The Thesis Proposal and a bit of a social media break

I have this thing called a Master’s Thesis.

Shared Leadership as a Function of Role Assignment and Task Difficulty in a Distributed Computer Game


The use of computer game-based architectures provides a safe, controlled environment in which geographically dispersed military units can develop leadership skills while rehearsing a specific task such as building clearing, search and rescue, or navigation.  The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship among task difficulty, team task performance and emergent leadership during a team search task using a modified version of the popular video game, Half Life 2 ™.  The shared leadership model predicts that multiple individuals often share responsibility for the outcome of a task.  Using gaming experience and efficacy as covariates in a within-subjects ANCOVA, I will assess if role assignment and task difficulty will interact to have an effect on whether an individual emerges as a leader.  There are two levels of difficulty: easy and difficult.  There are two types of roles: the individual with the map and the individual who is immersed in the game.  This experiment may indicate that the leader emerges based on task context or role he takes during the task.  Such results would lend support for a more contextual theoretical basis for emergent leadership than a personality-driven theoretical leadership model.  The Army can implement this leadership model in the creation of new video game-based leadership training modules.


Are you still with me? You can read more about the pilot study for my thesis that I completed last year here.  I included some of my pilot study results in a conference submission and hope to have it published in September.  I also hope to combine the leadership findings from the pilot study with my thesis to write a journal article in the Fall.

I was supposed to finish data collection in April because the research participant pool drastically decreases in the summer. I propose in April. So I’m a semester behind. Why? Because I have tough classes,  a challenging job outside of school, an apartment and car I need to maintain, a blog, a cat, a family and friends. Because I applied to PhD programs last semester.  Because I’m active in multiple student organizations.  Because I like to play on the Internet, watch TV and movies, sleep, eat and exercise a little. Mostly because I like to sleep.

My advisor is not exactly pleased about all of this, but I am OK with being behind.  I am OK with prioritizing my life the way I did this semester.  At the end of the day, I finish what I need to finish.  One cannot be a perfectionist in grad school and survive.  One must pick his or her battles and I picked mine.

I have a lot to do the rest of this semester. It makes me want to freak out just a little bit.  To be honest, I have thoroughly freaked out multiple times already.

This summer will be interesting.

For my thesis, I will (with the help a lovely undergrad assistant):

  • Run 30 teams through my two hour experiment
  • Transcribe 30 teams’ conversations (Four fifteen-minute conversations)
  • Content code 30 x 4 conversations
  • Analyze my data
  • Write my Results and Discussion sections
  • Defend my Thesis by July 30th
  • Submit my final Thesis to the Registrar on August 20th

If all the above goes as planned, I will graduate on August 27th so I can hit the ground running when I start the PhD program.

I will also work full time between May 1st and September 1st.  Yes, that’s right.  40 hours a week, baby.  Gotta make that cash monies so I can go to the strip clubs in Vegas.  😉

I plan to exercise regularly again beginning NOW because this is something that completely went by the wayside this semester.  My hip, my pants and my scale are starting to scream at me for missing yoga so much.

I will most likely move closer to campus in July or August.  I absolutely adore living in Virginia Beach, but the commute is killing me.  I need to move to Norfolk or at least somewhere in Virginia Beach that is closer to campus.  Sometimes I spend over two hours commuting in a day between school and work and home.  A long commute is fine for some people because it is just for one job, they make enough money that it does not create a financial burden and they have a family who can take care of things at home when they are driving.  For me, that two hours I sometimes lose on the road could be used more efficiently in a number of ways.  For example, I could exercise every day in the amount of time I am normally driving.

I also have six trips planned right now between May and September:

  • Vegas/Boulder/(debating on the 3rd destination) for 10 days
  • A week in Glasgow for work
  • A week in DC for work and fun times
  • Huntsville for a long weekend
  • Boston for a long weekend
  • Portland for a long weekend


So as you can see, I have to re-prioritize things in my life until June.

The plan to get ‘er done between now and September

I think it’s time I step away from the blog.  I have some blog posts lined up to tide you over until June, but I will probably not be very swift with replies to comments.  My Google Reader is filled with all of your blogs, so I will keep up with them.  I may not be able to comment as often on the amazing posts you all have lined up.  I have challenged myself to drastically reduce my use of Twitter or TweetDeck in April.  That is code for: I am not allowed to open TweetDeck during the week.  I know, right?!  You know where to find me in the meantime.  If you have still not added me as a Facebook friend, why the hell not?!  I know where to find all of you lovelies, too.

The point is… I have to be a full-time grad student and full time government employee until I see (some of) you in Vegas for Bloggers in Sin City.  While some people can juggle many clementines, some of us cannot do it successfully.  Something’s gotta give now for me.  And that something is social media.


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9 thoughts on “The Thesis Proposal and a bit of a social media break

  1. Okay. So…I had 1500+ unread items in my Google Reader. After a week and a half of not opening it. I marked them all as read, save for the Tao of Grad School (not kidding). I’m sooo grossly late to get here. BUT. Thank you for the shout out, my dear! :)

    I had no idea exactly what you were embarking on for your thesis. WOW. The research design sounds incredibly layered and perhaps intense. Can I please read your thesis when you’re done? :)

  2. When I was a grad student, I got a full semester behind on my thesis, ended up having to graduate later than I expected. This was on top of giving up perfect 4.0’s in all of my classes and being the super best member of all the student orgs I was in. “One cannot be a perfectionist in grad school and survive.” No joke. Sometimes I think I went to grad school just to learn things like: sleep is more important than an A, sometimes a few hours to yourself are worth more than a few more hours of studying, being perfect at everything isn’t a reasonable expectation.

    Good luck with your thesis…and with everything else. :)

    1. Thanks for your comment. I think grad school definitely teaches many life lessons. I just got into a PhD program and I have to finish the thesis this summer to get funding next year. Hopefully it will happen. I’ve seen so many people fall apart, get divorced, become alcoholics, etc. because they can’t find balance. You can’t give 100% to everything in grad school or you will lose something valuable. Thanks for the luck! 😀

  3. This is going to be an intense summer, but it’s also going to be the summer you reflect back on for decades as the ONE YOU SURVIVED. You’re going to do it swimmingly, and Boston is waiting for you with open arms!

    Also, my Pilates/Yoga studio has walk in rates! We should definitely hit that up while you’re here.

    1. I think last semester was the one I survived, what with taking care of my grandma and work and whatnot. This one will be the one I look back on and realize I enjoyed it because I did everything on my own terms. At least I’m hoping that is what happens. 😉 Can’t wait to come visit!!!!!!!!

  4. Your blog makes me laugh…and tremble in fear, because I will be starting grad school in September…

    In the UK.

    But I will following you like a hawk, now that I know I’m not alone in this craziness.

    1. Aw thanks for your comment. That is great you are going to grad school! I’m going to read up on your blog and see what all you have going on. There are so many lovely grad school bloggers out there. It’s nice to have a place to talk openly about something not a lot of people understand. Good luck with school!!!

  5. this is intense and ambitious, all of it. i’m certain that as busy as you’ll be all summer, you’ll need those long weekends. :)

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