boast post

Boast Post!

We haven’t had one of these in awhile, and I think we need one. It’s the tail end of term, and everyone is getting a little sloggy. The sun is shining later and later every day, but it seems to be taunting us while we sit inside, buried under piles of work. Many of you are probably nursing sore backs and hands from lugging and notating piles of papers, and I know some of you are cursing the gods of exam scheduling who put you on the last possible day. I’m blurry-eyed and anxious from hours of very carefully clicking buttons, magic buttons that generate emails telling new and returning Master’s students that they’re in possession of a shiny new Canada Graduate Scholarship (or not, as the case may be, and god forbid that I click the wrong button). I’ve got a tower of ethics protocols awaiting review that looks set to topple. The hustle to meet admission targets is making everyone edgy, and the pressure to get all the things done over the summer that was the bane of my graduate student life has come back with a vengeance now that I’m in admin (blast it! There’s no escaping the academic calendar).

Still, despite the end-of-the-marathon fatigue that always sets in this time of year, and the frayed nerves that accompany it, good things still abound. Let’s celebrate! Since it’s been awhile, here’s how it works: you have to boast about yourself, without apologizing or downplaying. Did you have an article accepted? Put together an awesome conference panel? Finish a dissertation chapter? Win an award? Finally figure out how to do that thing in PHP? Get an unexpected but meaningful compliment? Tell the world! Or at least, the little chunk of the world that reads this blog.

I have three whole things, which feels like a lot today. 

First, 60% of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship applications I midwifed (as a friend so delightfully put it) this year won awards. That’s a huge jump over last year, a crazy percentage considering how hard Vaniers are to get (they’re Canada’s Fulbright), and a wonderful assurance that a whack of our students will have phenomenal funding and the recognition that they’re the strongest students in their fields. I’m particularly proud of one successful application–it was rather a diamond in the rough when I first got it,  so rough that it almost got scrapped, and after lots of hard work by me and by the student, it positively shone. 

Second, I was invited to speak on a panel on careers for humanists at MLA 2015, which makes me happy twice over because a) I love Vancouver, and b) I didn’t even have to write an abstract! 

Third, I’m lucky enough to work in a super supportive office full of thoroughly delightful people, a number of whom, including the Dean, told me this week that I’m doing a good job. Yes, I know that I’m a very competent person. No, I haven’t screwed up in any major ways in the last seven months. But man, external validation feels good. 

So, that’s me. It’s been a crazy, crazy few months, ones in which caffeine and grouchiness and late nights and insomnia have played far too large a part, so let’s start the slow slide into summer and the turning over of a new leaf with some boast-y goodness. And look–no self-deprecation or cringing!  Your turn! 

9 thoughts on “Boast Post!

  1. AWESOME Melissa! I'll try it too:

    I have been invited to UBC to give a talk on some of my work as well as the work that CWILA ( is doing. It will be my first talk as chair of the board. I am nervous and excited.

    I too was invited onto a panel for the 2015 MLA. This panel is on contingent labour. I feel that in part the writing I do here at H&E may be a reason for that invitation, and that feels good.

    At the end of this term (next week!) I will have taught more than 50 classes since I finished my PhD. Rather than feel that number is staggering (though I feel that too) I choose to see it as a massive accomplishment.


  2. BIG High Fives to both of you! And this is a great idea 🙂
    I've had several students tell me they're sad I won't be continuing to work at UPEI — they hadn't understood I was only here on a contract, and they'd been hoping to take more courses with me.
    I've also had 1 interview for a non-academic job, and I have another one scheduled — which makes me feel good about pitching my academic skills in ways that people in the nonprofit and/or business sector can understand.


  3. Erin, I can't even imagine the number of students you've touched and inspired in those 50 classes. What an accomplishment! I'm so excited to see you at the MLA, and I hope someone records your UBC talk!


  4. So many things to celebrate!! Congratulations all around!!

    My boast is that I won a Senior Teaching Fellowship at Fordham for my fifth year (next year), which means I officially have six full years of funding. Woot! I'm already looking forward to getting back in the classroom, and happy that I don't need to worry about applying for funding for my last year.

    Also, due to SSHRC funding and Fordham's generosity, I get to be in England looking at awesome medieval manuscripts for a few weeks! I feel honored and privileged to be here.


  5. I AM IN FLORIDA!!!! For a conference … but, FLORIDA!

    Okay. Here's my two boasts. First, even though I've had a TON of administrative commitments and new teaching prep this term, I have continued very consistently and steadily to do my research and writing throughout. I am amazingly proud of myself, and it feels FANTASTIC!

    Second, next week I'll be in Los Angeles, giving a presentation at the Los Angeles Community Museum of Art (LACMA) on selfies. And they were the ones who approached me! And they're paying all my expenses! And an honorarium! And it's a mixed panel of academics and artists and the guy that founded SnapChat! And you know how they found me? My public presence on the internet where I talk about my research on selfies! Go, knowledge mobilization!!!


  6. Oh it's actually not the Michael Smith–I can't hold that as a student attending school outside of Canada. It's just a deal I've worked out with Fordham since SSHRC allows them to pay me way less. But thanks!


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