This website is for information on expectations for my students, resources, and access to additional material relating to specific courses. I also link to my professional social media and some of my research and writing.
I’m teaching a six week summer version of HDF 340: Ethical, Philosophical, and Professional Issues during the first session. It focuses on personal and professional development and preparation with a large dose of applied leadership and ethics. It’s also fun. Registration starts soonish. If you have enjoyed my classes, please consider taking it or recommending it to students who need it to fulfill a requirement or need an ethics flag. Many thanks!
We have collectively survived another semester! Yay us!
For my graduating students, I wish you a joyful graduation and transition into the next phase of life. I have cross posted a piece I wrote about these transitions for my personal site. As you might expect, since you know me, it is not profanity-free, but it comes from the heart. Feel free to read it here:
Unsolicited Advice for my Graduating Students
If you enjoyed or missed my painstakingly curated selection of cute/silly/stupid YouTube videos, you can access it here. Some of them I paid for and may not be viewable. I update it every semester so it will change over time.
I’m compiling a list of documentaries and influential films that I’ll post in the new year. Feel free to email me suggestions.
Thanks to all of you for a great semester!
Postpartum Depression: It’s not just for moms
I haven’t written about it much on this blog, but I had really bad Postpartum Depression (PPD) for about 1.5 years after having my daughter. PPD has a significant chemical component, but it’s also behavioral and situational:
- Your life has changed forever and that throws your self-concept into question, especially if it wasn’t built on being a mother.
- You are seriously sleep deprived, dehydrated, exhausted, and tired of a tiny person being attached to you in some way all the time.
- Everyone tells you what to do and how you’re doing it wrong, forever. You are already grappling with the reality that you have no fucking idea what you’re doing and you will be failing, forever.
This is a potent cocktail. But the thing is, there are other times in our lives when we have very similar experiences, minus the hormones. Getting my PhD was one such experience.
I didn’t blog much in between finishing my degree and getting my current job. This is because I was in an increasingly deep depression with a garnish of anxiety. For me, depression is always almost over. Any minute it’s going to lift and I’m going to feel normal again, so I avoid the fact that I’m actually a hot mess and may remain that way for some time. My blog during my PPD is always, it’s getting better! And reading it now I’m like, “Girl, it’s really not. Buckle in.” But when I look at the circumstances surrounding writing my dissertation and getting my PhD, it looks awfully familiar:
- I was recovering from stress-induced sickness, drug side-effects, and emotional upheaval.
- I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to get a job and start paying off the massive debt I had accrued and would run my family’s finances into the ground.
- There was no roadmap for success and I had no experience trying to get work as a qualified PhD.
- People say stupid shit like, “so you’re going to go to school forever” or “what are you going to do with a PhD in that?” or “Academia is really competitive” (Thanks, Captain Obvious).
So basically, my mental and physical health took a big hit due to crazy high stress, which made me have to take steroids (which are hormones), which further screwed up my mental and physical health. And I was transitioning to a new career/life phase and had no bloody idea what I was doing. Um.
So why am I thinking about this right now? Because many of my graduating students are freaking out about what life is going to be like on the other side, while getting hazed by their elders for not knowing what they can’t possibly know yet. I’ve found myself giving them very similar advice to what I was given a lifetime ago about post-performance letdown. We get all amped up for this one big moment, and then (if you’re a singer) you go eat a big meal, drink a bunch of wine, and fall facedown in your bed and wake up the next day wondering why everything is awful. I had a shrink who was a musician, and he said we need to be as deliberate and gentle with ourselves after a big event as we are before.
I do not always take this advice, but I dispense it freely and try to remember it when I’m facing the end of a cycle. So students, if you are graduating have fun, celebrate, and then remember to work some extra self care into your routine after the excitement is over, because that is when shit often get real. Take naps. Go running. Anything to compensate for the endorphin crash. Post graduation I ended up working out almost every day because I could literally burn off my anxiety that way. Netflix binges are totally cool, but make sure you are doing something that keeps your body running optimally because that will help your mind. I also ended up increasing my medication, and decreasing it after things leveled out. This is totally okay.
While using PPD as a diagnosis for post-graduation yuck is technically incorrect, it works symbolically. You have essentially birthed a new version of yourself. That self is insecure, unsure, excited, and exhausted. So set up some mechanisms and safety checks now so you can check in with yourself later and evaluate how you are doing. Life change is hard, and some people can be dicks when you are feeling vulnerable and worn out. Take care of yourself and don’t let the assholes get you down.
- Check your straight party vote before you cast it because this meshugas has been happening.
- The friend of a friend warning about not having water for showering has turned out to be a hoax. Yay! Please recycle your bottles.
- Student-supplied article on racial bias in CPS removals in Austin.
- Article on the bi-racial/bi-cultural experience
- Article on the fallacies of binary sex – apropos of attempts to limit the definitions of sex
Invisibilia: The Callout – Pretty much everything from Invisibilia is really good. This one is apropos to some of our discussions about callout hashtags like #bbqbecky and enforcing social norms.
Snap Judgement – Really interesting, well-produced stories about unexpected stuff.
- Bring ID
- Bring a piece of actual paper on which you have written your choices
- Read endorsements to make those choices.
- VOTE ON EVERYTHING
- vote.org for your precinct.
Apropos of our discussion about the internet and self-regulation in 347 (and the oncoming train of mid-terms) I give you apps:
Forest – An app that forces you not to jump around to lots of apps on your phone. Might be good if you are procrastinating on writing or coding (I’m looking at you, 358).
Thrive at UT – Developed for the UT Counseling Center. Lots of interesting features. Free.
Gratitude – Claims to “rewire” your brain through encouraging daily gratitude practice. Yeah, no. But I enjoy it and the interface is kind of cool and lets you be artsy with it. I only tend to journal my weirder dreams and stressful moments, so this is more pleasant to look back on 🙂
Stop, Breathe, & Think – One of the many subscription-based meditation apps. This one looks a bit more flexible and affordable than some of the others.
This week in Procrastination:
Hot Ones – A press-tour stop for celebrities where they have to eat increasingly firey wings while being interviewed. Oddly addictive. Chrissy Teigen is the undisputed king.
Try Channel – No, not the Try Guys. Irish people trying mostly odd foods or watching stuff and swearing in ways that even I haven’t thought of.
This website has a variety of cognitive tests that determine your implicit bias towards different groups of people. Implicit bias is non-rational and often unconscious. Understanding bias can help you be a better critical thinker and ally.
Trevor Noah interviews Tanara Burke, founder of the MeToo movement
MeToo was founded by Tanara Burke in 2006, specifically for people of color who are sexual assault survivors. She talks about the genesis of the movement.
Nannette: Hannah Gadsby
Ground breaking standup by a comedian from Tasmania who faced homophobia and violence in a country where it was illegal to be gay until the 90s. Trigger warning – she’s very funny but it gets super real sometimes as she struggles with the tension between humor and healing.