2012 Retrospective: My Big Year in Review

2012 was a big year for me. I earned my PhD and I obtained my first job with that degree. I traveled for my research–first to California, then to Detroit,  and later to Germany. And, my wife, our cat, and I relocated from Ohio to Atlanta for my new job at Georgia Tech and we moved into my old house in Norcross, which had not sold during the past six years of graduate school.

Unlike years past, I thought that it might be appropriate to jot down some of the milestones of 2012. Here are a few of those big things:

  • January 5-8: Yufang and I attended the MLA Convention for the first time and met up with a number of our friends and colleagues.
  • February: I spent two weeks in Riverside, California to read and research in the University of California, Riverside’s Eaton Collection in the Library’s Special Collections and Archives. This was an incredibly useful research trip that gave me the original research materials to complete my dissertation. Prior to leaving for my research trip–funded by the prestigious R. D. Mullen Fellowship–I had completed my dissertation’s theory chapter and compiled outlines for the other chapters.
  • April 2: I interviewed for the Marion L. Brittain Fellowship at my alma mater, Georgia Tech.
  • April 9: I delivered printed copies of my dissertation to my committee members. Since my trip to Riverside, I wrote approximately 68,000 words for a final word count of 81,948. Needless to say, I channeled the spirit of Philip K. Dick during this feverish time of hypergraphia. I could not have written this amount in such a short time had I not already created an efficient organization system for my research and deployed a number of digital humanities tools in my workflow. It was a terribly stressful time, because I drove myself relentlessly to complete it as quickly as possible. However, I would not have had it any other way.
  • April 19: I accepted an offer from Georgia Tech to join the rechristened School of Literature, Media, and Communication as a Brittain Fellow! My term of appointment is for three years.
  • May 15: I successfully defended my dissertation titled, “Brains, Minds, and Computers in Literary and Science Fiction Neuronarratives.” I came prepared with a suitcase of gear and donned with my only suit. During my opening statement, I showed off the ebook version of William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy on a Powerbook 145.
  • June 4-15: I met my parents in Norcross to work on my house. We replaced the main water line, repaired the plumbing, installed a new dishwasher, worked on the house, and cleaned the yard. Prior to this trip, I had maintained a vegetarian lifestyle. During my second day of using a grubbing hoe, I decided that I needed to eat meat again.
  • June 28-July 1: I attended the SFRA Conference in Detroit. This was my second and final meeting as the organization’s vice president. I presented my paper, “Philip K. Dick as Pioneer of the Brain Revolution.”
  • July 10: Yufang and I said goodbye to our friends in Kent and drove straight through to our new home in Norcross.
  • August 11: While I was unable to attend the ceremony, I officially graduated from Kent State University with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
  • August 13-17: I attended new hire orientation at Georgia Tech, or as my cohort and I came to know it: Brittain Fellow Boot Camp.
  • August 21: I began teaching at Georgia Tech. I had three sections of ENGL1101. I designed my classes around the theme of becoming better communicators and professionals through neuroscience.
  • September 1: I began building the Lego Death Star set.
  • September 10: My Dad called me early in the morning to tell me that my Granny Ellis had passed away during the night. I wrote about it here.
  • November 15-18: I attended the first international Philip K. Dick conference at UT-Dortmund in Dortmund, Germany. I delivered a heavily revised version of my SFRA 2012 paper, “Philip K. Dick as Pioneer of the Brain Revolution.” The conference was a fantastic experience. I promise to write more about this in a separate post. In the meantime, you can see my pictures from Germany here.
  • November 22: My parents spent the Thanksgiving holiday with us in Norcross.
  • December 16: I filed my students’ grades and completed my first semester teaching at my alma mater. Looking backward, it was a tough semester, but it was extremely rewarding. I will reflect and write about this more soon.
  • December 17: I completed building the Lego Death Star set.
  • December 25: My parents spent Christmas with Yufang and me. They arrived bearing many gifts, and they took us out for more surprises. I believe that we all had a really wonderful time!
  • December 26+: I am preparing my teaching and publication materials. I also have a few job applications to complete. I have been using my chain saw and weed eater with saw blade a lot. When the weather and wind permit, I get to burn a small bit of excessive yard waste that I have to do something with.
  • December 29: Yufang and I met our friend (and fellow Georgia Tech alumna) Smitha for pastries and tea at Sweet Hut. We had a great time catching up.
  • December 30: Now, I am writing this post.

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Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.