Monday, April 12, 2010

"the writing is excellent."

i'm not sure when this turned into a dissertation blog, but it has and there you go.  lucky for those of you who SO.DON'T.CARE, it will be over soon enough.

i met with my director today. she plowed through that beast in 5 days.  200ish pages in 5 days. she said she made it a priority. i felt a twinge of guilt about that, but she didn't seem to mind and so i stopped very quickly. darn right it should be a priority. it has been mine for several weeks now, and she knew that, and she knew we were working on a deadline.

so she hates my conclusion. she, lovely woman that she is, would never say such a thing.  but she sort of said "it's interesting..." and so i interpreted, as i am wont to do, that to mean "yeah....and what the heck does this have to do with ANYTHING that you've said in the last 160 pages?"

which is so true. it's total crap.

that would normally terrify me. but we came up with a plan to take the last half of my last chapter, which was equally problematic, and turn it into my conclusion by reframing it.  this perhaps may be more daunting than i think it will be, but it i think might work beautifully.

she asked me if i could get it all done in the week that i have to get it all done.  i sort of smiled and said "yeah.  i'll make it happen. i'll get it done." and i will, but the backstory is that i am so behind in grading.  i have three classes' worth of 5 page papers and 1 page response papers to grade, in addition to another class's 5 page papers to grade, in addition to the online class's weekly papers to grade.  it's ridiculous.

as i walked across campus today, after the meeting, i felt myself shift into the serious efficiency, laser focused, knock-it-out mode. it's the big push to the finish line, when you're tired and you don't want to, but you just find somewhere down deep all of the energy you have to focus on the stuff that needs to get done. everybody has it. everybody does it.  i can do it too.

when i'm in this mode, though, i hate the little details of things i have to worry about also, like grocery shopping and laundry.  i find myself strategizing in my mind how to do this and that and the other thing. how can i do both laundry and something productive? in this mode, i fail to see extraneous things related to life, like cooking, eating, dishes, laundry, and a whole host of other things as productive. they just take me away from my list.

in a week, the draft will be done.

like done done.  unless a committee member has major problems with it (which, since my director thinks it's great writing with excellent close readings, i'm not sure that will happen), the draft will be done.

and then i will have two weeks, full of end-of-semester shenanigans like grading and grading and calculating and grading, and then i will defend.

how does one prepare for an intellectual firing squad?

my plan is prayer.

and then, it will be over.  save revisions and formatting, it will be over. i will, for all intents and purposes, be a doctor.

but in the meantime, as facebook friends are apt to remind me, i have not yet finished.

funny how it feels like i have. 


  1. i soooooo want to read it. some of it. maybe when it is bound?

  2. Okay, here's what I think: let go of everything but the draft. Focus on that. The laundry can wait, the dishes can wait, and Musicboy will take care of you.

    Just get that sucker done. You can do it.

    I am really excited for you. :)

  3. With any luck, it won't be a firing squad. Remember: your advisor won't let you in the room if she's not fairly certain you will pass -- if for no other reason than her reputation with her peers is riding on it, too. They WANT you to succeed.

    One question that you might prepare for (of course, I don't know what discipline you're in) is "So what?" Seriously -- for some reason that one caught me off guard, and it shouldn't have.

    Good luck!