Saturday, February 16, 2013

You Know You're an Academic When...

I'm moving up in the world!

Last week, I submitted my very young research to the University of California Transportation Center to present at their upcoming research conference in Los Angeles. AND I GOT IN!

My research is still very young but it boils down to this: Sustainable Transportation Practices in the context of a college institution. Feel free to discuss this with me outside of this blog and over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

This feels like a really ginormous step in my life. People who have never heard of me will soon know me (and hopefully like me) enough to consider me a part of the team, whichever team that may be! The conference is supposed to be only for students in the UC system, but when my Cal professors encouraged me to submit my preliminary research, I figured "Why not?". You only lose by not trying. So I tried. And I got somewhere with it! I also see this as a step forward for Mills and students in MPP, being recognized for work that isn't immediately associated with public policy.

However, with great work comes great responsibility. And the greatest responsibility: finances. I've been a bit concern in the last week, especially with how finances play into this. Two conference fees and transportation fees rack up quickly. Thanks to the Air Force who elected to have my sister station at LA AFB, I have a place to stay and transport around the area. Students from the UCs are able to have their travel and conference fees reimbursed, but who knows if I'll be so lucky? Mills has been facing a financial crisis the last 3(ish) years and the MPP program is also struggling to stay afloat in some respects. I don't expect I'll be reimbursed for this, so I might just set up a fundraiser.

Money aside, this is a fantastic opportunity on so many levels. Transportation! Los Angeles! Other transportation nerds! Bikes! Seeing my sister! Getting my name out there and representing Mills. Even if it's a short presentation alongside a poster of my work, WHO CARES?! Just when I thought things were grim on the job front, this opportunity comes along. And as expected, my habit of linking revealed to me other organizations and job areas I'm considering pursuing*

*And by this, I mean an MUP in Transportation Policy and Planning

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Last of the Last

I have an excuse for this nearly two month delay in posts. It's called family-time-thesis-research-back-to-having-no-life-after-not-having-a-life-to-begin-with. Here's a brief recap on what's happened since I last wrote and what direction I'm heading in now.

I went home.
I went home to San Antonio for a week at Christmas. It was a nice little visit, though I didn't get to do much. A week at home is enough to see all the friends you wanted to see, drink with the family, visit Dad at the office, and not much else. The highlight was, as always, being with my family and joking with my brother. Having friends over for drinks and chocolate cake wasn't too bad either.

I came back to the Bay.
Other than last year when I was in Jerusalem with Cameron, this is the first time I have celebrated New Years Eve not in Texas. I went to a friend's house party where I got to dress up and be very fancy...and was eye-googled by the many low-caliber men that were in attendance. Complete Sausagefest. I'm not a fan of the ladies in the bed department, but I would have faked being gay that night.

I got sick.
As per usual, I did not get a flu shot this season. I'm glad I didn't waste that money since most EVERYONE IN THE COUNTRY got struck with this sickness, even if they got a shot. Though, I'm not entirely certain it was the flu that I caught. I'm pretty sure my sickness was my weak immune system finally giving into the two straight weeks of drinking and cross-country travel. Whatever it was, it put me on my ass in bed for about two weeks. I went through four rolls of toilet paper in a six day period. It was bad.

I got job interviews...and rejection letters

These, I realize, are part of the "Becoming an Adult" process. I applied for an internship with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition (EBBC) doing GIS and mapping for this year's Bike to Work Day. I worked for them last year under a different position and loved the work. While I got the interview, I didn't get the position. Considering I've only been doing GIS for 4 months, it was inevitable that someone else had more experience than me. I also got a rejection letter from the State Auditor's office in Sacramento. This should have come as no surprise, since my writing assessment was absolutely atrocious. My coping mechanism included half a bottle of wine and a hot bath, followed by some irrelevant internet surfing. While it's not my most graceful moment, I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and able to move on. I anticipate I won't have to go through this process again for future rejections.

Other than that, I am on my usual track of writing my master's thesis, (occasionally) riding my bike, fixing other peoples' bikes, and trying to maintain my sanity through various outlets. This semester, despite the gravity of my final project, should not be as bad as last semester and should be manageable. Which means you'll get to hear from me more!

(I promise.)