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Another first day of school

Hi, all. Today was another first and last – my daughter’s last first day of school. If it is confusing, let me clarify that my child is a high school senior. The very same child that walked into her kindergarten class 11 years ago, which I still remember quite well. This day is bittersweet for sure, because it has not been easy to raise her. There have been a lot of ups and downs but I feel proud because we made it thus far!

At the end of yours and mine first week of classes let me build on the notion of pride. There are a lot of turbulations in everyone’s life, particularly for many of my students who are children of immigrants, like my daughter. Some people in the U.S. do not like immigrants, they do not want us in their country, which has always astonished me – how does anyone deserve to be born in any particular place? How does anyone contribute to being born in the U.S.? What I have found is that we need to persist. And despite everyone’s opinions do our best and not really make anyone else proud, but make ourselves proud! So that is what I wish for all of you in my class: show up for class, do your work, learn – make yourself proud.

First week of classes

Hi, all. It is officially the first week of classes! Strangely enough I am prepared, I have my lecture ready, I posted my syllabus and other information on Blackboard, and I even have my new Instagram account. And yet, it feels a bit strange because there are conflicting emotions. Yes, it is the first week of classes but we are still online and Zoom-ing. Only 3 percent of classes are held in person at Queens College this semester. When are we going to be finally all back? And yet, Zoom-ing is convenient. We don’t have to drive, don’t have to worry about parking, which is still a problem at Queens College. We can fit in more work in our days.

But then, is it worth what you are paying for college if you are not actually there? I bet a lot of students are asking themselves that question. What I can say is this: I hope that the time you spend in my class and preparing for it is worth it. I have worked hard to prepare this course, to update it, to include the latest and most relevant research studies. I always ask myself: if I am to take this course would I be interested in it? The answer is I would because I myself am learning together with you.

Back to School

Hi, all. I went to my pharmacy yesterday and saw all the back to school inventory front and center! I was not entirely surprised as I am already at work to prepare for my undergraduate class but it still hurt a little bit! It means – summer is over! Well, perhaps we will get a couple of more beach days here and there, but for the most part it is back to school season.

As I am looking over the syllabus and updating it, I have decided to start a new Instagram page and do once a week blog. Let’s see if this comes to be! My class is called Data and Society and I am teaching two sections of it so this blog aims primarily at my students. I will try to keep you posted of what’s coming ahead. And what I have read during the week, as we live in a data revolution era, where changes come just about every day. Perhaps you can keep me updated too! Keep the questions and comments coming! Till next week, Dr. V.

Dissertation Work

Dear all,

As I am preparing to change offices at Queens College, I have undertaken a long overdue clean up of my present office. There is lot in there! I have already parted with a lot of (1) printed articles, which were saved in the context of working on different research projects; (2) documents and correspondence from my former places of work; (3) some former students’ papers and exams, and many others. However, I still cannot part with materials related to my dissertation work, and it has been a while! I defended my dissertation in 2004, it was one of the best years of my life for many reasons.

I am amazed at the amount of work I did for my dissertation and this is not to brag or to sound immodest. And of course, since this is the time when most of our lives are conducted online, I decided to post my dissertation work as a pdf file here.

You may ask why am I posting this now? There are a few reasons. Firstly, after I defended my dissertation, I did not publish this work in a book format and that will remain one of my professional regrets. If there are any Ph.D. students that may stumble upon this blog – take a note and publish your work without delay. Secondly, it gives me a lot of pride because I worked so hard; I found every source of data, every single piece of information that existed about Bulgaria during the period of market transition. I worked tirelessly until I was convinced that I understood this time period with all of its twists, and turns, and sorted through mountains of conflicting evidence, opinions and contradictions. I remember quite well how much effort this investigation took. Therefore, if you visit my new office, you will still find materials, reports, articles, in English and Bulgarian, related to my dissertation work, I am not giving them up!

Finally, this monumental amount of work gives me a lot of confidence for my future: if I could accomplish this task, at a much earlier age, when I knew much less about the world in general, there should be a lot more that I can do and perhaps do it even better 🙂

So Dear Reader, visit my Ph.D. Dissertation site here, I would recommend that you open the documet in a new tab, it is a large one, and browse through the pages. I very much hope that you will indulge me just a little and read a few of them.