A Day in the Life of Rebekah McClure, Graduate Student and LINGUIST List Editor

In this series of blog posts, we’ve asked some LINGUIST List staff members to share what it’s like to work at LINGUIST. This post was written by Rebekah McClure. She is currently finishing her first year in the Master’s program in linguistics at Eastern Michigan University. At The LINGUIST List, Rebekah is the Publications Manager and a member of the MultiTree and LL-MAP projects. 

Rebekah showed here breaking the norm by eating a relaxing meal free of distractions at a local Vietnamese restaurant.

5:00 am Jump out of bed to silence the abominable noise that is my alarm. Try not to let the fact that it won’t be light out for another three hours get me down.

5:01 am Slip into the thick wool sweater placed strategically by my bed the night before. Think how environmentally conscious I’m being by keeping the thermostat low.

5:01.005 am Retract previous thought. Think new thought about how I actually just like saving a few bucks on monthly utilities bills but that my goose bumps feel infinitely more noble when they come in the name of energy conservation.

5:46 am Drive to the gym and to my secret life as a weightlifting enthusiast.

6:00 am Squeeze in a workout before a day of LINGUIST List, classes, and yoga teaching.

7:14 am Arrive home and initiate matutinal cleansing, eating, studying, and dawdling rituals.

9:47 am Give my still husband a good-bye kiss that he will have no recollection of since he was up late the night before writing a paper for his Modern Japanese History class and is still sleeping.

9:48 am Leave for Eastern Michigan’s Darrell H. Cooper Building, home of the LINGUIST List.

10:01 am Greet my office mates Brent, the effervescent coffee savant and committed vegan, and Danniella, the perpetually imperturbable British expat and four-time marathoner. Exchange stories of tofurkey and opinions on the best brand of running shoes.

10:05 am Realize I should probably turn my computer on and get to work.

10:07 am Persist in conversing anyway.

10:10 am Turn my computer on and get to work.

10:11 am Log in to email account and check the schedule for meetings and project deadlines that day. Realize that I should have turned my computer on and gotten to work ten minutes ago.

10:13 am Approve Publisher submissions. Find someone in the office to translate one of the descriptions for a German publishing house. Go through my multiple options of German-speaking coworkers and think of how, in times like these, I’m grateful to be working with linguists, many of whom are polyglots.

11:03 am Write an email to (yet another) confused user explaining that you must click on “Submit Journal Information” even if you simply want to register as a publisher and that no, I don’t know why it’s set up that way.

11:06 am Read Journal submissions and be in awe of the multitudinous academic paths a linguist can take and consequently write an article about for a journal. Courtroom discourse or Zulu phonology? Transformational Grammar or politeness phenomena? Realize how much I have yet to learn about the field of linguistics.

11:15 am Approve Journal submissions and publish Journal Calls for Papers for those journals.

11:36 am Draft an email requesting that a user include more information in her Table of Contents submission.

11:40 am Email a reply to a hopeful graduate student and explain that LINGUIST List simply announces new publications—it does not publish books or journals itself—and that I’m sorry your dissertation has been rejected by every other academic publisher but I just can’t help you.

11:42 am Worry about my future as an academic linguist a little bit.

12:06 pm Nibble on lunch as I scan my LINGUIST List intranet page to make sure there aren’t any Publisher, Journal, Journal Calls for Papers, or Table of Contents submissions I missed. Dip broccoli into hummus with left hand and assign with right hand Linguistic Fields to one last Journal description that just came in.

12:27 pm Write an email to (yet another) confused user explaining that you must click on “Submit Journal Information” even if you simply want to register as a publisher and that no, I don’t know why it’s set up that way.

1:00 pm Meet with the MultiTree team. Get excited about new projects.

1:27 pm Return to my office and see three new Publisher submissions for me to approve. Get overwhelmed by new projects.

1:30 pm Explain to a LINGUIST user via email that I’m afraid Klingon is actually not spoken in parts of Cameroon and perhaps you should consider checking your sources before submitting this Journal description.

1:32 pm Worry about my future as an academic linguist a lot.

2:00 pm Conclude worrying about my future as an academic linguist and resolve to forge onward regardless of what lies ahead.

2:01 pm Meet with the PR team. Get excited about new projects.

2:33 pm Receive half a dozen emails from the Benevolent Overpig, our task management system, assigning the new projects just discussed. Get overwhelmed by new projects.

2:35 pm Begin work on a language map of the Kamchatkan peninsula. Type out a long, detailed inquiry in an instant message to Sarah, my tireless LL-MAP “buddy” who tutors me on the intricacies of GPS data points. Acknowledge that it would have saved me time if I had simply gotten up and walked to her office ten feet away. Simultaneously acknowledge that when faced with a similar situation tomorrow I will undoubtedly act in the same manner.

2:36 pm Blame my dependence on technology on factors outside my control—the milieu of my generation, Steve Jobs, my mother. Mourn the imminent death of person-to-person interaction and concede my own complicity in the fall.

2:37 pm Resume work on Kamchatkan map.

3:01 pm Pack everything up and rush to class—LIN436, language acquisition.

3:36 pm Watch videos of toddlers on YouTube and analyze what stage of phonological development they could be passing through.

4:45 pm Leave class with a renewed sense of amazement at the language learning process.

4:46 pm Decide to stay on campus to get some homework done. Struggle through a worksheet in which I’m supposed to analyze the morphology of Tok Pisin, a Papa New Guinean creole that I had never heard of prior to last week.

5:09 pm Worry about my future as an academic linguist really, really a lot.

6:28 pm Chug a protein shake for dinner on my way to teach yoga at the local community college health and fitness center.

7:00 pm Get my zen on.

8:37 pm Return to my apartment feeling calm and collected. Greet my husband and exchange stories from our respective days, each of us making sure the other knows the intricacy and arduousness of the trials we’ve overcome in the past twelve hours.

8:50 pm Put on my thick wool sweater. Read about a former LINGUIST List intern who got into a prestigious PhD program and scored a sweet research grant. Worry about my future as an academic linguist a little less.

8:56 pm Notice the feeling of prickling skin and welcome the appearance of goose bumps. Noble, noble goose bumps.

9:05 pm Initiate my vespertine cleansing, eating, studying, and dawdling rituals.

11:11 pm Not bother to take off my sweater as I climb into bed and brace myself for the abominable noise that will soon be my alarm.

 

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