Saturday, February 17, 2018

52. Research and Projects Update: February 2018

This weekend I am finishing up my last two papers in completion of the last class in my B.A. of Business Administration degree. I've been pursuing this degree since 2016 and, now that I'm finished, I've been asked: what's next?

Well, more of what I'm already doing; that's what is next. I plan to continue working as full time faculty at my current university. The goal of this degree was not necessarily a career change. The goal of the degree was to improve my photography and freelance writing business, to learn new skills that are still applicable to a career in higher education, and to have a "back up" in case something undesirable happens to my current situation.

That being said, I WILL have more time to dedicate to other things, and my main focus will be on my novel writing, my scholarly research, and on projects that are life-affirming. Before all of this starts up though, I'll be taking a much deserved break, maybe even a month long break from working 9am - 10pm, Monday-Saturday. I am going to enjoy some nights and weekends "off" and watch movies and binge read books. I am going to garden, and spend time training my dogs new tricks. I am going to deep clean and get to know my new home better. I might even do a little shopping and see friends.

With that in mind, here are the projects I'm currently working on.

1. The Leader in Me research project
This is actually two scholarly projects. I'm working with a colleague doing a study on the Leader in Me program and teacher attitudes in K12 school systems. On my own, I'm working on a project investigating how the Leader in Me principles could be applied in a higher education setting.

2. Google Tools in the K12 classroom research project
A colleague and I are doing research on how using Google tools in a reading and writing classroom affects literacy and critical thinking in K12 students.

3. Exiting Human Trafficking research project
I'm conducting a research study that investigates factors that lead human trafficking victims to make the decision to attempt escaping their situation.

4. Jessica Jones and Bibliotherapy research project
I am in the revising stage of a paper written making the case for using the Jessica Jones comics in a bibliotherapy context for trauma treatment.

5. Milennials in Higher education paper
This is a paper in the process of being published. The paper explores developmental psychology concepts and millennials and how these ideas interplay with higher education today.

6. My novel
I have been away from my novel for far too long. This is going to be one of my top priorities. I want to get through these revisions and then start querying agents.

7. My freelance writing
This is an ongoing project involving creating writing samples, pitching articles, and then managing things from there. I will continue doing what I have been; I'll just have more time to dedicate to this.

8. Business planning
I'm going to continue working on my strategic plan for my photography business.

9. Butterfly Gardening
I'd like to make my little garden a Monarch Waystation. This will just take time and care.

10. Physical Therapy
I've been experiencing higher levels of pain more regularly lately. I think a more regimented physical therapy routine will help with this.

So those are the projects and my plans after graduation. A lot of the same and just shifting my use of time around.



Sunday, February 4, 2018

51. The Ableist Concept of Spending Money on Experiences

We've all heard it:


You should spend your money on "experiences," not "things!" [accompanied by a judgmental eye role].

Minimalism is the best way to live!

All of these phrases function on an underlying assumption that buying and enjoying material things is inherently bad, bordering on immoral, while blowing money on experiences like travel, live shows, and high energy, especially physical events is a much better way to live. 

But here's the rub: that's an entirely ableist perspective. 

Some people can't travel without spending lots of money on extra plane seats for medical equipment, extra money on private hotel rooms rather than group rooms at hostels, or extra days off work to recover after the traveling. Are these people supposed to live a spartan lifestyle to save money for extremely expensive trips that might end up an unfathomably miserable experience despite careful planning and extra suitcases full of meds? 

No. Absolutely not. 

And this is why I've let go of my world-traveling ambitions. Small, well planned trips when the money allows? For sure! But I am not going to live a minimalist lifestyle in favor of experiences that might end up being loathsome experiences and possibly do long-term damage to my health and well being. 

That being said, I have embraced enjoying "things" in the day-to-day. I see nothing wrong with choosing to spend money on cosmetics, plants, and home decor if I'm going to spend 90% of my life at home. I see nothing wrong with wanting nice things, if I'm going to spend the majority of my life surrounded by and using those things. 

Not everyone can get out and go sky diving. Not everyone has a great time at an outdoor concert with limited accessibility. And for those people, choosing things over experiences should not be perceived as a character flaw. We're not being materialistic. We're not wasting our money. 

Buying, enjoying, and celebrating things over experiences is how some of us with disabilities can "YOLO."