Friday, May 18, 2012

The day I found myself on Google Scholar

I have never considered myself a writer, a researcher, or an academic.  Although I do a lot of writing, have started to develop a research agenda, and am a doctoral candidate, none of the above labels have ever really come to mind when I think about myself and the work I do.  I still struggle to explain to family and friends what, exactly, it is that I do all day.

But, I feel slightly more academic today because I just found myself on Google Scholar.  I'm not the Bryce Bunting with a ball valve patent (he lives in Georgia and owns a manufacturing business--I know that, in part, because he emailed me once and introduced himself as the "other" Bryce Bunting.  Oddly enough, we are both from Utah), I'm the one that comes up a little down the list with an equally uninspiring entry for an academic paper ("Understanding the Dynamics of Peer Mentor Learning") published in the most recent special edition of the Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.

The study explores what undergraduate peer mentors learn through their experiences mentoring first-year college students.  It's been a bit of a journey as well.  The data were collected in 2004, led to a conference presentation in 2005, a pretty shoddy draft of the article was written shortly thereafter, and the manuscript was rejected by a journal in 2009.  In 2010 we got serious about getting it published and started the hard work of revising the manuscript.  After about six months of work we submitted the article for publication in May of 2011.  In August we were asked to "revise & resubmit," which we did.  The article was then finally accepted for publication in December of 2011.  Three more revisions later I received my copy of the finished article just yesterday.  I never realized how much work goes into scholarly writing.  It's been an eye opening experience for me, but one (strangely enough) that I hope to have again.  I never thought I would be saying that, particularly when I graduated as a PE major six years ago.  

So, somehow, today I feel like I should be acting a little smarter and more scholarly to justify my existence on a search engine that uses the word scholar.

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