Blog

Welcome to my blog! I promise to share some of my musings and many of my adventures!

48 Hours – Computer Free

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For the past two Fridays I worked a little later into the evening so that I could have 48 hours free from my computer. I got ALL my work done, even got ahead on some things. I had other things going on this and last weekend (friendsgiving, rehearsals, performance, baby shower, and a wedding) but the time away from the multiple tabs I have open on my browser gave me some much needed physical and mental space. Here are my reflections on both of my 48 hour breaks from my computer:

1. I wanted to spend less time in front of screens in general. I did not watch much TV at all.

2. Instead of wondering what I needed to do, I thought about what I CAN do. I had the space to let my creative side wonder.

3. It was a lot easier to mediate. I was not thinking about all the things I needed to do.

4. The desire to do some of my chores did not increase (HA!), but I was not bothered by my decision to relax more than pick up around the house.

5. I actually came up with several great ideas for teaching and some of my smaller projects. I started traveling with a notepad again so I could jot down notes and sketch out my ideas.

6. I slept well!

7. I read more. I finally got back to some books that I started that I have not been able to finish.

8. I felt/feel better overall. When I returned to my computer today and last Monday I was able to focus more on what I needed to accomplish.

In the future, I may include an email restriction component, for at least a full day. The key to having computer-free weekends is planning. I take a step back to think a few steps ahead. BUT, I am very honest with myself.  There are days where I move through a list of tasks/goals, and days where I only make it to 1 or 2 things.  Both days are great days. At the end of both of those days I am perfectly content still finishing my day enjoying some tea and flipping thought a cooking magazine.

Karon

Early Bird? Tips for an Early Start

Morning! Some mornings I arrive to work as early as 7:00am. My friends have been calling me early bird but I honestly do not think I am. I can wake up early but I don’t jump out of bed and float around my house singing. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic version of an early bird. I normally wait until the last possible minute to get out the bed, and go into auto pilot.

Lately, I have learned and incorporated a few things that have helped me arrive early to work and ease into the day.

  1. Preparing and packing breakfast and lunch on Sunday nights. I have been doing this for three weeks now and I can never go back. Cooking my meals was never the issue. Packing them up ahead of time so that they were ready to go was the challenge. Now, on Sunday nights I cook and put five meals for breakfast and five meals for lunch in containers. I also prepare and pack snacks like nuts and fruit. Keep in mind that I do not make complicated meals for breakfast and lunch. I want them to be tasty meals, but do not want spend a lot of time preparing them. Salads in jars and sandwiches are easy fixes (for sandwiches I would keep the bread separate and build the sandwich once you are ready to eat it). I love roasted veggies (especially broccoli) so I make a lot of that to supplement my main meal for lunch. I often make one pot meals and divide that up for the week.
  2. Figuring out what I am wearing the night before, not in the morning. I have been investing in staples (solid dresses, pants, long skirts, etc) that I can just pull together without much thought. Some nights I may not decide exactly what I want to wear. I will, however, make sure that I know exactly where two to three options are and make sure they are hanging up so that I am not looking for them in the morning. I don’t even want to mention how many mornings, in that past, where I have thrown clothes all over the place trying to decide what to wear. I have a coworker that irons all her clothes on the weekends. I tip my hat to her.
  3. Making my coffee/tea at work. I invested in an electric kettle and I love it. I also bring in water for the week. While I am heating up breakfast, I pour some water in my kettle and get ready for a warm cup of happiness. I’ve noticed that a lot of people have coffee makers in their offices. There are a few coffee shops in the area, but those are additional stops that add to your morning.
  4. Packing any extra things I need at night. This seems intuitive but anytime I have a performance or any after work plans, I get all of those items together at night. Good time to get those deep water running clothes together. I also get any DSW coupons, grocery lists, etc together as well.
  5. Getting a diffuser/warm light for my desk. I have a diffuser at home on my night stand and I read that having one in the office can help with energy levels. It definitely does. This one has a warm light and it has really helped on overcast days when sun can’t peak through.
  6. Listening to a good playlist. Spotify understands me and creates the best playlists for me. They have quite a few playlists to get you going in the morning.

 

Love to hear if you have any additional tips!

Happiness

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(Photo Credit: Karon L. Phillips) Cherry Blossoms at Hains Point.

Hope your week is off to a great start! I have been reflecting on this quote all day and I just wanted to share:

Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.

~Alice Walker

Job Skills Outside Your 9 to 5

I have a beautiful tree with purple flowers blooming right outside the window of my office. Finally looks like we are shifting to spring. Well, at least those of us not in the north east. Winter was not interested in letting us go.

Image result for winter meme and another thing

One of the responsibilities for my new job is organizing exert panels and planning sessions. I remember sharing with my friends that as I considered this position I realized a lot of the experience that I obtained for this current role came from my service to various professional organizations. I always started out as a student representative and then continued to grow from there. And as I continue to reflect on these opportunities, I realized it was through these experiences that I met some phenomenal people, and gained a lot of skills.

If you are not involved with an organization, or two, really think about ways you can start doing some service. Leadership for these organizations often send out emails to members asking for volunteers or nominations for positions. I have served as a secretary several times and those opportunities expanded my writing skills. Organizing symposiums and panels gave me a chance to flex my networking skills and pull together leaders in various areas. I have also co-lead special sessions for awards and fund raising. All that to say, not all job skills come from a 9 to 5.

Quick Update & How I Started Adjunct Teaching

Hey there! Lots of exciting things going on in my world so I have been quite busy, including starting a new job! It’s going well, learning A LOT, and I have very supportive colleagues. How is 2018 going for you so far?

One of the things that I have been doing part-time for about eight years now is teaching. Lately, quite a few people have asked me how I started teaching. If I had to sum things up I would say persistence and networking were absolutely necessary throughout the process.

Teaching Icon by ben

In grad school, I taught one class, served as a teaching assistant for a few semesters, and was a guest lecturer for a few courses. I will admit, I assumed that it would be an obvious decision for a school to hire me to teach. And I was incorrect 🙂 After I did not receive a response from a local community college and a few online places I decided to spend a little more time with my cover letter, and developing a teaching philosophy/statement. I applied to some additional schools and ended up hearing back from one to teach online. Something to keep in mind is that most, if not all, online programs have an onboarding process that you must complete successfully. During that process, you may not be paid for your work and the process can take from two to six months. Yes, you read that correctly! After I completed the training I waited a few months for my first assignment and then I was off and running. Most of the content for many online programs is already built out for you. Timeliness is very key for these positions as you have to log-on several times a week and post grades by set deadlines.

For my in-person teaching position, I was contacted by a colleague that knew my research interests and experiences. I shared my CV and excitement with her and she forwarded that on to the appropriate decision makers. I had a meeting with the faculty member that was over assigning people to the courses in the fall and I was set up to teach a class that spring semester. In this case, it was all in my network. This time I got to select the textbook, determine the assignments, and think more about my teaching style.

Other opportunities I have received have come from applying. Naturally I have received these positions because I have teaching experience. Many schools want to hear how you engage students online, what you do to support the learning environment, and what innovation you can bring to the position. I recommend higheredjobs.com because you can search specifically for online/remote positions.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that teaching, obviously, takes TIME! There are times I tell people that I cannot come out to play because I have 30 to 40 papers to grade. Setting up any course requires a lot of advanced planning. Lectures, even if you have been teaching the same course for a while, require advance planning and review. Students will email you with questions/concerns and your response is important. And this is work on top of your full-time job. I truly enjoy teaching so I will advise that you think long and hard about it if you are just looking to make a few extra dollars. You are also connecting and potentially shaping the thoughts and opinions of your students. I am grateful that I have been able to teach courses that I have a genuine interest in content-wise so I can share my professional expertise during lectures and on discussion boards. One final point is that you are contractual. There is no guarantee you will get to teach often. Programs can and often do restructure to stay current with the emerging requirements and trends. And your performance is reviewed regularly. Student reviews are considered when you are assigned courses.

So, you’ve read my story and you’re still interested? Start by writing a good cover letter with your experience teaching and/or giving presentations. Again, highlight how your expertise will translate to the classroom. I recommend working with a professional resume editor so that they can pull out your expertise that connects well with teaching. No experience teaching or giving presentations? Volunteer! I often asked friends to come in to give guest lectures. Find a way to give community presentations on a topic. And start networking! Same networking rules you used to get your full-time job apply. If you have a colleague that is a full-time professor, talk to them. They have more contact with the decision-makers in the department. Sometimes adjuncts can help get your name in front of the right people, but keep in mind that adjuncts do not always have a lot of contact with the department and they are in large pools to get selected for classes. And keep applying. I applied to one school several times over several years before I was hired.

Good luck!