Tag Archives: thoughts

Podcasts and Platforms

It’s so difficult to come to grips with that fact that you DON’T have endless time over the summer. Summer reading lists that would have taken me two weeks during school now just . . . never happen. Or at least don’t happen within the bounds of what one would call ‘summer’. Particularly when you start a new (old) job in an industry that you’re passionate about and want to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible. Particularly when said job involves reading. Lots and lots of reading. 

This past summer vanished in a cloud of re-organization, work, and planning the biggest party of my adult life: our wedding. And I knew I liked organizing things and I knew that I was a bit type A, but I had no idea how much until I decide to turn the organization of my life around while also planning this huge event from across the ocean. I’m increasingly fascinating by how people (adults) make major financial decisions, how/where/when they invest their money, how you budget and for what, etc. I think I’m at the point where ‘adulthood’ is a significantly more complex concept to me. 

I’ve been listening (religiously) to Grace Bonney’s podcast After the Jump (have I mentioned this?) which is geared towards small business owners in the craft/style industry. But I find the podcast to be really applicable to my life overall, how I want to operate, and how I want to present myself to the professional world. Not only do I obsessively buy/download the apps recommended (currently loving: vscocam, timeful, the ministry of silly walks [last not recommended on After the Jump]) and enjoy her interviews with interesting makers, but I really respond to her more personal episodes about managing stress and creating a better work-life balance. But the really great episodes that I listen to over and over again are the episodes about branding and communicating that brand via social media. 

It’s very evident, and at this point long-discussed, that the recent generations will have a work history that is very different from that of their parents and grandparents. Where my father worked at the same company, in its various iterations, for 30 some-odd years. Most of my friends within the working world have had at least two jobs in the last five years and this is not at all uncommon. I think that this aspect, along with the way we communicate and share our lives via the internet, means that EVERYONE is a small business in some way or another. At least, thinking that way works for me. I think we all have a personal brand communicated through our instagrams, twitters, facebooks, and whatever other platforms we choose to use. It’s very apparent that potential employers search their candidates, so the thought that our digital content doesn’t affect our hire-ability/overall person is pretty naive. 

I don’t think that this means that everything on every social media platform should be upbeat and positive; on the contrary, I think (tastefully) revealing adversity and how you overcome it can be just as helpful as trumpeting your successes. Nor do I think this means that everyone should plan every moment of their life and how they will showcase these moment, to a degree that your entire life is a facade. I just think that it’s better to view social media as something that’s purpose is to broadcast and share in a total, professional/creative sense than just a ‘this is fun!’ thing. 

It’s still something I’m working out, and maybe (probably) it’s just what works for me. I don’t really think that I have the solution for EVERYONE in the WORLD. Something to ponder, though.

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Check Availability

Lots of radio silence. Lots of being unsure of quite what to say. Lots of trying to settle in to a new routine, to stretch intellectual muscles that were starting to fall out of use. Orchestrating days in the library, days in the archive, days at work, trying to find the time to go to seminars, and have a social life at the same time. Mind you, I was never under the illusion that this was going to be easy . . . indeed, told quite forcibly to the contrary. 

So now instead of grocery shopping or whatever I did on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays I’m now chained to a microfilm machine, wrangling spools of film between two sheets of glass so that I may have the privilege of deciphering 17th century handwriting on a lit-up screen. Because while everyone blathers on about open access (they’re not blathering, and I do want to come up with some sort of informed response that will likely end up here), there are still some archives where no amount of credentials will get you inside! And when you say “BUT BUT?!” they say “oh no, don’t worry, we’ve magnanimously put our entire archive on microfilm.” Yes. Thank you for not digitizing when the ability appeared. Because my fine-tuned knowledge of how to shimmy around a microfiche machine will do me SO MUCH GOOD in the future. But I should count myself lucky. There’s nothing worse than hunting down a primary source, going to the library, trying to request the item, and the dreaded signs flashing up on the screen in mocking red underlined text.

‘Check Availability’

Because it’s not bad enough that accidental fire, purposefully fire, accidental rips, purposefully rips, accidental re-use, PURPOSEFUL re-use, misplacement, and just the general ravages of TIME make a historians’ life difficult. Of course not. There’s the added bonus of bureaucracy, of the jealous guarding of bits of paper and illegible scratchings of ink. Of this is MINE, and we don’t need anyone else figuring out anything else about us, thank you very much. And it’s such an interesting thing to navigate . . . piecing together what you see with what you can’t see, for one reason or another. Figuring out what the missing bits mean. In a way, that’s where you get to play a bit (within the realm of logic, of course).

More thoughts to come . . . hopefully it will become a bit more cerebral. Who really knows.

probably more food, too.

 

 

 

the Lakes

As I slip further and further into the abyss of attempting to write with a looming deadline, I find it harder and harder to disconnect from myself and my own worries. E-mails to friends wait longer and longer in my inbox, and it’s harder and harder to set aside my own stresses to focus on someone else’s. It’s easier to just throw up my hands and say that nobody understands, not even my friends that are doing the exact same thing. Hardly adult behavior.

Continue reading the Lakes

Study

I wish I had something interesting to tell you. I wish that I were doing something exciting or going someplace wonderful. But I’m not, I’m just here studying, as usual. Reading, highlighting, etc. Trying to understand economic history, which I have no interest in whatsoever.

It’s getting increasingly chilly here in London. I’d appreciate it if the weather would shine it on for 10 more days until my winter coat arrives, but it doesn’t seem like it will. It’s been a banner week for my woolens . . . sweaters, thick socks, knit hats and scarves. My trip to the Senate House Library yesterday was done like this:

The shirt I’m wearing is from GAP about 2 years ago and it is the most comfortable thing in the world. It’s from the men’s department, of course, as all very warm and well-made things are. It looks overlarge when just left out so I tucked it in (a rarity for me). Add a pair of knee socks and my very warm knit scarf and I survived the elements (and the library, which was itself rather chilly).

It’s been very difficult, with school, trying to do not only the required reading for courses (and by proxy think of something marginally brilliant to say) but to at the same time reserve a corner of your brain for the papers that will be written at the end of term. Because these aren’t just research papers they’re asking for. You can’t just read a boatload of secondary sources and report on what other people say. These are argument papers; you have to come up with something relevant, something interesting. Therein lies the difficulty; to find a question worth answering.

In other news, I think Keaton is taunting me.

outfit details:

jeans: levis
top: GAP
scarf: knit by myself

Ruminations of a most Serious Nature

Today is the second day of classes, and the fourth day of October. October rose hot and dry in London, but with a sudden blustery wind that rattled and rustled the piles of brown leaves that manifested seemingly overnight. The blustery wind has brought a gray clouds and a chill that will only get chillier as the days wear on and I could not be more thrilled. This change of weather is immediately reflected in the sweaters (jumpers) and knits that swaddled the masses as we walked, trudged, and meandered to our various destinations.

This morning/afternoon I sat in a coffee shop relatively near my campus (not starbucks!) and read. I’ve befriended the baristas, I think. They cheered to hear that I’ve completed my UK banking beginnings, and my favorite girl there grabs my books to see what I read (a student of history herself).

Today in class our Professor asked us some very thought-provoking questions, which is terrifying because it has been awhile since my thoughts have been provoked in an academic capacity. And when I say thought-provoking, I mean thoughts. Big ones, relating to Life, and your Goals. We were being a bit waffling in our answers, finding shortcuts and side alleys to avoid being wrong (terrifying prospective to anyone). Of course he called us out on it. As historians, it is our job to take a stand, to make an argument. Otherwise, why are we historians? What do we have to say? WHO am I, as a historian?

“You must be doing this for more than just, it’s what you’re good at” he said to us.

And I really don’t know why I’m doing history necessarily, why I’m doing early modern history even LESS so. And he asked us, essentially, to do some soul searching and find the answer because we’ve now crossed the barrier from accepting the words we read as fact and regurgitating them. Now we are postgraduates. Read analytically, critically. Question. Judge. And boy, do we have readings to do.

I research and read history because it is what interests me, because viewing the world in a historical context opens your eyes to a technicolor, multi-layered existence. I study history because we are informed by the past, but we cannot repeat it. History is not cyclical. I study early modern history because it is the foundation of our society, rather than the precursor. I study history because I have something of value to say, to incite further discussion in my field.

Beyond that . . . well, I’ll keep you posted.

Outfit details:

cardigan: Madewell circa 2011
tank: target circa 2011
jeans: levis circa 2011
boots: River Island circa 3 weeks ago
Glasses (perscription glasses, thank you very much): Gant circa 2011

excuse my hair, it looks like poo because my bangs (fringe) are in that heinous growing out stage where there’s nothing to be done about them.