The weather is turning nice (finally). It was in the 60s today, and it’s supposed to get up to 70 tomorrow. How nice!
(Yes, I blog and talk about the weather. I don’t think it’s boring.)
In other news, last week was the first week that I went back to work full time. The first week of full time work is always the hardest. It happened last summer, so I knew to expect it this summer. You end up looking at the clock every twenty minutes and wonder how you could possibly spend a whole 8 hours at work without shooting yourself in the head. … Or at least I do. The second week is better because I get in the groove and only wind up looking at the clock about every 3-4 hours, which is much nicer. The groove lasts for the rest of the summer.
And it’s not that I dislike my job, I actually love it, but we’re hidden away on the third floor of the Benson in a relatively small office stuffed with 6 computers and 12 monitors. And I’m alone for about four hours of the day. But on the bright side, I’m animating and I’m the project manager, so it’s enjoyable. It’s simultaneously claustrophobic, lonely, fun, and creative.
I’ve realized recently that I think and think and think about some things, and then never talk about them with other people. But because I think about it so much, I assume that everybody knows about it. Work is one of those things. I’m trying to rectify it; I realized recently that my own sister didn’t know that I was the project manager and had been for almost a year. That’s pretty sad. I’m the project manager for an online textbook entitled ChemCompanion Interactive that the BYU Chemistry department is developing. I’ve been working on the project for almost two years, I was hired as a video editor, about a year later I began animating as well, and when the previous project manager graduated and went to medical school, I was asked to take over. I love this project, and I totally believe in it. I believe that we’re walking on the cutting edge of revolutionizing how chemistry is taught and learned. We use a combination of aural lectures with animated visuals to bring the world of chemistry to life. We’re trying to connect chemistry (which is in many ways invisible) to real experiences that the students have, and to help them visualize exactly how molecules react and interact with each other. I’m excited about the work that I do, and I love it.
I think that part of the reason I love it is because it’s using visual culture to make learning easier. People don’t understand how powerful visual images are. What you see every day impacts who you are, what you believe in, and how you think. It impacts how you learn and what you learn. If you see some things (e.g. violence) too often, you can become desensitized to something that used to horrify you. On the other hand, if you see something that you’ve only heard about before (e.g. slaughtering animals), it can bring a whole new perspective to things that you’ve always taken for granted (e.g. eating meat). Seeing something affects your understanding of it; it’s one thing to know that animals had to die to make your meat, but participating in or seeing the slaughter truly brings you into the circle of life and it better acquaints you with the realities of life. Seeing a band in concert is a different experience than hearing it on the radio, not only because of the difference in the music, but the difference in seeing the band. Everyone sees actors on TV or in the movies, but it’s a completely different thing to see them in person. Seeing an actor doesn’t make you best friends with them, but it gives you an experience. The experience can be hard to pin down, but it undeniably affects you.
At any rate, I love my job, I think it’s fascinating, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for an undergrad to participate in. It’s also an example of how being proficient and showing up will get you places in life. I got the job because I applied to be a Chemistry TA. I wanted to be a Chemistry TA because it’s one of the best paying departments on campus and I had the classes under my belt. When Dr. Wood saw that I was interested in both art and chemistry, he sent me an e-mail asking if I was interested in the project. I met with him on campus, and was hired the next day. I showed up consistently to work over the year, but then last summer I showed up every day and worked 40 hours weeks. When the previous project manager left, I was asked to replace him despite the fact that I was younger and had less Chemistry experience than almost everyone else on the team. It was really wonderful to have my hard work rewarded. This year I received a research grant for the project, which was also very rewarding.
My job is wonderful, I love it. I just need to remember that when I’ve been sitting alone, animating in an office for 8 hours.