Wednesday, October 18, 2006

4 AM

Have I wrote about 4 AM before? How much I love 4 AM? My dad told me once that there are certain brain waves or concentration waves or something that peak at 4 AM and so that if you get up at that time, your mind is very alert.

I tried to confirm this, but so far have not been able to. At least not from any google-research I did. But, according to my own personal experience, it is in fact true. 4 AM is a magical time. Just to clarify, I'm not talking about staying up until 4 AM -- I'm a morning person, not a night person. So I mean getting up at that time.

Last semester, I wrote many, many drafts of a book chapter (which will be published in a textbook!) at 4 AM. It was the only time I could concentrate on it.

There's something sneaky about getting up while everyone else is sleeping. There are no distractions, no expectations of you...and you can just work. I even figured out how to make my coffee maker do that automated thing, so my coffee is ready when I get up at 4. Although, I don't really need the caffiene, because even without it, I'm focused! If I'm finished up by 6 AM, I sneak back into bed and when I wake up at 7, it seems like all that work was just a dream.

This semester has been kicking my butt in the pure amount of work and things I'm juggling. The good thing is that the semester is NOT kicking my butt emotionally. I was stressing a little before bed last night, and Jesse said he thinks I've been working the hardest this semester and complained the least. So that's good. I'm not agonizing anymore (see past blogs). I'm not lacking motivation like I usually do. I'm just trying to keep up my stamina. A lot of people say getting a PhD is really an endurance test. I can see that now...

One thing that makes me happy are my dogs though! Sake is just so crazy and cute. She drives me insane sometimes, but then you look at it her...and you just have to smile. She has been obsessed with stealing things from the bathroom lately. For awhile it was the toliet brush (gross!) until we figured out how to keep that away from her. Then I discovered her in the living room with a roll of toliet paper. It was just so funny I had to take a picture before scolding her.

Also, I got a new haircut -- well about a month ago. But for those of you who are reading this from far away, here's a picture. I had to take it myself using the timer feature on my camera, so I look a little hunched over.

Well, this post was random. I'm trying to finish things up thing tonight so I can be ready for my 4 AM date with my coffee maker and my paper for ICA. Ah, the life of a grad student...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Thinking ahead

You know what's strange? I'm working on a paper to submit to a conference. The conference isn't until next summer, but the submission deadline is November 1st. The reason this is important is because I want a job in 2008. Hence I have to write the paper now in 2006 for a conference presentation in 2007 so I can attract potential employers for a job I need two years from now!

I'm trying to keep that perspective in mind and realize yes, this paper is important. But the rewards and consequences of it seem a long way off. Not really a case of instant gratification, is it?