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Monday is Coming! Monday is Coming!

5 May

Posted to Freecycle to find business casual women’s clothing? Check.
Set aside money for a new haircut and style? Check.
Been studying way too much over a semester break to prepare? Check.

Yup!  McNair Kick-Off Luncheon coming up on Monday.  Pictures will be taken for the journal and added to the university website.  As a woman in this society, it is my obligation to look my best and nothing like I would any other day (ie make-up, fancier clothing, hair done up, etc).  It’s what we do. 

But before you point your finger and laugh at my pain…  Check out this menu:

Sandwich Buffet-
      Deli Sliced Turkey and Provolone on Hearty Wheat Bread
      Roast Beef and Cheddar with bacon, Lettuce and Tomato on 
         Toasted 12 Grain Bread     
     Balsamic Marinated Vegetable Wrap with Feta Cheese 
         and Mixed Greens
 
Greek Penne Salad tossed with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Red Onions, Peppers, Fresh baby Spinach, Feta Cheese and Black Olives

Red Skinned Potato Salad with Egg, Celery, and Spanish Onion in a Seasoned Mayonnaise Dressing

Cookies, Potato Chips, and Condiments

Some updates! (It’s been awhile…)

24 Apr

First off, as a continuation of my last post a long time back… My finished abstract:

Recent studies at the regional and national levels show how the earliest inhabitants of the Americas, also known as Paleoindians, were spread across the land by looking at the distribution of projectile points and other associated artifacts dating to between 11,500 and 9000 years BP (before present).  However, there is still much to understand about Paleoindian and subsequent Early Archaic site distributions because the existing data is insufficient to truly understand the lifeways of these first inhabitants.  Several reasons partly account for the paucity of the data base.  First, early sites are few in number and difficult to find because they are frequently represented by single finds of distinctive projectile points.   In addition, many regions have poor documentation of most sites in existing databases.  Finally, few systematic research efforts have been undertaken in many areas with the intention of locating sites from this time period.  Thus, a wider range of sites needs to be identified before we can truly understand the lifeways of our earliest inhabitants.  This project proposes to develop the existing database of Paleoindian/Early Archaic sites with the objective of generating a predictive model of Paleoindian/Early Archaic settlement in a portion of west central Michigan.  The study area will include Allegan, Kent, and Ottawa counties, a region where few sites have been recorded.  Paleoindian and Early Archaic site distributions will be compiled by utilizing publications on artifacts (primarily projectile points) from these two periods and State of Michigan Archaeological Site File records.  These existing sources will be supplemented with information from landowners, artifact collectors, and historical societies which constitute a relatively untapped resource and will be the most important in discovering the patterns of Paleoindian/Early Archaic land use for the study area.  Through these methods, it will be possible to establish a comprehensive database of known locations of sites in these three counties which will become the basis of a predictive model that can be tested by systematic survey. Maps of the site locations will be created and compared to environmental and other features to develop a testable predictive model. This model will be a valuable resource for future inquiries into early settlement and adaptive strategies in the region and also can be used to identify new sites in the future.

Yup!  That’s what I’m doing starting in May.  It’s pretty exciting now that it is getting closer.  I recall being ready to strangle the nearest person while writing that whole proposal out.  All I have left for this semester is two take-home finals and one in-class final to do.  Then, I have a week of a break that my SO and I will be off to visit our families on the other side of the state (and maybe some friends). 

Monday, May 9th there is a kick-off luncheon for McNair Scholars students and mentors.  Pictures taken for the journal and website and all that fun stuff.  I am already setting up appointments to look at artifacts, have finalized my list of museums to contact for setting up the artifact identification days, and started making my lithic recording forms.  Now, as this all draws nearer, I’m getting that much more excited.

My typical McNair week:
Monday —  GRE (Verbal) study class: 9:00am-10:30am; Wellness seminar 10:45am-12:00pm
Tuesday —  Graduate School Research and Application Preparation(GS-RAP) class: 9:00am-11:15am; Toastmasters meeting 11:30am- 1:00pm
Wednesday — GRE (Math) study class: 9:00am-10:30am; Yoga: 10:45-12:00pm
Thursday — GS-RAP class: 9:00am-10:45am; McNair Meeting: 11:00-1:00pm

… Every week save for practice GRE exams, 5-,10-,15-minute presentations, and the McNair conference in Buffalo.  Check out the links if you want to know more about what each one of those things is.

Critiquing an Abstract

11 Mar

 Recent national and regional research into the distribution of Paleoindian projectile points has produced some initial patterning data. However, there is still much to be discovered related to distributions and criticisms include a lack of data from certain counties and a failure to collect data from non-academic sources. Data will be compiled by utilizing state records of sites with Paleoindian components, gathering data from landowners and artifact collectors, and adding it to the known academic publications on Paleoindian projectile point distributions in Allegan, Kent, and Ottawa Counties of Michigan. Through this, a comprehensive database of these artifacts and a distributional map will created and analyzed for patterning and statistical probabilities of the locations of further sites will be generated. These tools will be a valuable resource for future inquiries into Paleoindian settlement and adaptive strategies as well as locating new sites with which more information can be gathered to further understand the Paleoindian period in Michigan.
Word Count: 156 / Word Limit: 300

– – – – –

What do you understand about the above statement, what do you absolutely not understand, and what do you think could be made more clear?

I’m gonna break this down now to explain it. A self-critique of my own abstract if you will. I hope to be able to flesh this out to make it understandable to many people without intrinsic knowledge of the subject matter.

– – – – –

Recent national and regional research into the distribution of Paleoindian projectile points has produced some initial patterning data.

There have been recent studies at the regional and national levels to show how the earliest inhabitants of the Americas, also known as Paleoindians, were distributed across the land by looking at the distribution of diagnostic styles of projectile points.

However, there is still much to be discovered related to distributions and criticisms include a lack of data from certain counties and a failure to collect data from non-academic sources.

However, there is still much to be discovered related to Paleoindian distributions because current studies are largely incomplete due to a lack of data from certain states and counties  long with a wider ranges of sources for the data needs to be considered.

Data will be compiled by utilizing the resource of state records of sites with Paleoindian components, gathering data from landowners and artifact collectors, and adding it to the known academic publications on Paleoindian projectile point distributions in Allegan, Kent, and Ottawa Counties of Michigan.

The study area will be the Allegan, Kent, and Ottawa Counties of Michigan.  Paleoindian distribution will be compiled by utilizing known academic publications on Paleoindian projectile points and State of Michigan records of sites with Paleoindian period components that may or may not have been studied and published.  Landowners, artifact collectors, and historical societies are a relatively untapped resource and will be the most important in discovering the patterns of Paleoindian land use for the study area.

Through this, a comprehensive database of these artifacts and a distributional map will created and analyzed for patterning and statistical probabilities of the locations of further sites will be generated.

Through these methods, it will be possible to establish a comprehensive database of known locations of Paleoindian projectile point discoveries in these three counties.   Futhermore, a distributional map of the find locations for artifacts will be created and compared to known sites.  Statistical probabilities for further sites can be generated with these data.

These tools will be a valuable resource for future inquiries into Paleoindian settlement and adaptive strategies as well as locating new sites with which more information can be gathered to further understand the Paleoindian period in Michigan.

More information can be gathered beyond this study to even further understand the Paleoindian period in Michigan. These tools will a valuable resource for future inquiries into Paleoindian settlement and adaptive strategies.  They can also be used to identify new sites and better understand where probable sites are located.

Overall, the new abstract comes to 262 words, with which I am much more pleased.  I also feel it is much more descriptive and explanatory.  Though really, this is just me.  I would appreciate any feedback.  (Also, a few minor touch-ups were made on this final one with word use, etc. as I fit it all together.

– – – – –

There have been recent studies at the regional and national levels to show how the earliest inhabitants of the Americas, also known as Paleoindians, were spread across the land by looking at the distribution of diagnostic styles of projectile points. However, there is still much to be discovered related to Paleoindian distributions because current studies are largely incomplete due to a lack of data from certain states and counties long with a wider ranges of sources for the data needs to be considered. The study area will be the Allegan, Kent, and Ottawa Counties of Michigan. Paleoindian distribution will be compiled by utilizing known academic publications on Paleoindian projectile points and State of Michigan records of sites with Paleoindian period components that may or may not have been studied and published. Landowners, artifact collectors, and historical societies are a relatively untapped resource and will be the most important in discovering the patterns of Paleoindian land use for the study area. Through these methods, it will be possible to establish a comprehensive database of known locations of Paleoindian projectile point discoveries in these three counties. Futhermore, a distributional map of the find locations for artifacts will be created and compared to known sites. Statistical probabilities for further sites can be generated with these data. More information can be gathered beyond this study to even further understand the Paleoindian period in Michigan. These tools will a valuable resource for future inquiries into Paleoindian settlement and adaptive strategies. They can also be used to identify new sites and better understand where probable sites are located.

Lost in Translation

27 Feb

I know I have a few readers, my site stats say so.  My readers are probably just my friends, but you’re all lurking!

And after a long-winded phone call the other night with a close friend, I realized that most of you unless trained in archaeology have no idea what I’m talking about with most of the terms I use.  This is something I really don’t want.  I want to be able to communicate with academics and people so far from the discipline that they don’t even know what a projectile point is, much less a Gainey point made of Upper Mercer chert found in association with a netsinker (of which is not possible, for those who -don’t- know,  aka all of you most likely).

So I need you guys to tell me what’s up and where I’m losing you.  I need to know where I’m being too wordy or not explaining enough.

Honestly, writing for grants and such is a big part of my future both in grad school and my professional life.  I’ll need money that comes from grant providers who many have next to no experience dealing with my field or specializations and I need to be able to communicate to them what I want to do and why it is important. 

Will you all help me out?  Maybe go back to a post or a few which you didn’t really understand and tell me, or keep me on my toes in the future.  You’ll be helping me out gratuitously. 🙂

Writing a Research Proposal

23 Feb

My research project is fully decided.  I will be holding artifact identification events at local museums and historical societies and recording where the Paleoindian/Early Archaic projectile points were collected, as well as examining state records for Paleoindian components in sites in the Allegan, Ottawa, and Kent counties.  These data will be compiled into a comprehensive database and a distributional map created.  Hopefully altogether, statistically probable Paleoindian sites with be able to be identified.  Time permitting, these data will be analyzed through GIS technologies and perhaps submitted to PIDBA.

Onward to the research proposal.

Cleverly enough, I scheduled it so that I can write a research proposal and use the same information for my Archaeological Methods proposal.  Now, because its a cross-discipline scholars program, the people at McNair have issued a proposal template.  Jan has given us the assignment in Methods to base it off of some NSF proposals.  These are great, truly to see the format, style and flow.

However, for someone who has never written anything like this before it can be quite a hard task.

I’m having trouble stating my research question, writing an abstract, and planning a budget.  The only thing that isn’t troubling me thus far is the literature review, which is really a glorified research paper stating the background of the subject of the research, as in what has been done before.

Well, I still have a few weeks.  Right now I have to concentrate on midterms, papers, and exams for classes that are all due in the upcoming week.  Wish me luck!

Along the lines of possible

13 Feb

Thursday night I started to get sick. Not so unusal for me really. I have a tendency to be sick a lot, poor health, weak body. It doesn’t mean I don’t try, though. If anything, my weaknesses in this area are my reason for overcompensation in other areas. I’m stubborn to a fault.

I had bronchitis during my field school, I couldn’t breath yet there I was to shovel and sift. Jan drove me home and yelled at me to not come in until I was better.

“I’ve got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom.”  ~Thomas Carlyle

So, back to the beginning. When I found myself still feeling pretty sick Friday morning, no biggy. Sure it felt a bit worse than normal but that means that it would pass faster. I went to class, could barely think much less concentrate on others’ words, and got through half of the day. And I gave in finally, called for a ride and promptly fell over.

Moral of the story is, that there is such thing as pushing oneself too much. I had planned over Friday night and Saturday to write three papers and study for my Chemistry exam all for Monday. I planned to get caught up on my readings. Instead, I couldn’t get out of bed until this afternoon. My fever averaged 101^F, but peaked at 103^F and I had minor dehydration.

I was planning on spending today work free, using today to celebrate my SO’s birthday and Valentine’s day with him all in one. Instead I’m stuck working because I pushed my body too hard once again.

But so far two of my three papers are done and its only 7:30. I’ve studies some chemistry and I’ve started the third paper. I’ll get it all done tonight, I’m positive, but Valentine’s Day and his birthday celebrations won’t be happening fully until next weekend.

There are three things to take from this:

  1. Don’t push yourself forward so hard that you end up falling behind.   As the Great Aesop said, “Slow and steady wins the race.”  And if that means taking a day off to let yourself recover so that you can continue being 100%, awesome.  Also, not waiting until the last second to get everything that needs to be done over with.
  2. Always make a Plan B.  You can’t be overly disappointed, sad, hopeless, etc when something doesn’t work out becuase there’s always another way.
  3. It really is possible to do anything.  Yeah, half the time I spent in delirium from a fever, the other half crying because I couldn’t concentrate on writing and I thought “Well, there goes my grade. I’ll never get this done!”  But here I am (okay writing a blog post instead of…) doing the work and having most of it done.  All I had to do was keep my calm and just do it.

Perfectionism, the source of all (my) evil!

7 Feb

As part of the McNair Scholars career seminar at Grand Valley, we were to read a short article on procrastination.  I found it really to be quite a good blog posting on the issue and can be found here.  And as I won’t be talking much about it since I feel that that covers it, I implore you to read it.

Perfectionism doesn’t only lead to procrastination however… It can lead to so many more terrible things.  Pessimism, depression, academic nihilism, self-destruction, lethargy among many others. And when they’re all mixed together, it makes for some bitter soup.

For me, these are especially true.  Let me tell you a little story.

Not all that long ago, and for the better part of my life I sought to be acknowledged for the intelligence that I possess — I felt that it’s what made me stand out.  I didn’t get good grades, mostly due to that nasty thing called perfectionism.  I procrastinated, I didn’t get work done.  Work I did do, I didn’t turn in because it wasn’t good enough and I thought I’d be judged.  My grades started their gradual downfall during 6th grade for me.  I didn’t even care that I got a detention for every 2nd assignment I didn’t turn in.  But then I started hearing “I’m disappointed in you” and “I know you’re smarter than these grades” and “Why can’t you do better?” at the parent-teacher conference (on both sides).  Thus began my fears that I would never be good enough to please those that I sought the praise and acknowledgement from.

And I didn’t do the work except which interested me.  So, I got A’s in a few classes per semester in Jr. High and High School… and that pulled me along.  There was a school I had really wanted to go to for college — because all along this I still valued knowledge as the most important trait one could have — but my high school grades were nowhere near good enough for Grand Valley.  I pulled up my GPA just a little and managed to send out some applications to other places.

And I got accepted to Wayne State.  But the classes didn’t interest me or they were too hard.  I withdrew from all but on by the end of the semester and managed a C in that last one.  Then I didn’t both signing up for the classes for the next semester.  I went to community college.  And it was easy, and I took classes that interested me and got As.  I worked at a couple and were surprised that I could do well.  After a couple of years dilly dallying with nothing to really show for it except some new random knowledge about all sorts of things, I finally got enough credits and a high enough GPA to apply as a transfer student to Grand Valley.

There I was… first year transfer.  Shy, roommate from a foreign country who liked to hang out with other SE Asians, and without my family or friends that I had been hanging out with for the past four years. Alone. Depressed.  The worst depression that I had felt since a little stint I had in a hospital.  I would like to blame outside sources of turmoil for my failings there, but it really was me and my attitudes that caused it.

Then, I missed a few days of classes because I didn’t want to leave my room, much less my bed. I fell behind.  I couldn’t find the will in me to catch up, but I talked to people and I tried.  I was given a second chance and I made the effort to make up past work.  But then time came again when I just didn’t want to get out of bed again… different this time.  I just couldn’t see how I could possibly get an A now, and for me an A was all that mattered.

Over Winter break between semesters, I got some supporting words.  I was told that hey, if Grand Valley didn’t work out I could always try for Oakland University which would be closer to everyone.  I contemplated it for a bit.

I can’t remember if it was over time or right away I realized my splitting path.  I also remembered one of my favorite poems — Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.”

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

It’s always held some significance for me.  Being independent, creative, a treader of new or less travelled paths.  I take that to heart.   In this moment that I’ve been describing however… it was clear that one was the easier of the two to navigate, safer.  I could stay with one of my parents, be close to home, attempt to get the degree from somewhere else where it was just easier to do.

But no, I told myself, slapped myself really.  No.  This is the school you have been wanting to go to since you were 15.  This is the school that you dreamed about.  This is what you want.  You will always wonder what could have been. You will always wonder what would have happened if you hadn’t given up.  You will never ever be satisfied with yourself if you take that safer path.  This would be something that you’d regret for the rest of your life.

So prove yourself, I yelled at me. Prove that you’re worth something.  And who gives a damn if others will never give you their approval. Just freaking do it!

And I did. Two years after that first semester, I’m taking my last make-up class finally.  I learned that I do have what it takes to be an archaeologist (but that’s another story all together — maybe next time).  I learned that I can.  I can.  From a first semester with two W’s and two E’s -> two semesters later, Lambda Alpha Anthropology Honor’s Society -> two years after that first semester, three A’s and an A- and the Dean’s List.

As cheesy as it may sound, I learned that anything is possible as long as the willpower and understanding that the path won’t be easy. 

And maybe a little more importantly,  a ‘B’ is good enough.