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#university life

I’m off to work now.

University need me.

See you in …. *Checks watch* in what …. 7-8 hours or something? Tomorrow? I don’t know. My wife, University, called me and she needs my attention – or she divorce me (A.k.a. I fail my class)

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today is a beautiful day for coffee, flashcards, and celebrating the successful overtaking of a police precinct by the minneapolis protestors arrest of officer derek chauvin who murdered an unarmed black man

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Signing the tenancy application to stay in my current residence, honestly I’m pretty nervous that my landlord won’t let me stay because I’m freelance and obviously don’t have any work at the moment due to lockdown. Please send good vibes my way, I don’t have anywhere to go if this doesn’t work out. // 29.05.20

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Over the past few days I have been feeling pretty down about the amount of ‘work’ I have been doing. For example: I wanted to squeeze in 1-2 more hours of coding today, but I just didn’t have it in me. I couldn’t concentrate on the task at hand. 

But then I realized that I was only considering work that was tied to a physical product. Hours of taking notes, writing papers, coding, etc. I wasn’t counting all of the hours that I spent thinking about work or planning out projects. Once I included those hours I realized that I have actually been doing quite a bit of work!

I’m going to make a reminder in my planner that mental work is valid work. Thinking counts as work! Making plans counts as work! Taking time to sit on ideas is work! I’m doing a good job! 

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During the third year of my Ph.D. program I worked as a research assistant for a digital research lab. One of the most important things I learned during that assistantship was how to properly back up and store digital projects! I thought I would share some of this information with those of you who are working digitally! I organized this using the 5 Ws to make navigation easier. 

1. Who should be backing up projects?

Anyone that works on digital projects! Which means you! :)

2. What should I be backing up?

Anything in a digital format that is important to you and to your career! This can include things such as course notes, course work, essays, bibliographies, research data, your thesis, your dissertation, publications, etc. This information is also applicable to other digital projects, too, such as artwork, blog posts, poems, videos, etc. Anything that is important needs to be backed up!  

3. When should I be backing up my projects?

I back up files that I have been actively working on once a day, typically at the end of the day before I power down my computer(s). I back these files up onto all of the storage devices that I own. This includes newly created filed and/or files that already existed that I have been working on. This might seem excessive, but it is important to get into the habit of doing it frequently. You never know what will happen tomorrow! If you don’t do any work one day, no worries – you don’t need to back anything up that day, so long as you didn’t make any new files or make changes to pre-existing files.

4. Where should I be backing up my projects?

There are three main types of storage, which includes storing projects on: (1) an external device; (2) an internal device; (3) an online file storage website.

External device: the most common external devices include memory cards, flash drives, and external hard drives. Most computers built today have some sort of input (or adapter) for these devices. But this category also includes CDs, tapes, etc. It’s recommended that you have an external device that can be used with most computers today! If you need to use an external device that is not as common (such as a floppy disk), make sure you keep a computer adapter handy!

Internal device: which is another way of saying an internal hard drive! When you save something on your computer chances are you are saving it to a hard drive. Some computers can have multiple internal hard drives installed, which is really helpful if you are dealing with a lot of large digital files!

Online File Storage: these sites are designed to host your files so that you can access them on multiple devices. There are many websites available for you to pick from, but the most common are: iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Box! Online file storage sites are great because they often save ‘versions’ of your documents, which is helpful if you need to retrieve a previous version.

All of these types of storage cost money and vary in quality, so make sure to do your research before making any big purchases! If you are a student, it is possible that your college/university/workplace offers a discount on these types of storage, so check with them before making any purchases! In rare instances, they might even offer these things for free! My university provides all students with a free Google Drive account that can store up to 5TB of data! Some universities also offer grants to students to help with these sorts of purchases, so keep an eye out for any grants/scholarships that cover these types of expenses!  

Ideally you should have one of each type for your digital projects! For example: I have my dissertation saved on a USB drive, on my computers, and on Google Drive. The reason why you want to have one of each type is so that you are still able to access your files if you lose access to something. Which is a good transition to the next piece of advice…

5. Why should I be backing up my projects?

Because as I previously mentioned, you never know what can happen! You might lose your USB, your laptop might get stolen, your hard drive might become corrupted, etc. Having multiple copies of your digital projects means that if something happens to one of your storage devices, you still have the others! If you don’t have internet, you can still access your files on your internal/external storage device. If you lose your external storage device, you still have your internal storage device/online file storage account.

I have a friend who is currently writing her dissertation for a Ph.D. program. A year ago, she had only one copy of her dissertation and it was on a USB stick. She ended up losing that USB stick, which contained a dissertation that was over 100 pages long at that point! She had to start all over again! Don’t let that happen to you!!!

6. How should I be backing up my projects?

Organization is key. Having multiple backups of your project means nothing if you can’t find it on any of your storage devices!

Make sure each storage device is organized by using folders that are properly named. It’s fine if you have folders within folders within folders – the more the better! I realize that this can get annoying pretty quickly, but trust me it is well worth it. Also make sure that you give your files a clear and concise name. Naming all of your papers “paper #” for example is not helpful, especially if a lot of time passes and you forget which one is which!

If you are working on a project that will take you more than a day to complete (such as a thesis/dissertation), save multiple copies that are marked with the dates that you worked on it! Have you ever had a teacher/professor who wants you to completely change your project, only to look at the revised version and request that you change it back? Or have you ever worked on something and then wanted to change it back to the way it was? Having multiple copies of larger projects allows you to retrace your steps and helps during these sorts of situations. I currently do this for my dissertation, publications, and research data. The files look something like this:

05_01_2020_Dissertation
05_03_2020_Dissertation
05_04_2020_Dissertation
05_05_2020_Dissertation

In this format, each date corresponds to the day that I made some sort of significant change to the document. So if I want to go back to how my dissertation looked on the 1st of May, I would click the first file. The most recent files will be the ones at the bottom. If you plan to make multiple copies of a project and date them, make sure you use the same format for all of those files. For example: don’t switch between DD/MM/YY and MM/DD/YY. Remain consistent so that it is easier to identify and organize your files! 

Also make sure that you use the same organization system for all of your storage devices! Consistency is important. For example: copies of my dissertation are located in the same folder that is in the same exact place (i.e. path) on each device. This makes it a lot easier to back up your projects, since you know what you need to be looking for each time.



I hope this was helpful to some of you! If you have any questions, feel free to send them my way! 

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Hi all! So this definitely isn’t my usual field since this is an art blog, and my word definitely isn’t the be all end all! That being said, with this being uni acceptance time I thought I’d give some advice to new students. I’m going into my third year of uni as a Biology major so I’ve got *some* knowledge :P. This might not get very far but I hope it reaches a few people. 

University and Highschool are two very very different beasts. On one hand, I’ve found that the way university is scheduled I have more social time than I did in highschool… on the other hand, the value of what I’m doing is so much higher that it is much more stressful.  So here it goes

1) I don’t know about everyone elses high school experience… but mine was… odd. I had so many teachers saying they were doing so and so to prep you for university. While your teachers know things… they aren’t always right! (and neither am I!) One thing that was drilled into me in highschool was that I should take detailed long notes, and asking for deadline extensions was very taboo. neither of these held true for either of the unis I’ve been too (more on that later…) chances are in some of your lectures your profs will talk FAST. you’re not going to have time to take super detailed long notes. your going to have to write messy and fast and shorthand. save the detailed notes for later. Don’t get roped into the studyblr aesthetic. and before I get swarmed. I don’t mean no one should do that. I mean if it works for you, go for it! if it doesn’t…. dont do it for the aesthetic. I tried it and it didn’t work for me! So i make copious amounts of cue cards on quizlet and I teach others and quiz myself!

2) Don’t EVER be afraid to ask a teacher for an extension or a way to boost your grade. If you’re professor cares, they’ll do what they can to help you. the worst they can do is say no. And if they’re rude about it…. you can avoid them for future courses. I’ve only had one professor say no to an extension… and he had been on academic probation for two years.

3) I know everyone says this but its so so true. You NEED social time AND time for yourself. even if you’re an introvert. Take this from someone who had a mental breakdown in the middle of her school year. You need it, even if you’re an introvert and think you don’t. Make the time. Even if it’s just an hour once a week. I promise you it will help. 

4) Don’t be afraid to transfer schools if you aren’t happy. My first year I went to a school out of province. and I was miserable. so so miserable. but I denied it for ages, until I couldn’t anymore. transferring was one of the scariest decisions I made but I am so glad I made it! Now I go to a school closer to home, where I have my friends and I am so much happier! 

5) Experiment with courses! It’s really tempting to stick to what you know but branching out is good. This year I branched out and took a few courses I didn’t think I’d like. Writing by Women, Women and Gender studies, and Sociocultural Anthropology.  I hated two of them… buuuuut now I’m minoring in anthropology! Plus even though I didn’t like the other two, I still learned some new valuable things! 

6) PLEASE for the love of all things holy, be a good group worker. I don’t care if you HATE group work, I do too. Just… be good with it, do your share, don’t leave your group hanging. There is nothing worse than carrying a group of 4 people. 

7) This one is for the science majors : Learn how to write a lab report. a properly formatted one. I cannot tell you how many people are taking their 7th or 8th science course with me and still can’t write a formal report. Third person, past statements, (mostly) passive voice. 

8) Use your academic advisors, they’re there to help you! I was really nervous about going in the first time. “they’re going to think I’m dumb if I go in…” they wont. I promise. They helped me figure my shit out a couple times. 

9) go to profs office hours. its… awkward. But if you ever decide to do an honors program, that relationship with a prof is going to be a BIG help. But remember… there’s a fine line between being a kiss-ass and being a dedicated student. (not saying dont be a kiss-ass…. there are times for it… just be… tactful)

Anyways I know that was longwinded and these definitely aren’t going to work for everyone! This is just my takeaway from two years of dedicated studying! Happy school!

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The relief of finally trimming and correcting all four papers before 28th and 29th.

I have written the bibliography for the 28th one, missing bibliography for the 3 papers for 29th. I need to begin writing the 15-16 pages for 8th June and my synopsis on 3-6 pages.

Also need to begin researching for my MA special — got to write 60-80 pages.

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Look a lot of bad things have been happening and will no doubt continue to happen…

But tonight, my best friend and I had a zoom meeting where I was meant to be helping her with a project where she interviewed people about isolation…

INSTEAD

I was treated to a surprise zoom call with all of our good friends screaming HAPPY BIRTHDAY at me XD

It was such a nice early bday surprise and I was completely not expecting it and I was so friggen delighted that for the first time in many years, and indeed I think in front of this group of friends, I legitimately started crying so hard it was super embarrassing…

Like I already had super crap internet connection so the tears definitely made me look worse XD

That aside, it was such a wonderful moment that just made everything so much better, I’ve literally been so down and dull from assignments and iso and this just made my year istg…


I don’t wanna give some vague “it’ll get better” well wishes, but I do hope this might make you smile! Even for a bit. Like I have been for 2 hours 😊

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