Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Just some updates...

I'm right in the middle of working on some things (trying to feel productive for the day as I spent most of it incapacitated work wise) so I thought I would take a break and throw some updates on here while I'm thinking about it. Some of it is actually kinda exciting while some might make you think, okay Brittany you could have saved your time typing that, but sometimes it makes me feel better to get things out on here rather than bothering people (face to face) with it.

Update Number 1: Research is actually going pretty smoothly right now - the only thing left to do for the industry phase is get all the notifications together for the trial runs that we will be starting next week. I feel like I should have had this done by now but then I think about all the other things I've been working on simultaneously and the fact that it's just past midterms I feel a little better. We've already got three people officially scheduled next week and if worse comes to worse we can always start off with some of the notifications we used in the earlier trial runs until we can get more set up. I also need to do another test on our remote server with Camtasia for screen recording to make sure we're ready for remote trial runs as well. We initially tried using the free version, CamStudio, but we wound up having difficulties when we tried recording longer session (over 5-10 minutes). Being that our sessions will be at least 30 minutes, we definitely need something more reliable. One of our faculty advisors, Dr. Sarah Heckman, recommended Camtasia so here we are. If this works out and we can get some good notifications (that we can give scientific explanations for choosing) then we're cooking with hot oil and ready for the next steps! :D

Update Number 2: I am working on my NSF Fellowship application and in the process realizing that my previous essays were not too great. They weren't bad, but they definitely weren't as good as they could have been. I'm trying to get a head start on preparing them so that I can have plenty of time to proofread them (and have others look over them) before the submission deadline. I've finished my Previous Research essay and have passed it on to my advisor to proofread/give feedback. I'm not working on my Personal Statement which I plan to have done by the end of the week so I can get started on my Research Proposal and have that done by the end of next week (Oct. 22) giving me a couple weeks to finalize any thing before final submission November 13. Now the trick is to just stick to the plan...

Update Number 3 (although this should have been number 1!): I am a Godmother!! :D My cousin Andrea has been pregnant for what seems like forever and finally had her baby yesterday around 1:30 - Noah Mykel 7lbs 9oz.

This would be him and I at the hospital yesterday :)...I was so nervous to hold him I was sweating bullets (my first time holding a NEWLY new born). I had to make sure to wash my hands and everything. But he's so calm and handsome and happy and it makes me smile. I can't wait to watch him grow! :D

Update Number 4: The state fair starts tomorrow and I already have tickets! :D I would prefer to go during a weekday since it's less crowded but the beauty of already having tickets is A) I have freewill to choose whatever day I want to go, B) I won't have to wait in insane lines/pay insane prices for tickets to get into a gate, and C) did I mention they were cheaper?? Either way I'm super excited - especially since one of my old friends are trying to come down to go as well! Should be pretty awesome.

Well I guess it's back to productivity...until next time... <3

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Time to get back at it!

Hello again - I know I said I would try to do better about updating my blog...and this is another attempt at re-starting an ongoing trend of updating my blog AT LEAST once a week. I have a few minutes right now as I just finished taking a test and am in much need a 'brain break'. What better way to have a 'brain break' than to update my blog with all the interesting things you all have missed? :)

Anywho, first order of business is to say that of course, school is back in session and BOOMING. I am taking 9 credit hours, but only 6 are actual courses (3 are research credits); Database Management Systems and Object Oriented Languages and Systems. Fortunately, despite the workload, I am enjoying my classes and the material being taught in them (and they kind of go hand in hand conceptually so it's a plus for me!). I am also (for the first time) the PI, or Principal Investigator, for a research study and am working with a new Ph.D. student (Jim Shepherd). He also got a liberal arts degree so we have become somewhat of kindred souls in our research endeavours. Being Principal Investigator basically means I'm the one responsible for orchestrating the logistics of the study; fortunately I have Jim, my co-PI, and two awesome faculty advisors (Dr. Emerson Murphy-Hill and Dr. Sarah Heckman) to work with, which makes much less stressful. I should have a link to my website somewhere on here (and if I don't I should) where the details of my previous and current research are kept - this too is slightly out of date but I'm working on it :). As papers are written and results are gathered, I will be posting study artifacts and knick knacks to my website. I will also, as I said, be attempting to keep my blog up to date with cool findings and random "brainstorming" sessions (among other cool related research stuff).

Of course school is keeping me busy, but my plan for this year is to try and change things up. I'm one of those people who always re-evaluates everything I do to see what can be made more efficient. To start, I'm on a new schedule. No more up until 3 am (well, not as often) and no more sleeping until noon. Everyday, up by 8-9 I am in bed by 10-11...notice I use time gaps - I know I'm not perfect and this is my way of giving myself "breathing room". I'm working on being consistent in how I allot my time during the day, but I already feel much more productive just because I have the day to get things done. I also figured since I have an increased workload with me also being a member/officer of WiCS (Women in Computer Science) so I should allow more time in my day for my busy schedule. Maybe it would make more sense to not do as much, but I like getting involved. I get to meet awesome people and have awesome experiences to remember and talk about. If there is one thing I would recommend, as a matter of fact, is to get involved. Find your passion (as I've found mine), because it really is the best feeling in the world, even when it gets hard (and trust me, it will get hard).

Now after that tangent, the point is, I want to be the best me I can be and there are things I definitely need to do to make that happen (working on my diet, and exercise is next -- happy body =  happy mind). Especially since I plan to do my preliminary doctoral exam at the end of the year (yikes!). I have a technical interview workshop I'm going to tonight and plenty of research work to catch up on, and of course we can't forget my coursework. It's a lot, but I love it and it's my motivation. And right now it's motivating me to end this blog entry so that I can get back to my work!

Until next time! :)