A brief round-up of September, mostly rants.
- One day, I got a call from a previous employer just before my evening class was about to start. She asked if I was in HK, I said yes, and then she asked if I am free to help her the next day. I hesitated because she didn’t say what kind of help she needed, is it something that I can do from home or does it involve running an errand, is it going to take a few minutes or hours or a day? Besides, she still owed me payment. She said she needed help with photocopying and scanning and I thought to myself, “not again.” What did she take me for? A printing shop? I asked her whether or not I could use her department’s photocopier machine or whether the office administrator could help because my home printer is not well-suited for the task. She said something about leaving the documents for me to collect but I couldn’t hear her on the phone properly as I was outside. I told her I have to end the call as my class has started. Maybe she trusted I could help but I feel more like being taken for granted. Thankfully, when I followed up with the department’s administrator the next day, she has scanned and photocopied the documents to her.
- For my other part-time job, I was working in a project related to online counselling. I wrote before about reading the chat logs of frequent users to the service. I put a lot of heart into reading the chat histories, even though I was employed on a part-time basis, I was working full-time. I was very appalled with the counselling skills and quality, in particular, the case of a counsellor who hung up on a caller. When I highlighted this case to my team, I was disappointed by their cold response. How can it be okay for a helpline counsellor to hang up on a caller? From that moment, I’ve lost motivation in working on the project. Most of the attention is directed to the technological aspects and AI as opposed to the quality of counselling and improving user experience. Besides, now that school has started, I simply don’t have the time to take on additional work but I’ve promised to help with the manuscript writing. Hopefully, I can get that done by the end of this year and take my hands off the project.
- September was a month of information overload. Information about registration and course enrolment was unclear. I didn’t receive my registration package so I asked my department for it who told me to ask the graduate school who told me to check with the faculty. I wanted to take a course offered by the psychology department. My department (social work) asked me to check with the administrator from the psychology department who asked me to check with my department. When I told her I’ve already checked with my department, she said she will check and reply to me but she never did and when I followed up with her, her reply was unhelpful. Nobody seems to know what they are doing. There were other examples and even though they mostly involved a couple of email exchanges, I already felt I have had enough of human interaction.
- As research postgraduate students, we’ll be assigned to be teaching assistants (TA) in the next semester. During orientation week, a professor came into our class to talk about the roles and responsibilities of a TA. She took about five minutes to introduce herself and instead of telling us her experience, her introduction was more about how experienced she is, that she has been in the faculty for xx years, she has sat in xx committees, who she has taught etc. I don’t understand why she felt the need to spend five minutes emphasizing her experience, it felt to me like she was showing off her authority. She said that in addition to research, in order to excel, we have to be good at teaching, administration and building networks. I appreciate all that information and admit that what she said was true, but her emphasis on achievements and air of authority made me uncomfortable. It made me especially uncomfortable because I knew she was one of the professors involved in the autism project (although I don’t know if she was behind the team who published the misleading article that claimed that autistic people lack empathy) and that she teaches a course on special educational needs. For someone who specialises on individuals with diverse needs, her speech doesn’t seem particularly inclusive to me. I am taking her course in the next semester and that makes me nervous. I hope it was a false impression and that she is more approachable than she looks.
- I’m taking research methods and statistics class this semester. Statistics is a challenge because I hated maths in school. My dad tried to teach me maths and he was a horrible impatient teacher. He would smack me when I got an answer wrong, spat at me or hit my head. As much as I know that his intentions were good, I really hated him. Statistics brought back those memories but I’ll need to overcome my fear. I did a ten minute presentation last week on t-test, even though I was nervous and my presentation wasn’t particularly good, I was proud of myself for giving it a go.
- Lately, I’ve been hearing more thumping and footsteps from my upstairs’ neighbours especially during the day. Before that, day time is usually quiet, I’m not sure what’s their status now and who is living upstairs. The unpredictability affects my mood and there’s nothing much I can do except to put on my noise-cancelling headphone, and have my hoodiepillow and ear defenders ready by my bedside.
- On the happier side, my cat is well and I now have a monthly income to support my living. Sorry I haven’t been active on WP. I hope everyone is well.
Anxiety level (Sep 2019): 80 / 100