My New Year’s Resolutions

I have always been a big fan of making lists, though I rarely ever complete a list that looks more than a few days into the future. However, after I finished my MA I decided to push myself to actually work towards longer term goals. I sat down and listed a few goals in a handful of different categories to be completed by January 1, 2012, July 7, 2012 (my birthday) and January 1, 2012. Roughly speaking I made goals for the fall semester, the spring semester (with some summer cushion) and the next fall. I tried to make all of my goals obtainable, particularly the first ones, so that I could build my confidence and reach higher with each milestone. Partially inspired by a ProfHacker post from last year by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, New (Academic) Year’s Resolutions, I made about half of them academic. In the spirit of accountability, I decided to go over some of my goals for the upcoming months here (and maybe I’ll even give a progress report and talk about new goals when 2012 comes around).

Entering the PhD program at UNL, I felt quite lacking in my presentation experience. The only conference I had been to while enrolled in the MA program was the Rawley Conference, which we (the history graduate students at UNL) run. This semester I have made it a point to attend another school’s graduate conference. I chose Loyola’s conference, because of good reviews from other UNL students and the fact that it is in Chicago (I know a lot of people currently living there). Provided I get accepted, I will be able to cross the first thing off this part of the list. However, I was also able to cross off the long term goal I had made myself in terms of conferences. My longest term goal (to be completed by 2013) for conferences was to apply for a major conference (i.e. OAH, AHA, UHA, WHA), which I did when I applied for the 2012 WHA a couple of days ago. While simply submitting a conference paper to a large conference is a rather modest goal (as opposed to being accepted) I felt it was more reasonable to simply make myself try and not get too discouraged upon (potential) rejection.

Like presentations, I really wanted to expand my CV with some publications (publish or perish after all). I also feel as though I have a few publication worthy papers already written (ok, submission worthy papers) that are only collecting dust right now. I knew if I indulged my habit of pushing things off I might end up with no submitted papers (as the topics would become hazy and another project would come along), so I decided for the fall I would get together a submission for a digital article from my MA thesis and the related digital project. The simple action of thinking about submitting this article has turned out to be a great start as I am now working on submitting a presentation to this year’s HASTAC conference on creating a digital article.

Ah, the dissertation. I will be talking a lot about my dissertation this fall even though I currently do not have a topic (hence the talking through it). Ideally, I want a topic idea by the end of the year. Obviously, there will be plenty of twists and turns that make the topic I begin with look a lot less like the topic I will finish with. However, I figure to begin the twists and turns I need a starting point.

Working Out
To balance my professional goals with some non-school related activities, I am focusing particularly on physical challenges. I have never really loved running, though there have been times where I can build some tolerance. I set out this fall to run a 5k. Though I have been able to do it in the past I never actually got around to running an official 5k. Since I live in Nebraska, this goal gives me some extra motivation as every day I push back training means the 5k I do run will get a little bit colder.

2 responses to “My New Year’s Resolutions”

  1. Hi, I really do like your blog! I am a doctoral student in History at the University of Colorado. I study Jews in the American West and Jewish-Chicano relations. With regard to presenting at conferences, my first experience was actually at a professional one where I was presenting my findings in front of seasoned scholars in my field. I had seven or eight powerpoint slides and had an outline for what I wanted to cover. Believe it or not, it went well. What do I mean by well? I did not put the audience to sleep and I got asked lots of questions by my audience. The other presenters got asked one question each and were a yawn. For me, the best presentations are not “read” papers. That’s my two cents on that!

    As for publishing, my first year in the program (I am beginning my third year) I got an article accepted in a peer-reviewed journal called SHOFAR: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies. This was a big thing for me since this journal was/is top ranked in Jewish Studies. More recently, I got another article accepted at Great Plains Quarterly (that peer-reviewed journal is housed/published at your fine university). However, the road to publication was hard as hell. It takes freaking forever and if you get a cranky editor you are done for. But the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to just freaking submit! And submit to only peer-reviewed journals. Those are the only journals that count on the CV if you intend to work in academia (if those jobs actually exist!)

    Anyway, your work sounds fascinating! Feel free to contact me. And if you think your work is good, which it probably is, then submit!


  2. […] is that something good comes out of having goals even if the goals are not achieved. Well many of last year‘s goals were not achieved, but I did have a productive year in terms of presenting at […]


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