Graduate School

Presenting my work and Presenting myself in Vietnamese

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Recently I was invited to speak and present my research at the Institute of Social Sciences Information (Viện thông tin khoa học xã hội). The presentation was the first of many firsts, where I shared
  • my dissertation topic, “Creating the Library: Builders and Users of Vietnamese Libraries 1887-1986”
  • my research findings in Hanoi thus far
  • observations on libraries to library staff (rather than an academic history audience)
  • and the most challenging part of all this, was that it was the first time that I presented anything in Vietnamese.

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How I Gamed the Academy: Quantifying my Academic Labor

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My character ‘cindyanguyen’ in Habitica

Quantifying Labor: an Introduction

Graduate school perpetuates a nebulous concept of ‘work.’ In the academy we are always working—from research to teaching, grant writing to meetings, emails to professional networking. But for me, this concept of always working weighs me down. It is easy for me to forget why I’m doing this whole academy thing, and what it is I’m actually doing at the moment.

Thus, for the past two years of graduate school, I have quantified my labor. It started as a personal challenge if I could maintain a ’40-hour work week’ and have some resemblance to work-life balance. But over the years, I found that quantifying my labor was both personally revelatory and an affirmation of my work. Much like the ‘quantified-self movement,’ I wanted to know what I do with my time, so that I could more efficiently use my time. But most importantly, quantifying my labor reminded me why I was pursuing a Ph.D. in Vietnamese history.

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