Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Habits and Communication

I have been neglecting this blog for some time now. I have gone a month without posting, which has not happened since I started four years ago.

This has mainly happened because I have spent most of that month finishing my dissertation. When a dissertation deadline is coming up, everything else gets pushed aside. I even shut off most of the subscriptions in Google Reader to save time, which means that my knowledge of current events is limited to what I read in the Wall Street Journal during my lunch break.

But I have successfully defended, gotten my revisions passed, and made sure that all the paperwork was being processed. The last week has been pretty relaxed. I have not posted anything, partly because I got out of the habit of writing blog posts.

The dissertation was not the only reason I got out of the habit of writing posts. The purposes of this blog were to share my life and thoughts with family and friends, to practice and improve my writing, and to develop an online archive of my thoughts and writings on various subjects. None of these goals are as relevant as they once were.

The last two goals have already been met. I have written on many topics, and I can easily give people a link to them. Having this portfolio was useful during my job search. There is not really a lot to add at this point. My writing has improved with practice, to the extent that some of the older posts are a bit embarrassing, but I do not really need more practice. The writing that I will be doing in the future, academic papers and cost analyses, is different than what I have been writing here, and from a career perspective, I should be practicing that rather than writing blog posts.

Society and technology have also changed, meaning that this blog is no longer the ideal tool for communication. Four years ago, most of my family did not have a Facebook account. The only ways to regularly share my life with them were to spam their email, waste a lot of time calling people individually, or write a blog. But today, a Facebook note or status update is the most efficient way of sharing things with people I know. I started putting all of the personal posts on Facebook, saving the blog posts for things that a potential employer would want to see.

I am not quite ready to announce the end of this blog, but it is a possibility. I will have to see how the next month goes. Maybe I will get back in the habit of writing posts.

If I do start blogging in a serious way, I will probably start a new blog that is focused on a specific topic. Starting next month, my job will be analyzing food safety regulations for the Food and Drug Administration. After a couple years of doing that, I will have a lot of expertise in food safety, and a lot of knowledge that would be valuable to a wide audience. I have had a personal interest in food issues for years, which was one of the reasons I got the job, so it might be fun to blog food safety and nutrition from the perspective of a PhD Economist.

1 comment:

Lindylou said...

Hi! I just read your old article on "Imaginary Education" talking about the absurd math required by States in education. I so totally agree and really want to work toward helping to get these useless requirements removed. It simply makes students feel stupid when in reality they are not!

My daughter was humiliated in 2nd grade because she did not know multiplication. The teacher had the students put the answer on a dry erase board and turn it around for her to check and then she would point out who missed it. It devastated my young daughter who has struggled with math since multiplication.

Fast forward to her freshman year of high school, I just had her working the past few weeks with a very caring math tutor who talked with her and discovered this second grade trauma as being the point that my daughter felt "math stupid"!

I guess I never asked the right questions to figure out when and when she froze in math learning. I kept trying every imaginable why possible to help her grasp multiplication but now that she has faced what cause her this mental block, she is making rapid progress. She realized she is not stupid in math but that she had a uncaring, "stupid" teacher that belittled her over and over in front of her second grade peers.

I work very hard to help my children learn what they need but to not do meaningless schooling. I get so frustrated with the higher levels of algebra and advanced math that is required in our state to graduate from high school knowing only about 1% of all students will ever need to use these concepts in the future and could clearly learn them in college under their specific discipline.

Your article was refreshing and honest. You had not yet become an educated drone simply pushing what is norm or expected but able to ask questions and knowing having good answers are essential - not just it is the way we do it or it helps develop thinking skills, etc.