Featured ‘Day in the life of’: Stormy, organizational behavior PhD student


Hi, I’m Stormy Sweitzer, a second-year PhD student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Though my degree is in organizational behavior, my primary research interest is in the phenomenon of wonder and its implications for organizational life. I also study how the complex virtual and in-real-life social dynamics of activity-centric communities foster inclusion, organization, and interpersonal connection. My days vary (and I’m in the process of building more structure for myself), as I am only taking one class and TA an interpersonal dynamics class twice a week this semester. I blog at StormySweitzer.com and post regularly on Instagram.

6_45am Wake Up, Sweitzer (1)

6:45 am: Since my earliest class this semester begins at 11:30am, I try not to wake up with an alarm. Even when my eating and exercise habits fall off the rails, sleep is the one thing I do well.

7_12am Coffee, Sweitzer

7:12 am: First things, first. Wake up, boil water and grind beans to make a pot of French press coffee. I check social media while I wait for it to be ready.
7_25am, statistics, Sweitzer

7:25 am: I seem to work better later in the day. But, today, I am trying to make progress on a statistics assignment I did not complete last semester due to some unexpected health issues (stress can be awful).

8_25am Workout, Sweitzer.jpeg
8:25 am: Three days a week, I head to the community recreation center to lift weights and stretch; the off days I try to do something at home. The PhD lifestyle is surprisingly hard on the body.

9_32am Breakfast, Sweitzer.jpeg
9:32 am: Breakfast time. Chorizo and eggs w/avo and hot sauce, just like mom used to make. Time for a quick shower and tooth brushing; a low-effort day.

10_40am Webconference, Sweitzer
10:40 am: Just wrapped up a video conversation with my department chair about publication goals, departmental expectations and making career-advancing choices. Her advice: Time is your most precious resource, know what you want, say yes to the things that will help you achieve it, recognize the tradeoffs required (and whether you can live with them), and start networking your way in to where you want to be. I do a quick review of the readings for class.

11_19am Snowpocalypse, Sweitzer
11:19 am: Out the door, navigating the aftermath of the snowpocalypse in Cleveland, OH. Driving and finding free parking amidst the snow drifts are a challenge. So I pay.

12_42pm Class and Lunch, Sweitzer.jpeg
12:42 pm: Lunch break in a course on sustainable value and flourishing in organizations. The professor has an interest in the relationship between business, quantum theory and spirituality, so I pitch a paper on quantum mind as an alternative to the assigned paper topic for the course.

2_50pm botanical, Sweitzer
2:50 pm: My cohort-mate/friend and I stop in at the botanical gardens across the street from the business school to scope out a way for our class to discuss the concept of flourishing in a space that encourages it. We draft a walk-and-talk agenda and lunch conversation for our next session and send it to the other students.

3_53pm Museum, Sweitzer
3:53 pm: For some much-needed natural light, we head to the Cleveland Museum of Art atrium to give each other feedback on the research designs we are using for our qualifying projects. What’s really cool? Yesterday I was invited to give a talk on wonder in this atrium later in the year. Yeah!

6_15pm view, Sweitzer.jpeg
6:15 pm: The view of the sky from the parking structure was beautiful tonight.

6_35pm coffee shop Sweitzer.jpeg
6:35 pm: I planned to work at my neighborhood coffee shop, but end up running into a friend there and we talk for an hour. PhD programs can be socially isolating, so even if I’m not always productive, I cherish spending time with the community of colleagues and friends I’ve developed here.

8_32pm Books, Sweitzer (3).jpeg
8:32 pm:  Normally, I try to do something non-school related in the evening, but, because today was kind of relaxed, I make some real dinner and catch up on reading instead. Kozinets’ Netnography is the method I am proposing to use for my qualifying project to study an online community; Science and Spiritual Practice is for the flourishing class.

9_41pm Observations, Sweitzer.jpeg
9:41 pm: As a qualitative researcher, I sometimes do field work and then have to review video (often many times to catch different things) for behaviors and body language, social interactions, what is said or not said, etc. Today’s videos: building structures, volunteer training, and potty humor.
11:00 pm: Sleep.


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