So the big update is that I'm now engaged. Kate asked me to marry her while we were at Disney. It was amazing and very memorable. We have set the date for July 3, 2011. The date is kinda unusual in that it's on a Sunday, but the 4th is an official holiday so I'm hoping few people will have to work. Plus, it's actually traditional in Judaism to have wedding on Sundays so I kinda like it. Kate has since moved out to Washington and we've officially been living together for one month, come Sept 1. Honestly I love it. We took the first month to essentially paint the house (4 of the 5 rooms!), get unpacked and settle. It was nice to have that time to really adjust to each other.
My second year paper is nearly completed. It's taken longer than we expected, but that IS expected. I spent all summer gathering data, analyzing results, and writing the methodology section. I am the first of three authors. We are submitting the article to Academy of Management Journal. It's the top journal in my field. My advisor reviewed and essentially re-wrote a third of the paper which was expected but still a bit frustrating and embarrassing, (though I totally know I'm not bad for where I'm at in the program.) He said our writing was good for 1st years, but still needed work to get up to the level of an A journal. It was interesting to see his writing style and how much better his was... it makes me yearn to that good someday. He really thinks this has a shot at an A, and thus I am VERY appreciative that he put so much work into it.
I am meanwhile working on a paper with another prof (Kristine), using etsy to analyze small business entrepreneurship and co-opetition (when competitors co-operate in the market). We are in the exploratory phases of that one and I have to create a "random" list of participants by next week.
I am also reading a ton of stuff on IPOs (initial public offering - when a company first decides to "go public" and list their firm on the stock market) in order to write an abstract so I can attend an entrepreneurship conference, Babson. Babson only accepts about 250 of 700 abstracts each year and you have to be accepted to attend. That is due mid-October. Thankfully that paper will also work for one of my seminars.
Classes have started. I'm taking 2 stats and 2 seminars. It's interesting because my first year, my sole focus was getting through my classes. Now it's almost like classes are secondary. My primary focus is research and I'm trying to just get as much information from the seminars as possible while still keeping my focus. Thankfully I have no final exams this year. Only papers. I have an organizational behavior seminar and have no idea what my research area will be in... though another prof is possibly interested in the topic of creativity and I think that may be interesting... So that is more extra reading I need to work on to get ideas.
I have one idea for one of my dissertation papers. (I will be doing three small rather than one big.) It is in the area of IPOs and Entrepreneurship. My advisor came and talked to me a few days ago and apparently we have access (via his professional network) to a database of Chinese IPOs (which is very hard to get data on). I have been welcomed to join a phone conference between my advisor and 2 other profs at another university to discuss ideas and topics to consider. I am thrilled at the opportunity to expand my network like this. Plus I like the topic. Next semester my advisor will be leading an unofficial seminar in Entrepreneurship (It will officially be a 'directed study' and thus he won't get paid, but it will be just as intense as a regular seminar) and my cohorts and I are allowed to use whatever papers we develop in the class as part of our dissertation. So even though I'm only starting my second year, by the end of this year, I should have a good start at one, if not two of my dissertation papers.
I think the hardest thing right now is learning how to balance everything. Last year was difficult emotionally because I didn't have a support network here, but I therefor had nothing else to do but work. The negatives includes mild depression, counseling, and about $5000 in travel expenses. This year I have part of my support network here, but as result, have a playmate and thus don't want to work as much. Arguably this could make me equally or more productive in shorter amounts of time, but that I believe will be once I have that balance. I also feel a bit bad because I'm working so hard to find a balance here, that I feel like I'm neglecting other friends back home. This is hard because I do miss my people. And I know I'm not going to be traveling home nearly as much this year. Thanksgiving, then Winter break are the soonest at this point. Plus I am not planning on going home for Spring break in March. (We are planning a vacation with Mom.) I miss my people, but I also know that this year I have the strength to stay here longer and thus work harder towards my degree and future. Meanwhile, it's really nice to actually have someone in Pullman who I want to spend time with. It takes a bit of learning how to prioritize things again. I am fully confident that it will all work out, and that I'll have a schedule settled in the next week or so. Overall, I have absolutely no regrets, it's simply learning a new pattern. I am very happy with what I'm doing, where I'm going, and who I'm with. And I'm hoping, that by working so hard, I will be able to move back to the mid-west eventually.... so I can have more of my people again.