apologize for the radio silence for the past few days. Between being ill, the internet going out at home, and several days of craziness – the notation on my “to do” list to write the blog managed to get overlooked or just buried in the list of a million things to do. Life has seriously gotten ramped up at chez dissertation and it has been causing much fretting and craziness and it is taking its toll.
As things stand with the dissertation, I am completely redrafting the dissertation proposal. While this makes me feel like I’ve just blown the last three months, it is for the better. I think back to a paper situation in which something similar happened, and in the end that turned out to be a damn fine paper, but man did it suck while it was going on.
My advisor is about to drop the hammer on Wednesday: get the proposal finished by the end of the term (yes, that will be a week and a half away); begin working on my job documents; draft a chapter per quarter for the next three quarters; research post-docs, positions, and fellowships for next year. That is only the stuff he is assigning.
Me, well, my own list… that is a bit longer:
- I need to finish and submit the article I am working on right now.
- This past weekend I went nuts and submitted almost all of the projects that have been lingering on my desktop. Actually, I have two more that I intend to send out – one today and one in the coming weeks. Right now I am just taking the scatter-shot approach: toss out five or six papers and see which one will get picked up by some journal. I figured I should just do this before the diss takes over every waking moment of my life.
- I am waiting on comments from my reviewers as I need to revise an article that is due to come out in February.
- There is a whole dossier I need to assemble at some point for a submission.
- Revise a paper for a conference in January
- Write my syllabus for Winter Quarter
- And there seems to be one other thing I am forgetting….
Right now all of this just makes me want to cry or throw-up. Plus, somewhere in here I would like to see the man-friend, but he too has a list equally as long of publications he needs to get out by the fall.
I often work with dissertation writers in the sciences – soil science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, etc. – and today is just one of those days when I find myself wishing that my project was as straight forward as theirs.
I am not saying that their research or the analysis of their research data is straightforward – I would not presume that – but the style and structure of their actual dissertations are so clear, exact, precise, and almost template like. In those dissertations you know what information goes in what chapter. The chapters themselves are clear and delineated. They all have a function and a purpose within the disciplinary ideologies and such things have a history and tradition.
Goodness! Nothing is straight forward about my discipline! Most of the time I love this attribute as I get to make shit up as I go along (hybridize and create new methodologies along the way just because I can), but sometimes the free-form-ish aspects of it all really drive me crazy. Today is one of those days.
Today I just wish I could mix things together in a beaker, observe and record reactions, test hypothesis, write it all up, and just be done with my work. Instead I will get back to work on my conference paper and refining my dissertation research question.
Life with the dissertation is not going great right now. I guess I am just feeling lost and overwhelmed. Yes, I know how to break things down into parts, and I do have a pre-proposal which is a good road map, but it is one that I have not yet internalized. I think doing that might help.
Books are arriving and I am looking through some. The dissertation book is back and that means I have it as a crutch — stupid people recalling such books from me! grr! But still, my confidence level is pretty much in the toilet right now, and my focus is elsewhere.
Today is the last day of classes for the summer term (YAH!!!!). And once my grading is done, I will have a bit of time to take a breather and then get working. I hope to settle into some type of writing schedule before the fall quarter starts. I think going into the term with that set will be good.
It is going to be all about scheduling soon: Gym time, writing time, teaching time, tutoring time, writing time, writing time, writing time, partner time, more writing time, and sleep. Hopefully the scheduling will mean I will fall into a rhythm.
In truth I am a bit disappointed in myself right now. I had hoped to had the dissertation proposal written by the time the fall term started. As it stands now I have a December 4th due date. Although the proposal will be about 10 pages and I could whip that out in two days, the lit review for each chapter will get completed before the proposal is done, so that is what will take the longest. Plus moving between four distinct sections makes me feel schizophrenic in my work sometimes. Yet getting all focused on one makes me feel strange too.
I guess we must all go through these phases with the dissertation. I just hope to be on an upswing with the project soon.