Saturday, April 23, 2016

So much to do!


Welcome to my University. I arrived back from my Easter Break in Berlin a couple of weeks ago, and dove back into the academic swamp in which I know find myself. First, it was a qualitative research methodologies course that was pretty much a week's worth of head-poundingly interesting subject matter. I can now say I have a pretty solid handle on what is expected of us as PhD students here at Universit√° della Svizzera Italiana when it comes to methodologies. 

After that week was over, my professor decided that I need to get back in touch with my communication studies roots, and then brush up on what it means to approach things from a critical standpoint. What does that mean? You guessed it! Theeeoorryyy!! Whoo. So now, I've pretty much been reading Foucault, Derrida, Saussure, Lacan, Hall, Barker, Butler, Martin and Nakayama,...the list goes on and on and on. Every time I see my professor, she hands me another book to read. 

                 

In addition to that, I've also been brushing up on discourse analysis for a project I'm going to help her with, reading/grading mid-term papers for our class, creating a lesson that I'm going to give on microagressions this coming Monday, refining some ideas for my dissertation, and trying to be social and whatnot in between. This has had detrimental effects on my health (my back is killing me) but, all things considered, I'm pretty happy to be where I am. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pictures

After coming back from Berlin, I jumped back into the swing of things by taking a week-long seminar in qualitative research methodologies. It was really interesting, but I didn't get much of a chance to do anything else. So, research and dissertation and whatnot took sort of a backseat...

In other news, I finally bought the phone I was talking about. It's called the Fairphone and it's pretty cool. Here's the link if anyone is interested. Basically, it's a phone that tries to be as fair and ethically sourced as possible. It was comparably priced to other mainstream phones but the producers are transparent about their business practices, which is something that I appreciate. Now that I have a phone that can take pictures, I made sure to jump headfirst into Generation Y and get on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Selfies and pictures of Lugano abound!





Sunday, April 3, 2016

Berlin

Last week, we had Easter break at USI so, I took the opportunity to visit Berlin. There was also a festival taking place Easter weekend which I had been looking forward to since attending it last year while living in Berlin. The festival, Stretch, is about spirituality, intimacy, vulnerability, and all that touchy-feely stuff.  It was pretty interesting/helpful/difficult, particularly Saturday, where I was forced to come in contact with some pretty deep-seated emotions that I've apparently largely been ignoring. All in all, I would say that the weekend was necessary, and that I'm still processing a lot of what happened.
During the week, I met up with friends that I hadn't seen in a while and recounted the last two months of living in Lugano. The whole experience made me realize two things: 1) I am very happy to no longer be living in Berlin and 2) this PhD position is an awesome opportunity. To the first point, I won't say that I dislike Berlin, or even that I will never live there again. I will, however, say that I'm glad I'm not in that distracting, transitory hub for all that is impermanent at the moment. The festival (and to some extent my friends) reminded me that everyone in Berlin is very focused on themselves, which is not inherently a bad thing. Although, when confronted with this I find myself feeling ignored/unwanted/lonely most of the time. This was the case at the festival as well, which I experienced as sort of a hyper-Berlinesque microcosm. The atmosphere of the city produces a feeling of having overwhelming options. I noticed that I don't enjoy this feeling in a similar way to the people I know there. So, there's that. Also, I really feel good about the work I'm doing here in Lugano, my research, the feedback I'm getting, and the direction I'm headed. Berlin was a great place to have lived and now it's time to move on.