Our department secretary often emails us with job opportunities, research opportunities, and conference calls. Most of the time I ignore these emails, as they generally have little or nothing to do with my area of interest. Last Monday, though, we received an email about a job that was right up my alley. One of the professors in our department got funding to hire 1 graduate student and 4 undergraduates to compare usage in the Corpus of Contemporary American English to usage as prescribed in the Chicago Manual of Style. This job includes co-authoring a paper with the professor and presenting at an international conference on corpus linguistics, which is kinda my thing. I have been working with a different professor for almost two years on the development of the Corpus of Historical American English, helped him compile the forthcoming Frequency Dictionary of American English, based on data from the COCA, and also helped him organize and run the American Association of Corpus Linguistics Conference back in 2007. This project is a perfect segue between the work I've been doing and the work I want to do in my grown-up life. I've applied to a program in Forensic Linguistics, which is using language as evidence, etc., and this project would be a perfect bridge between compiling the data (which is what I've been doing) and transforming that data into meaningful conclusions about language usage.
I am SO FREAKING HAPPY!!!