Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The road to Ph.D.

It has been an extremely busy season for me. This semester I spent all my time analyzing data, writing, attending meetings, and interviewing for jobs. The month of April was by far the busiest and most stressful, but thankfully, it's now coming to a close. That being said, I wanted to share a little about what I've been up to with my dissertation, and the job interviewing process.

First of all, I started applying for (university teaching) jobs in the fall as soon as I successfully proposed my prelim and was considered a doctoral candidate. Generally, departments will post job vacancies in the fall, and accept applications up through the beginning of the new year. To apply for a faculty job, you have to provide a curriculum vitae (CV) which is a lot lengthier than a resume. It's a written overview of a person's experience and qualifications. An academic CV generally includes your educational background, honors and awards, publications and presentations, research and teaching experience, industry experience, relevant coursework, and other skills or it can be several pages. In addition to the CV, applications generally include a letter of interest, 3-5 references, letters of recommendation, a teaching philosophy, a research statement, a teaching portfolio (syllabi, student reviews, sample papers/projects), and publication samples.

Interviews begin around February and typically start with a 30 minute phone or Skype interview with the search committee. (A search committee is made up of 3-5 professors in the department and led by a search chair.) During this interview, they ask you about your education, qualifications, background, courses you've taught, research interests, service work, etc. After a successful interview, they will ask you to fly in for a final campus interview. For a campus interview, you typically fly in and meet with the search committee (or other faculty) that evening for dinner. The next morning you wake up bright and early and meet more faculty for breakfast, and then have several appointments throughout the day (including meetings with the committee, department head, dean, graduate students, campus tour, city tour, etc.). You are also asked to give a research presentation and teaching presentation. The interview ends with another faculty dinner, and then you go back to your hotel room, and fly home the next day. It is exhausting.

Here is a typical campus interview schedule:
Typical campus interview schedule. (Names are completely fictional.)

Prior to your interview, you have a lot to do: prepare a teaching presentation, prepare a research presentation, research the department and program, figure out which classes you would be able to teach by looking over their course catalog, research all faculty members/staff you will meet (learn about their background, research, teaching, and industry experience), etc. You also may need to make your own travel arrangements (booking flights, renting a car, etc.), which will be reimbursed later.

I interviewed at 6 different I did the above 6 times in the course of 3 months...all while writing my dissertation. That's a whole other story.

I am thankful to say that my interviewing is now over. I will share more about that another time. Now I am focusing on my dissertation, which I finished writing this week. I spent months analyzing data, making tables and figures, re-analyzing data, and finally writing up my results and conclusions. I met with my advisor weekly, sometimes multiple times a week, attended weekly grant meetings, sent written chapters to peers and advisors for review, etc. I finally sent the paper to my committee (which contains the chair, three other professors, and external member from another school, and a graduate school representative). Typically, you turn in your paper 2 weeks before your defense date, but due to time, I got permission to turn it in 1 week in advance. I will be defending on this week I am preparing my presentation. After the defense, if I pass, I will make edits given to me by my committee, and then submit it to the Electronic Theses and Dissertations  (ETD) editor at the university. She will then give it back to me with changes/edits, which I will make, and then submit (the final) to her again. Then I will finally be finished!

A dissertation is no joke. My "paper" includes a full literature review (everything related to theory and past studies), a 2-phase research study that I came up with (using applied methodology and theoretical framework), data that I collected, results from hours of statistical analysis, and conclusions/discussions/implications/limitations and ideas for future research. The paper I submitted to my committee this week was 141 pages and 26,702 words. It included 34 tables, 8 figures, and 17 appendices.

Basically, it is a year's worth of work...and I have to successfully defend it to a group of experts in my field. That is next Monday, and I am hoping I am successful. Until then, I will be preparing my presentation and hopefully getting some sleep! I really need it.

the Bride

Monday, January 19, 2015

Free as my hair

"I always had long hair. When you lose it, you realize just how important it is to your identity." - Delta Goodrem

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 Official Visitors Guide:

Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area

I almost forgot about this! Last summer, I was contacted to be quoted for the upcoming guide book for Southern Pines & Pinehurst (printed by the Convention & Visitors Bureau). The 2015 Official Visitors Guide was printed last week and is available for local pick up in Pinehurst, Southern Pines, or Aberdeen. There are three different covers, and the guide includes "a complete list of all the golf courses and accommodations in the area as well as information on local restaurants and things to do off the links." You can view the 2015 guide online, or request a free copy online or by calling the Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 346-5632. 

I highly recommend visiting if you're ever in the area. Pinehurst is a quaint little village, with the beautiful Village Arboretum (where we had our wedding ceremony), plenty of shopping, restaurants, lodging, and of course, golf! We've stayed at the Magnolia Inn in Pinehurst and The Old Buggy Inn in Carthage, both of which were wonderful. My family also had a great stay at the Pine Gables of Aberdeen. Don't forget to stop at The Bakehouse in Aberdeen for some delicious bakery treats, and check out the horses at the track outside The Fair Barn (where we had our reception). If you love flowers and nature, you'll enjoy the Sandhills Horticultural Gardens and lovely grounds of the Weymouth Center.

Please feel free to share your experiences in the area with me! I'd love to know where to visit next time we're there.

the Bride

Saturday, December 27, 2014

"God bless us, every one..."

I am sitting at my in-laws' kitchen table while (most of) the family is in the living room watching The Muppet Christmas Carol. We celebrated our Christmas today (a day late since my brother- and sister-in-law were out of town). I cannot help but think about all the amazing blessings God has given me throughout my lifetime. We had an amazing, generous Christmas, thanks mostly to my mother- and father-in-law, siblings, and of course, David...but beyond the gifts, traditions, and food, I am so thankful for a family that loves one another--on both sides, both David's family and mine.

I have wanted to write about the topic of forgiveness for some time now, but just haven't gotten around to it. One thing I am so thankful for is my husband's forgiving heart. This is something that was instilled in him by his parents. I love how David is so quick to forgive and forget. Forgiveness was a concept I knew about my whole life, but it was something that was so hard for me to practice. What is forgiveness? Merriam Webster states that forgiveness is "to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong)" or "to stop blaming (someone)." I used to always think I was forgiving someone, but inside, in my heart, I still harbored blame or resentment for a person and a particular wrong he or she committed. I "forgave" ... but not completely.

When I read Joshua Harris' Boy Meets Girl, I had an epiphany. The following passage from the book was so profound to me and completely changed how I looked at forgiveness: "Because of the Cross, you can forgive the past sin of another person...When you forgive other people, you're making a promise not to use their past sin against them."

You're making a promise not to hold someone's past sin against them. That means it's erased. Forgotten. Gone. The slate is wiped clean. What?! Suddenly, things became clearer. I wasn't truly forgiving. I was harboring a little bit of anger, hatred, and resentment within me. I wasn't letting the wrongs go. I was holding onto them. Isaiah 1:18: "'Come now, let us reason together,' says the Lord. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'" When we repent, God forgives us as if it never happened. It's gone. We're clean as snow, white as wool. 

2 Corinthians 5:17: "The old has gone, the new has come!" Psalm 103:12: "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." These verses suddenly meant something new to me. I realized that forgiveness is a concept that we cannot fully achieve as human beings...but it is something that we can ultimately strive toward, to be forgiving like our God, and to try in our hearts to do so on a daily basis.

My husband has further taught me what it is to have a forgiving heart. Everyone fights and everyone argues. Sometimes I'm not feeling well, or I've had a bad day, and I'll snap at him, and we'll get into a small argument...but when I've calmed down and apologized to him, or vice versa, he is so quick to say "It's okay. I forgive you." and then actually get over it and not be mad. I realized the other day that he is like my dad. If my dad is upset with me, he doesn't hold a grudge. After we talk about it and the steam blows over, he is back to his happy self, and I love this about him.

I realize everyday how much I need to strive to forgive the way God forgives us. It's a hard thing to do...because we are humans, we have memories, and we can't mentally or physically just "erase" an event that has occurred, or words that have been said...but it's something we can try to do. It's something we should want to do. I find myself very easily not trusting someone or disliking someone after they have wronged me a few times. While it is perfectly normal to be weary of someone who has offended you before, and you don't have to bend over backward to be best friends with them, I think it's important to try to forgive them, and try to love them, despite your past grievances. This is something I'm still learning to do everyday.

I was thinking about how forgiving my husband is, and I realized where he gets it from--his parents. They are some of the most slow-to-anger, quick-to-forgive, loving people I know and I am so blessed to have them as my parents now too. 

Laura Ingalls Wilder once wrote that Christmas seems to get better year after year, and I have to agree. Although I have so many fond memories of Christmas, I've learned to appreciate and value different things as I've gotten older. I love this life, and I am determined to start the new year with an open, forgiving heart.

In the words of Tiny Tim, "God bless us, every one!"

the Bride

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday Giveaway - last chance to enter!

Today is the last day to enter the giveaway hosted by Erin from With a Wink and a Twirl, Brittney Marie from Pretty Little Pursuits, and Lauren from The Fashionista's Diary! These ladies have been so kind to host this holiday giveaway to help me with my dissertation research! We are giving away 3 gift cards to 3 lovely winners: 1) $100 to Nordstrom, 2) $50 to Hope's, or 3) $25 to Target. To enter, all you have to do is fill out a short survey that will help me with my dissertation research! After you complete the survey, just enter a valid e-mail address and you are officially entered into the giveaway. The giveaway ends today at midnight! Click the picture above to enter! 

the Bride

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Giveaway: Win a gift card to Nordstrom, Hope's, or Target!

I am very excited to announce that Erin from With a Wink and a Twirl, Brittney Marie from Pretty Little Pursuits, and Lauren from The Fashionista's Diary, are graciously hosting a holiday giveaway to help me with my dissertation research! We are giving away 3 gift cards to 3 lovely winners: 1) $100 to Nordstrom, 2) $50 to Hope's, or 3) $25 to Target. To enter, all you have to do is fill out a short survey that will help me with my dissertation research! After you complete the survey, just enter a valid e-mail address and you are officially entered into the giveaway. 3 random winners will be chosen on Tuesday, 12/23/14! Click the picture above to enter! 

the Bride

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Top 10 beauty favorites

When I was in high school and college I had a pretty normal daily hair and makeup routine. From start to finish it took about an hour. After graduating and joining the work force, I started getting less strict. Enter grad. school and I am somewhat ashamed to say that the majority of the time I go makeup free.

I have always gotten a lot of compliments on my skin. My routine is pretty simple. I wash my face twice a day with a gentle exfoliating cleanser, apply noncomedogenic moisturizer with SPF 15 or 30, and I rarely wear foundation. Other than that, I don't do anything special.

I was thinking about all of the hair, skin, and makeup products I've tried throughout my lifetime, and all the ones that I fell in love with and can't live without. These are the products out of so many that I've stuck with for years, if not decades. I thought I'd share them with you, because they are too good to keep to myself.

In no particular order, here are my Top 10 Beauty Favorites:

10. Olay Skin Smoothing Cream Scrub
I actually have not seen this on the shelves for awhile, so I have also used Olay Regenerist Regenerating Cream Cleanser. I like that they're non-foaming and contain exfoliants that help smooth my skin. I keep one by my bathroom sink and one in the shower. I also use warm water to open up my pores first and then use cold water to rinse and close my pores.

I have been using this (or some form of this) regularly since I was in tenth grade. I love that it is light, non-greasy, oil-free, noncomedogenic, and can be worn any season, underneath makeup, or by itself. It also contains SPF 15 (or 30) and protects my skin from the sun. I prefer the Sensitive Skin version, which is unscented, but I've used the scented one too, and the scent is not overpowering.

I have also been using this since tenth or eleventh grade. I use it to remove any leftover eye makeup after I've washed my face. I also use it to clean up any eyeliner or mascara smudges after applying makeup. What I like about it is that it's non-oily, so I can dip a q-tip in it and clean up under my lash line.

Another product I've been using since tenth grade! I'm on my second set of these in over ten years, so they've lasted a long time. I prefer the wire clips over the plastic super clips, which I find leave creases. I know most girls these days use curling irons, but I find it so easy to just roll my hair in these and then finish doing my makeup or getting dressed while they set. The key is to take them out after they're completely cool. The jumbo size is perfect for long hair, and even if the curl happens to fall out, your hair still has a lot of body.

I like these better than Tweezerman (although those are a close second). I've had the same pair for several years and they haven't needed sharpening. If you live near an Anastasia Brow Studio, they are the BEST at shaping eyebrows. I was first introduced to her method when I lived in NY, and was lucky enough to have found one at the Nordstrom nearby, but unfortunately they closed the studio. Fortunately, I have found a really awesome threading studio in the area that I really like.

As an Asian girl with short, straight lashes, I have tried so many different ways to curl my lashes. While I did like my Shu Uemura eyelash curler, I still found myself heating it up before "curling" my lashes, which is a bit dangerous if you're not careful. In fact, two of my friends bought me a heated eyelash curler on two separate occasions because of my eyelash curling technique (they didn't work). This little curler fits in the palm of my hand and does a great job of curling even the edge lashes...and I don't have to heat it up first.

 4. Silk'n Flash&GO
This is one of my more recent discoveries, but it is a life changer and a great investment. I hardly ever shave anymore, and I love that! You can read about my experience with the Flash&GO here. I'm excited to see recent TV commercials for it. They've come out with a newer model (the Luxx) that comes with a lifetime cartridge. If you hate shaving, I cannot recommend this product enough.

 3. Microplane Colossal Pedicure Rasp 
I hate feet...and I hate rough, peeling, scaly feet the most. I used so many different foot creams, files, and pumice stones, before stumbling across this on Amazon one day. Best foot file ever! After using this, my feet stopped peeling and I worried about them so much less. My feet will still sometimes get a little rough after a few weeks, but then I just use this quickly in the shower and they are baby soft again. I follow it up with some Nordic Care Foot Care Cream and a pair of socks.

 2. Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Washable Mascara
I've been pretty picky about mascara lately. I keep finding myself coming back to Lash Stiletto. I feel like it gives me the best length and definition, which is what I like my mascara to do. I apply mascara after I've curled my lashes. (I don't like getting mascara on my eyelash curler.)

 1. Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm
I use this product everyday. I have a tube in my purse, in my car, in my desk drawer, on my nightstand...I just like the way it feels and that it doesn't leave a glossy or sticky residue. It's an absolute necessity in the dry winter season!

So these are 10 of my favorite beauty products that I've discovered over the years. I use many of them on a daily basis, and all of them are over-the-counter products that you can find at your local drug or beauty supply store. :) What are some beauty products that you can't live without?

the Bride