Sometimes I wonder what the librarians must think of me based upon my book requests. I tend to frequent one of the smaller libraries on campus, and I have most of my requested materials delivered there. Today I needed some books on pornography to talk about how the gaze is functioning blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah on onward….
I do wonder how they will respond when checking out titles such as Hard Core to me next week.
The dissertation work has gone well this week. I did submit my goal number of pages to my advisor on Monday night for our Tuesday meeting, so there are some positive updates in that realm. But before getting to those, there’s the matter of ‘other work’…..
Oh, other work! How you get in the way of things! I love you, but I spent far many more hours on you than I had anticipated would be required of me today!
Before getting down to the business of dissertation writing, I had to knock out a few changes to two documents and send those off this morning. They took a bit of time, but I was happy to make the changes and email those large files off to their recipients. Plus, it felt really good to cross those two items off of my to-do list. They had been lingering for a week and a half.
The third project had to do with an article and remedying some serious editorial cock-ups. I can’t even get into that whole story as it still makes me want to cry. In the grand fixing of all things broken the editor asked me to convert everything to APA. Truthfully I don’t even recall which citation style the document was originally written with at this point, but it is in something weird, and now it needs to be in APA.
APA is one of the few styles I don’t do. So in making changes I relied upon the Purdue OWL site. Purdue is the gold-standard among writing centers, and I’ve found the cite to be incredibly helpful when working with clients, so this is what I followed. Well color me confused when I got an email back telling me that what I had sent them was still not APA.
I don’t know what in the world is going on because I am a serious stickler for proper citations—MLA was beaten into me during 11th grade by Dr. Weiner. Still, I am more than willing to admit when I don’t know something (which I had already done), and to go find the resources to do it right. I checked and re-checked what I sent the editors, every period and comma was in the right place. So this article just ate up more than half of the day and it has me frazzled. I think it is time for a long break and breather before trying to get down to dissertation work today.
Today I will reach page 124! That is the goal. Last Monday evening I submitted a section of the chapter which concluded half way through page 114. The goal is 10 more pages than last week.
All told this is not a lot and I had already secretly hoped to be beyond 124, but somehow in all of my weekend planning I almost forgot about that whole big pile of grading….. Oh yes, the grading! And the lesson planning for the major lesson on the final research paper! I spent more than a whole day getting that stuff out of the way. I know, I know, such work comes with the territory, but I have been feeling like I need at least two of me as of late.
This week, however, I am optimistic. I think it has something to do with the day off on Thursday. When I remind myself that I only have to teach, see clients, and attend meetings one day this week, I somehow calm down and the chapter and progress on the chapter seem much more tenable. Granted that one day is one heck of a long day—I’m scheduled back to back from 8:30am until at least 8:30pm.
I guess I find myself wanting to write like I did during my exams. Those were a whirlwind 10 days of exhaustion, insanity, and productivity. I would really like to force that much productivity out of myself once again. Well see.
Despite some big life disruptions yesterday I managed to make some progress on the chapter – about two pages. The intro to it is nearly done… I think… and I have determined (with the help of my advisor) how this chapter will be structured. It is very different from the previous two and will probably be longer than the previous two (though hopefully not longer than them when combined). Right now it is looking like it will be broken down into 7 or 10 sections. Such sectioning will make it move fairly quickly, or so I’ve convinced myself.
I know that I won’t get anything done on it today—long day of teaching, tutoring, and meetings. So I will check in with all of you over the weekend to let you know how things are progressing.
This not about writing and attempting to have a life, but writing and those who already do have lives — kids, partners, extended family, etc.
I guess I take it for grated most days that my time is my own… well, not exactly. Much of my time is my own; the rest, however, is taken up by things that are still all about me—meetings about my work, teaching classes to fulfill requirements for my stipend, ditto on writing clients, attending functions that further my career, etc. I don’t think that this means I am a selfish, but I knew going into grad school that this part of my life was going to be me-centered, it had to be me-centered because this is a huge opportunity and a lot is on the line.
So because I had the opportunity to structure my life in a me-centered way, I am often impressed by my friends and colleagues who do/did not have the luxury of such a decision. A friend of mine has a fantastic family—his wife and kid are both great. The kid is just to smart and curious and awesome. So my heart completely sank when my friend called me to let me know that the kid was admitted to the hospital. I am fairly certain that things with the kid will be alright, and I am certainly doing all that I can to pick-up whatever slack at work I can for him so he can be with his son, but I just can’t imagine dealing with the demands of a committee, the work obligations, etc. when your priority needs to be your kid.
My friend is an amazing scholar and an even better dad, so my hats are off to all of you who are writing your dissertations while tending to your own life.
My desk is now clear of all job related documents. No copies of the gigantic spread sheet, no job announcements, no notes scribbled in odd places about various departments. Now it is all about the dissertation for the next month, so this means there will be plenty to write about. More later, for now it is time to find some notes I thought I left over there….. oops……
I am tired. I must admit that I am feeling a little bit burnt out on job applications. I am also probably feeling a little bit burnt out from being housebound for the past 48 hours or so. There are a few more to go but part of me just wants to blow them off, skip them, call this good enough and be done with it all for now.
The week of super productivity on jobs has been awesome. It feels good to get these out and see that I will be free of panic and conflicts until mid-December. Well…. so long as awesome jobs don’t pop up at random times with tight deadlines.
All of this was great until I did a stupid thing. Well, I did not realize at the time that it was stupid, nor was it 100% my doing. A friend is moving to a great apartment close by. I am so excited that she will be a block and a half a way. She also got an amazing deal on the place. Part of the reason I think she got such a great deal was the fact that the place was a mess. It was definitely inhabited by boys and some animal – dog or cat or both. The place was seriously gross. So I took a bit of time out of my schedule to help her clean the place in advance of her stuff arriving. Lets just say that certain cleaning products should not be combined in certain ways. My skin, eyes, and lungs are fine – surprisingly. But the lining of my stomach is far from okay. All of this should be far better by tomorrow, but for now this is just icky and bad and wee bit scary. Today the goals have been modified. I will be happy if I can get one fellowship application done and maybe eat something.
So, my crazy plan for splitting my work was actually approved. I might be a bit quiet this week as I will have nothing to say on the dissertation as it is all-job-letters-all-the-time in my household. It has been exhausting so far, but incredibly rewarding.
The sense of accomplishment as I finish off parts of each dossier for each job really helps to move me forward. It has reminded me of how I feel when I complete a second of a chapter. Also, the collaborative process of finding me a job is pretty inspiring—my committee members are working hard on their letters for me. Yes, because I am in an interdisciplinary field, there is no single, stock letter of recommendation that goes out for all positions. Plus, the various positions in different disciplines with which my work over laps means that I have a bunch of letter writers and not the typical three or four. At present I have a total of six letter writers who rotate in and out depending upon the position….well, not exactly; my poor advisor is not getting a break on any of these.
I actually think that this week of insane job-letter writing and applications will really give me some great inspiration for the chapter. Let’s hope so, for I will be getting down with Chapter 3 next week!
I am learning that I am someone who does not do so well without feedback. The silence of the job application process is killing me. Even the wiki is not telling me enough.
Right now I feel like I am not sure if my materials are working or not. Yes, early on they went through draft upon draft with my advisor and one or two committee members, but until my cover letter nets me at least one awkward phone interview I won’t really know whether or not the materials are working.
The lack of knowledge makes me want to fully revise them; it makes me want to write a whole new damn cover letter! This, I am pretty sure, is not the answer. But it could also prove to be an interesting science experiment – testing to see which letter attracts more interest from schools. Unfortunately there is no controlled environment in which to test this, so such an experiment would not work, but still, I wonder.