Thursday, 15 September 2011

I'm just ab-sal-lutely cooked right now. I've been wanting to blog about my grad trip for the longest time - officially 3 weeks, unofficially months - but it's hard to pen the perfect journal when you don't have time. It's now half done, sitting in the drafts of blogger.

Here's a typical outline of my day. Today, I headed out at 0830 to start early so that I could recruit fast food restaurant staff for a study that SMU is doing (details are P&C). It's a pain to talk to fast food restaurant staff (or any eatery staff for that matter) later in the day because there are always going to be customers you're standing in the way of. It's lunch time, it's impossible to talk to fast food restaurant staff anymore, so I make my way down to my office at SMU's School of Social Sciences. I get some coding work done for a professor who's researching the creativity of chocolate design, and intermittently I try and work on my publication. It's 2.45pm. I decide to give the recruitment task another go, and manage to pique the interest of some staff to participate. No word of commitment though, so I'm left to "okay, just drop an email to the address on the paper when you've decided," so I'll just have to wait for their email later. It's 3.15pm, so I rush down to School of Business for the negotiation class I'm doing teaching assistantship for. I try doing research assistantship work while being a teaching assistant. Class ends at 1845. I head back to my office at School of Social Sciences. Time to take a break from work - so I spend two and a half hours crafting out emails to prospective mentors (prospective grad students like me need to send these emails out to acquire the interest of professors who will then look out a little more for your graduate school application). I give myself a crash course on their work and research interests, eventually sending out three emails. Two of them reply, so I reply to their replies. It is about ten o' clock at night. Spurred by hunger, I head home, but decide to take the long 147 bus ride (50 minutes) instead of the train (30-35 minutes), so that I can get some video coding work done on the bus. I reach my home bus stop at 2315, and make a stop at my favourite prata shop to packet nasi goreng ikan bilis home. I finish dinner while checking my email, take a shower and now here I am at midnight wondering if I should continue working or head to bed, since I'm heading out early tomorrow morning again to repeat the recruitment process.

Of course, this isn't literally typical - the details change. But for about a month now, the work has been quite crazy, so I'm really looking forward to my Behavioural Sciences Institute (BSI) employment come October. For legal purposes, I'll have to wean myself off all these disparate (and very numerous) RAships and TAships so that I'm clean for full time work as a researcher for BSI. While the per hour pay that I'm getting now for all that RA work has been good so far, it's just not sustainable because the work is really random and both too little (won't add up to a substantially liveable amount) and too much (really) at the same time.

On the other hand, the email sending so far has been pretty good I think. I have been getting very positive and welcoming replies. Of course, one could really argue that these professors are returning templated emails to me; even I suspect that sometimes, especially when they do not bother starting with any address to me, such as "Dear Jose". But at least they aren't just instant-deleting my mail or sending back negative templated emails, so I'll take that as a good start. I sent my first email out on the 7th of September and, 9 days on, I've sent out a total of 8 emails. It gets easier and easier each time.

I think I'll call it a day here. Once October comes the proper blogging catch up can begin.

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