I was recently inspired to tell stories. In a talk by Dr. Susan May Basalla, she told of the stories she has learned from others seeking positions outside of academia. In her talk she spoke of being inspired by things that motivate us, that we are passionate about, taking our own paths that are certainly not linear, nor pre-determined in any particular way. Being comfortable with flux, with uncertainty, with change, and unknown are important facets of that learning.
In Dr. Basalla’s recommendation to write notes of gratitude, I took this recommendation to heart. I have always been one to write letters or notes, telling others of their great acts that have impacted my world. In this new perspective, these notes of gratitude, for me, are focused toward different learning opportunities regarding my professional and personal pursuits of knowledge and happiness. She recommends that over time, we might then take these as objects to analyze, looking to identify themes in them, uncovering a hidden or tacit thread that we may not have known to be true.
This is certainly a theme in my work right now — uncovering hidden truths that spark and motivate great productivity. The sense of being overwhelmed can be debilitating. I seek to gain more control over that feeling of being overwhelmed. I often try to be as specific as possible when ~everything~ seems to be out of control. What do I have control of? What are the specific things that are on my “to do list” that are causing me the most unease or mental dissonance? This is part of my own story, which I intend to shape by the stories of other people.
Dr. Basalla, is one such inspiring person. I met another inspiring person, Dr. Martina Rau, in educational psychology at University of Wisconsin-Madison. We have closely aligned research interests–student learning, representations, and technology–yet these interests and queries are being investigated in different ways. Her delineation of daily “morning-deep thinking” and “afternoon-tedious tasks” is one mechanism that works for her in dividing and conquering the myriad of tasks and responsibilities that she faces in her assistant professorship.
I will work to keep track of these inspiring stories, notes of gratitude, and other informational networking opportunities, as a way to better understand and characterize productivity and happiness in both professional and personal endeavors. Interdisciplinary connections seem to be some of the most fruitful (at least at the moment)…