Friday, April 8, 2011

Today in Dissertation Writing, Politics, and Jewelry

PDK got back from his loooong trip to India yesterday -- woohoo! Brought me some lovely presents of the gold and silver kind, too :)  I love the pretty silver earrings he and his sister picked out -- they make the loveliest chiming sound if I shake my head and I've never seen anything like them. I did find some very similar ones on etsy so you guys can see what they look like (since I am too lazy/busy to take pics). Apparently they are called jhumka in North India and jimiki or jitniki in South India, and they are shaped like bells, or you could see them as inverted lotuses.
image via jhumkas on etsy
Instead of hooks, though, mine have posts like these. So beautiful!
image via jhumkas on etsy
So after his three weeks off, he's back at work today, and I am home, planning on doing PhD work.... I am revising and adding to a chapter (well... the chapter, since it's the only one I have written), and I have a plan of how to do it, finally, after rereading and editing and changing the organization of the forty pages I have already written.  I've been thinking about it all day, but have yet to put pen to paper (well, keystrokes to Microsoft Word).

I am also excited about my plan for the evening, which might sound boring to most people: I am going to a meeting with Santa Barbara's representative in California's Assembly, Das Williams, to hear him talk about California's budget, which is in a constant state of crisis. I long wanted to be a lawyer and follow in my civil-rights-defending father's footsteps... until I came to the realization that I was not sure I could emotionally or mentally handle the weight of deciding others' lives with my actions, since any mistakes I made could mean a loss of freedom or loss of life for my clients. Still, I have remained pretty politically engaged, especially with my pet issues: prisoners' rights, women's rights, the environment, and higher education.

I am looking forward to hearing an update on the budget, not least because it directly affects my employment at the University of California. Grad student, undergrads, and faculty at the UC have been fighting and protesting budget cuts, and Jerry Brown, who I voted for, is still proposing an additional $1 billion in cuts to the UCs on top of what has been cut in the last two years, even with his proposals with increased taxes. A sad day for a public university system.

The constant undermining of public support for higher education is one reason that I am thinking strongly of leaving academia when I (finally) finish my PhD. There is no reason to stick around in a system that is making it impossible for me to actually engage with and directly educate students, not just lecture and evaluate them, and yet is still giving them a degree at the end.

If you are interested in reading more about the way that college students are losing out while paying more for a college education in California, you might want to check out the links below. I am just going to put my blinkers on for the next four hours and focus on poetry, and then return to caring deeply about these problems at the town hall meeting this evening.

Links

  • Remaking Higher Education -- a great on-the-ground blog by a UCSB Prof who is involved in the UC administration;
  • "A Perfect Storm in Undergraduate Education," Parts 1 and 2 in the Chronicle of Higher Education;
  • This activity is a fun and interactive way to try to fix California's budget problems.

6 comments:

jhumkas said...

Hi Tina,

Thank You! for using my Jhumka pictures! Hope you wear your's often!

Simply Smitten said...

Those earrings are gorgeous, I would be shaking my head around all the time just to hear them chime! Hope you 'enjoy' the meeting, maybe you'll be surprised and things will turn out better than you had hoped. :)

Taylor Lynn said...

What great earrings, I love them! They're so pretty!

Jordan said...

The earrings are so cute & unique!! They look just like something I would wear ;D
Beautiful! *Hugs!*
Jordan

Amanda said...

I love them! So gorgeous!

The Black Heart Revolution said...

If only your California school system had the mantra of tranquility your new earrings seem to evoke!!! They are beautiful indeed:) I hope your meeting goes well; it's such a shame that schools and teachers are taking such hard breaks. These things are happening in Pennsylvania also. (tsk, tsk).

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