might just be getting a little burnt out (so I'll be auditing most of my classes this semester). I enjoyed visiting my family for Christmas. I also found it a little weird that I took my stocking back home with me. I gave most of my family blank books that I made and I put Christmas elves everywhere.