New name, new direction.

I started this blog during my PhD. That was a mistake.  

In my often gradious, wandering thoughts, I believed this would be a place to document my journey and as an incentive to my daily writing habit. In other words, I thought that this would be beneficial for others and people would actually read regularly enough to “force” myself to continue writing on it regularly.

That failed.  

I underestimated the amount of my finite time would be devoted to my dissertation and working with my advisors, that I simply couldn’t add one more thing. So, naturally, this got put aside for more pressing writing.  

Yet, every so often, an idea would bubble up that would entertain me enough to write about, but would be set aside again for other more important manuscripts. 

So why now? How will this be different?  

Well, maybe it won’t. 

Maybe, I’ll abandon this just as quickly as before. I’m hoping I won’t. 

My intention is to document some of the “unspokens” of academic life that hidden just behind the vale. Also, I just need to get some thoughts out to clear space for new ones.

So, hang around if you like. Maybe there’ll be a nugget that will be helpful or informative. Maybe it will just be ramblings. Who knows. I’ll still keep posting them semi-regularly while the internet is mostly still free.

Creating the Digital Self

Being on  the early end of the "millennial" generation, I have had the luxury of spending the bulk of my childhood in a very low tech world, but having a connected beginning to my adulthood. Having "grown-up" as the tech field matured, I have a familiarity with the new and hip; changes in tech are not as daunting because it is familiar.

I did however benefit from things that the generations of today do not get. I learned to navigate without gps. I had friend before Facebook told me who were my friends. Visiting a friend meant walking or biking over to their house to check if they were home. There were no cellphones or tablets. The adventures we had were created within, not dictated by code. Side note: this probably fostered the wanderlust I experience now.

However, this has given an appreciation for the tech that is available now. I knew a world without the iPod or iPhone, but I see what I can do with the tech now that can been beneficial when harnessed. The Internet of things is what I always envisioned the future to be and I am extremely excited to see what comes next.

The explosion during my relatively short tenure on this earth has been phenomial. The iPod came out when I started my undergraduate degree and the iPhone shortly there after. From those moments, it seems our world has been dominated by constant tech evolution. While I find extreme merit and benefit in the growing tech that is incorporated more personally into our lives, there is a point at which all of the information that we put out there becomes burdensome. 

With technology came the advent of communities to discuss similar interest; this birthed social media. Social media has become a blessing and a curse for everyone. We are benefited by instant connectivity and being able to connect in real time with family and friends anywhere in the globe, but increasingly we are having to maintain a second self; a digital self. The digital self is a concept I was introduced to trough a recent TED talk; check it out:

Our second digital self needs all of the attention that our first self needs, but happens at the speed of a computer. An instant. One that is impossible to keep up with. There is already an inherent difficulty to maintain our own self and become the people we want to be. Adolescents is already difficult to drift through. Now, we must maintain two selfs, or risk oe running away in a way that is not always to our benefit.  

I try to minimize my social media use, for a multitude or reasons, but at the same time utlize it to keep connected with others and maintain my second, digital self. I have no fear in what other find amount me, because I take the time to keep them maintained and put out only what will be of benefit. I see the benefit of remaining connected, but make an attempt to keep my digital self contained.

So here is what I use:

facebook: This is perhaps the most prevalent of social media sites. It infiltrates every aspect of what we do on and off the internet. With it's prevalence, you can stay connected with people you may have never kept in touch with. I find it helpful to maintain personal and professional relationships with people all around the world, because of its reach. However, I have tried to quit it. I dislike the idea of all the information I put there to be saved or accessible. I haven't though. As I mentioned the necessary maintenance of a digital self, if I don't whatever is put there by others can not be "controlled". 

twitter: Another that can run you over if not maintained, but has immense benefit. This provides instant, realtime updates on any topic. There is a lot of useless waist that individuals "must" tweet about, but news organizations or companies can be followed to allow you an intimate, instant integration with them. Breaking news can be followed in live time or conversations can be had in a way that creates a social forum. It can be also be devistating; as realtime, can occur even when you are not engaged. 

instagram: This is a more fun social site, but again offers an insider view into the life at companies. Organizations and individuals can show what is uniquely their brand. What makes them, them.  

I know those are only a selection, but they are the only ones that live on my phone. What do you use? Please share in the comments. 



So, welcome to the newest page of my online portfolio. As I have been curating this website and defining each section, I found myself wanting to write more of my own views and thoughts. The research page, which acts like a blog, gave me an initial start, but I found myself needing more freedom to write analytically; instead of just the research bits. So, I have decided to branch into a new page and let the research page focus solely on my research updates and article talk. 

And thus... A Wandering Mind.  

Now, why name a blog, on a phd portfolio, A Wandering Mind? Typically, a wandering mind isn't a good thing. It is usually synonymous with a diminutive drive and listlessness. We usually want our minds to be focused and intune, but I implore you to ponder, just for a moment, the idea of letting out minds wander and wonder. It is often in these moments when we have bursts of genius and creativity. When we let our minds roam, we find the solutions to questions we were searching for.

In the digital era we live in now, information is generated and found in milliseconds. Our time is driven by the speed at which a computer can respond and, in response, we are expected to think more and more rapidly to keep up. However, in doing so, we can become so fixated that we miss what we were looking for. J. R. R. Tolkien's quote, "Not all those who wander are lost", sums up the necessity of letting our minds wander and letting go of the belief that we must constantly stay focused (which it is why it is fixed atop the blog). It is a reminder that is it ok to drift, but drift with purpose. Let our mind's move from the rat race and find peace, because in those moments are where we can find what we are truly seeking and can tune out the buzz, so that we can refocus. 

Now that my philosophical side has shown a bit, I will invite you to continue to join me. I am not sure where topics will lead or even what they will be about, which is the joy of this section of my portfolio. The thoughts here are entirely of my own and derived from occasionally letting my mind wander. As a phd candidate, removing my mind from overdrive is difficult; there is a part inside of me that will always want to keep on the gas and moving forward with what I am working on, but, thankfully, a bigger part of me understands the necessity of stepping away, even if it is just for a moment. By taking myself outside of the "bubble" of a certain project, I can see more clearly. The answers become visible or a new direction begins, perhaps in a way I had not originally thought. 

So thank you for stopping by and reading through to the end; I hope my rambling make some sense outside of my own head. Stay tuned for more wanderings and please join the conversation.

Until next time.