November 16th, 2018: Amidst the flurry of graduate school applications; GRE score evaluations, TOEFL exam, letter of recommendation requests, personal essays, research essays, financial statement essays, Visa considerations research, educational loan research, while working a full-time as a content creator and marketer at a startup, volunteering for DHNow, submitting abstracts for Indian DH conferences – I started this blog.
JajAndTheDigitalHumnaities.com was to be a spot in the void I could pour my piping hot enthu-cutlets, smashing discoveries, and perennial interest in the Digital Humanities into. It was to be the key that unlocked the DH community, and let everyone in the field know that I am a part of them. Schools were going to know how serious I was about being – wholly, mindlessly – immersed in pursuing this field. I was to receive scholarships, assistant-ships, fellowships, internships, jobs, just because I would dazzle people with my semi-formal (There are the occasional memes, gifs, references, insider jokes strewn all over the blog!) academic thoughts.
The blog has helped me gain all of that, sometimes more indirectly than can be conceived, but here I am.
Two years later, I am a Computational Sciences graduate student, Digital Humanities Specialist at a Digital Scholarship Center Lab in a University Library(!), at George Mason University, which has several DH research centers including Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media , Center for Humanities Research, and my own DiSc Lab too.
Here I am, submitting research papers:
- Data Journalism mini projects for STAT 515 Visualization & Analytics using R
- Bioinformatics project for CSI 695 Scientific Databases course with MySQL
- Extraverted agents modeling for CSS 600 Computational Social Sciences course in NetLogo
Here I am, working on projects:
- Visualizing & Simulating Ancient Silk Route with R, D3.js, Gephi, Tableau, NetLogo for CSI 703: Scientific Statistical Visualization & CSS 610: Agent-based Modeling Simulation
- Knowledge Mining of Ancient Languages like Linear A, Linear B with Natural Language Processing techniques in Python for CSI 777: Principles of Knowledge Mining and AIT 590: Introduction to NLP
Here I am, a Virtual Summer Museum Technician Intern and Virtual Fall Museum Data Scientist Intern at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, working on Gallery Performance and Accountability Visualization Dashboards (for the public and Office of Management and Budget and Congress), conservation data and text analysis, reporting on DH possibilities in cultural institutions, Agent-based Models of Museum Galleries to understand visitor dynamics better, and actually talking to many others in this very niche field of mine.
Here I am, following 1000+ Digital Humanities researchers and their thoughts on Twitter, engaging actively in at least 4 DH Slack groups, 7+ listservs and newsletters (Gmail Forums tab is really overflowing, I should let go of the notion of catching up, yikes.) When I am not head over heels about Broadway musicals on my Instagram account, it is a certifiable ode to Digital Humanities resources, jokes, references, and hot takes. My Tik Tok For You page is, amongst other things, a study on carefully curated list of socio-cultural digital thought pieces in the making.
Catch me in one of the million webinars, workshops, lecture series, research demonstrations about galleries, libraries, archives, museums, critical DH theory, debates in DH, ethical AI, art history, history, STEAM (Science Technology, Arts, Medicine), Critical Media Studies, Technical Art History, etc. etc.etc. Whew. Someday I will actually blog my thoughts on them. One day.
When I started I absolutely overestimated how much actual blogging I would be doing. I absolutely did make a Spreadsheet detailing how I envisioned the blog to look, the pipeline for creating content plans, and even marketing it.
I will learn more about DH in depth this way.
I can retain the info I learn via my volunteering commitment with DHNow.
I will be writing daily.
It can be part of my NaNoWriMo challenge.
I can test and implement my content creation and marketing skills.
I can show it off on college applications.
I will find a community which is into both CS and Arts and maybe network.
I will be able to figure out what project I want to be working on in this field before going to college, and later.
I need some medium to channel my excitement regarding DH projects.
Build a social media presence based on professional interests.”… Daily?!
Alas, each blog post would start as an idea that would grow into a 2000-4000 word monstrosity that I would crank out in at max, 2 sittings. I could barely keep up with how much I had to say about a theme. Within a few weeks I would be updating my knowledge on that topic and I would make note to mention in the blog, but never get around to it – yet.
JajAndTheDigitalHumanities.com has been an invaluable resource in introducing myself to others, enhancing my confidence on the topics I did want to talk about, and my communication skills. Not only have I become confident churning out content for my research proposals, applications, assignments, etc. on the academic front, but I have also become a better smooth-talker about my DH research interests. I know how to transmit and meld language with the Computer Science academia & industry, the Arts, Social Sciences, & Humanities academia & institutions and the spider-web surrounding them. Just knowing the blog exists out here built in me, a credence in my own self occupying space here. My imposter syndrome burns less brightly as I hit that publish button if only for that moment. I still have ways to go but oh, am I glad to have come this far even. All that graduate studies advice from the internet about starting an academic blog helping to at the very least, relieve the research enthusiasm tension is true, who would have thought…
My intention has always been some amount of ostentation, if only to myself, but I do get my fair share of readers and I welcome you and thank you.
Thank you JajAndTheDigitalHumanities, my gratitude and hopefully more of my attention, soon enough.
Thank you friend, for staying.