Weekly Update: July 6-12

Welcome to the first addition of the possible new format for my bloggage. Why a new format? Let me explain…

Vox Habit
Simply put, I am trying to ween myself of my Vox habit. Vox is addicting. Your lives are addicting. And fascinating.

And I got sucked in involved until I was spending 2-3 hours at a time reading and commenting on everyone's posts plus trying to think of something worthwhile to say on mine.

Truthfully, I enjoyed it and have come to respect and care for my neighbors in Vox-land a lot, but have come to the conclusion that I just can't keep it up at that level. My goal and plan is to write on my own blog at least once a week or so because it will be the primary way to keep in touch with my friends and family once I start my doc program next month. I fully expect that posting once a week might be all I can manage. So, to my favorite Vox neighbors, I will do my best to at least check in once in a while to keep up with your lives and adventures, but I don't think I will be as active a participant as I have been.

Polka Dot Patty

The big excitement this week came from a lovely bought of hives that covered me from chin to ankles in polka dots. Woohoo! It appeared after I started taking an herbal supplement. Nothing else in my life had changed so I'm 99% sure it was connected.

At first I thought it was an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients, but antihistamines and Cortisone cream didn't do anything to make it better so now I think it was the supplement working on something internally and trying to push it out through my skin. Lovely. My very intelligent and well-informed health enthusiast brother and mother first clued me in to this idea. Thank you!

But if that's the case, I'm all for it. If it's some nasty toxin and this supplement will get it out of my body, I'll put up with looking like a cheetah for a while. That being said, I'm starting back on it today, just at a lower dosage. My greatest hope is that it might get at the root of whatever weird malaise has made my life sucky for the past several years. This supplement is an all-natural antibiotic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-everything basically, and has actually been called a miracle-worker by people who have taken it. I am hopeful. Let's leave it at that.

Getting Sad
This week I started really feeling sad about leaving JMU and all the wonderful people there. Till now it's been like an

intellectual exercise / problem to solve / list of to-do's. But a couple times this week I found myself at my desk with tears in my eyes. I don't think it has fully sunk in yet so I'm sure I'll be full-on bawling by the end of the month.

I'm not going to say much about this right now because it will be its own post later on. I need to let it simmer for a while to make sure I can honestly get my feelings on paper. I'm hoping it will be cathartic for me and represent the impact the JMU community has had on my life and development.

New 'Puter


This week I bit the bullet and finally made up my mind about what kind of computer to get for grad school. It was a tough decision since I love technology and all the finalists seemed exciting. In the end I went with a Lenovo ThinkPad R61. It gets great ratings on CNET.com and comes with lots of fun bells and whistles. It also comes with Vista, which I'm not thrilled about, but I figure it's going to become the standard OS for PC's whether I want it to or not. Darn Microsoft. It should have been delivered Friday but I have to be present to sign for it. Which I am equally glad about and frustrated by. Now, I will have to leave work early on Monday to be here to receive it. Next week, between 2:00 and 5:00 be listening for an ear-splitting SQUEEEEEEEEE as I tear open the box.

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I Got into UConn


What a fabulously wonderful piece of news this evening. After I bounced around the kitchen for about 5 minutes I called my mom (of course) and now I'm telling you guys.

I am EXTREMELY happy about that. I really like the program and it's a rural campus which I am also looking for. JMU plays UConn in several sports so I can stay plugged into athletics at least a little.

I am so excited and happy right now I could just pop.

Still waiting to hear from 5 more. I don't know about the financial package yet either, so still have to wait a while longer.

Life is good.


Ok, now that I've calmed down enough to communicate effectively, here's a bit more about the UConn program. Yes, it is one of my top choices. There is one other that I am really interested in, so I need to be patient till I hear from them. I've also applied to three other programs that I would be happy to go to, but either the location or the research streams are not exactly what I am looking for. So, this moment in time life looks really good for the next five years.

University of Connecticut
School of Communication
PhD in 
New Communication Technology

Program Description: strong emphases on communication theory & a wide range of research skills. The goal is to provide students with a rigorous course of study that will prepare them for careers in the academic, commercial, or non-profit spheres. UConn Communication Ph.D.s are found teaching and conducting research in Communication departments, schools of Journalism and Mass Communication, and schools of Public Health. UConn Communication Ph.D.s are also valued in industry and government, for their skills in research on mass communication and new technology effects, advertising, audience analysis, evaluation, and other areas of communication.

Primary Faculty:

RB: Evolution of human behavior, communication, and social structure. Social development of emotion expression: Overt, nonverbal, cognitive, and physiological aspects.  Nonverbal sending accuracy: Gender and personality differences, relationships with right vs. left hemisphere brain functions.

JF: Research on small group communication, with particular attention to intergroup communication and identity formation.

KF: Research in the area of effects of the mass media on individuals. Specific interests include the effects of the mass media on adolescent socialization. Current research focuses on the effects of televised portrayals of sexual intercourse on young people and the effects of different contextual features of violent video games on aggression related outcomes.

KN: how people use computer media, with particular attention to the influence of different types of avatars on the person perception process. Her work also evaluates the extent to which computer media influence people's satisfaction and effectiveness in reaching communication goals.

AW: Dr. Wang researches how consumers or audiences process information. His research focuses on information processing psychology, integrated marketing communications, and Internet advertising.

Research Labs

Alcohol/Media Lab

Emotional Communication Laboratory

Ethnic and Women Audiences Lab and Field

Human Computer Interaction Lab

Media Effects Lab

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Doctoring my Vacation Away

No, I'm not sick.

Perhaps sick in the head, but that's a different story.

I am on vacation this week and have officially started the PhD application process. Yesterday I spent quite a few hours in organizational preparation. Digging through old files to find dusty copies of ancient transcripts. Collecting a variety of office supplies such as file folders, stickies, and a label maker. Finding and bookmarking the online application websites and program application checklist sites. Digging through the kitchen junk drawer to find the GRE report sheet from 6 months ago. Collecting contact information for jobs and folks writing recommendations.

Today I had my GRE scores sent to all the schools I'm applying to and have been busily filling out the online applications. I found a few things online that were very helpful that I thought I'd share…

First, a GPA calculator. The one linked below from Iowa State will calculate your overall and major GPAs for your whole college experience and/or for the last two years. I had to do all four calculations for various applications.

Second, a tool that counts both the number of words and characters. I misread one application section thinking I had 320 words to explain my various jobs. Nope… 320 characters. Do you have any idea how hard it is to narrow something down that far? Of course you do. You've already been there.

Tomorrow I plan to get transcripts ordered and get a good start on my personal statement. After that I need to revise my resume, tinker with my writing sample, and get packets together for the people writing my recommendations.

Wow. Written in a list like that it does not seem so bad. I'll come back and revisit that statement in a few days as I'm using the word count tool to revise and revise and revise my personal statement for each school. Fun!

From my good friends at I Can Has Cheeseburger Plz…


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I’m with You, Skittlefish

Your post does not give me much confidence! Yikes! I'm applying to grad school this semester too. So far I've taken the GRE's, selected my references, and finalized the list of schools to apply to. I am actually planning to take vacation the week of October 8-12 to start writing personal statements and plunge into the applications. I think most of my schools have most of their process online <fingers crossed> but I expect to be doing some head banging by the end of the week.

Comfort in numbers? Misery loves company? Either way, I'm glad there are others out there to talk to about it. Good luck with yours!

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