Why does Columbus have such a dearth of places that deliver??? I’m not talking pizza, but Chinese or Thai or Northstar (hint, hint). Sometimes I am home writing and my stomach interrupts me mid-thought to say ‘hey, you – we need food down here!’ (like right this very moment as write to you today). I would love to be able to pick up the phone and have sesame tofu delivered in 30 minutes or less, but NOOOOOOO. Not here. Not in C-Bus.
Yes, I could go into the other room and make egg whites on tortillas again, but I don’t want to stop writing as I am getting projects polished up and done. I don’t want to dirty any dishes or make a mess. I want this hunger thing taken care of so that I can get back to thinking about how to revise and refocus this one page document. And no, I don’t want to eat Pb&J as I had that for lunch when I was on campus all day yesterday. I want something that is highly nutritious and satisfying and yummy. I don’t want to breakdown and call Hound Dogs for pizza — I really don’t.
I am not sure what your goal is in pursuing the PhD. For some it is an industry job, for others it is doing non-profit work, and for some of us it is remaining in the academy. I am one who most clearly falls into the latter category.
To get a job at an R1 or an SLAC (Research tier 1 school or Selective Liberal Arts College for those who don’t know the lingo) requires and interesting mix and/or balance of things. Whether it feels like it or not some days, it is not all about the dissertation. Much of it is about your scholarship, but not all of it. It is an odd combination of scholarship, teaching, interests, abilities, letters, personality, who knows who, fit, and sheer happenstance. I was reminded of all of these things yesterday while having lunch with faculty members of my department and a candidate. I was also reminded of how an interview can suddenly turn on a dime with one wrong comment, facial expression, or response.
No, no, it was not the interviewee who reminded me of that fact – on the contrary, the candidate was quite good. Oh no, it was me who managed to make a glib comment while intending to wish someone the best that garnered a horrible look from a faculty member. Yup. I screwed up and totally felt like an ass. Emails of apology were sent and I do think/hope I’ve managed to repair whatever damage was done. However, my totally public and huge guffaw was a solid reminder that there is a way in which as graduate students we are always being interviewed – we are always “on” or in the “hot seat.”
When I go on the job market or happen to find myself applying for post-docs in the coming year or two, I won’t know who all the various selection committee members at those institutions know. Yes they might call my references, but they might also call my department chair because, perhaps, they go way back, or maybe one committee member may run into one department member of mine at some conference and informally get into some conversation about that applicant whose file they were just reading…. Yeah, so, my poorly received glib remark yesterday was a sobering reminder about not screwing up.
We have a candidate coming in today. It was kind of one of those surprise last minute things. A position is not even open, but this is related to the ACLS thing that universities have going on. Still I am psyched because it means a day of fancy meals for me as I help to interview the candidate. Plus it is another opportunity to watch someone interview, which I always find educational.
So yesterday when I mentioned something about spending hours upon hours in the library with the reference librarian… yeah…. I was not kidding. I fear that by the end of this week I just might be on a first name basis will all of them. I am totally and completely out of my depths with this citation style – this is fish out of water, onto sand, into cabaret-theatre degree of unknown territory.
It is like being in a foreign country with a bad English to whatever dictionary that does not even cover half of that language because there are no equivalents. I’ll be honest, sometimes I do get up on my high-horse about legal scholars – the whole not having to write a dissertation thing or publish articles before they graduate or attend conferences or have to defend anything, and the whole lack of peer-reviewed journals thing, etc. Plus then there is the whole salary difference between humanities professors and law professors that tweaks me a bit. But damn, after just two days of seriously engaging with and fighting these citations I’ve been knocked down a few rungs, and I am more than willing to admit when I’ve been wrong because Blue Book is just spanking me (and not in the good way). Oh, MLA I miss you!!!! I promise I will never leave you again!!!
Hello writing people! Happy Monday! I don’t know why I am feeling especially perky in this post given the most gloomy weather outside and my own general sadness, but perhaps by adopting this hopeful and positive attitude the week will turn out to be awesome. At least that is my current logic after spending a morning grading papers. A morning of grading could addle anyone’s brain.
Perhaps I am trying to be hopeful because my advisor is circulating my prospectus to the rest of my committee this week. I really want positive feedback from them, suggestions for minor revisions, and the go-ahead to make this dissertation happen. I really want to get started on this project full force!
My other small writing distractions will soon be done – yeah! And after what I imagine will be many, many hours in the law library this week trying to figure out Blue Book citation style with the help of a friend and all the legal reference librarians, I hope that article will soon be tied up and ready to be sent out. So I apologize for my unusually perky tone on this Monday morning, but I want this to be the tone for the week. I want good writing stuffs to come out of this week for you and me!
I hate how much life and work intersect. Life can be going well, but if the writing is going bad, then everything is bad. Writing can be going well, but if life is just shitty and messed up, then writing often stops.
Between losing a colleague, turning older, and other sad things I can’t even seem to fix the citations in my article. I need to work. I need to write. I know I will feel somewhat better if I write because writing = productivity and progress. But somehow writing seems wrong. If I am able to pull myself together to write through the sadness and pain then it seems like those losses don’t matter or they are somehow diminished. Its all just sad.
My meeting with my advisor went really well yesterday. According to him, the prospectus is in good shape and he had some very complementary things to say about the writing and just how hard I had worked on transforming the various drafts into this very solid document. There are just a few small additions I need to make to the prospectus and early next week it will get circulated to the rest of my committee.
I’m not sure how the committee will feel about the prospectus as they have been largely kept in the dark about the process and the document itself. Thankfully, as most everything runs through my advisor, I should be shielded from any of the seriously harsh comments — I hope.
Its my birthday today – shhh! I don’t have to meet with my advisor until this afternoon to talk about my diss. prospectus or my article. Part of me wants to completely blow off my morning and go shopping, but I know that I should stay home and work. We will see just how naughty I am willing to be.
If you are anything like me you sometimes find yourself unable to fall asleep. Your mind wanders or alternately races as you think about all that you need to do in the morning or how that last thing you read could tie into the dissertation or that article you are working on or how you need to remember to pick up dental floss at Target tomorrow because you just ran out of floss tonight mid-floss. The past few weeks have been bad in this regard. The work dreams have been especially daunting.
Usually I am fairly good at staving off the nighttime insanity by keeping a small notebook and pencil in my bedside-table so that I can write things down when they strike me. Of course I refuse to turn on the light because that would be an acknowledgment that I am not sleeping and doing something that looks like work when I should be passed out cold so that I can get up at 4:57am (yes, that is most seriously the time my alarm is set for). When I wake in the morning my notes to myself are rather interesting to decode – I feel like there is an old Seinfeld episode about something like this – but at least I have those ideas down on paper. And the ideas I seem to come up with somewhere in that land between wake and sleep are often really good.
My nights have gotten weirder as of late, however. I can’t seem to sleep through the night. There are honestly so many writing projects that I am juggling right now that they literally wake me up at night. Last week was tolerable because writing thoughts would wake me between 1am and 2am and that still allowed for enough time to get back to sleep before my alarm went off so that I could drag myself to the gym to start my day and get back to writing.
Since this past weekend one project has been waking me up nearly hourly – as the project drives me crazy during the daytime it is no wonder that makes me crazy at night. Thankfully the project that is waking me is a short-term one (e.g. not my dissertation), so it will be done in less than a month, but right now I would rather dream of sugar plum fairies than structural tweaks to my paper.
Sleep soundly dear writing-friends. Good-night.
That whole month off that I dedicated to writing and revising completely made me forget about grading student work. Yes, somehow I managed to remember class preparation and teaching and just how much of a time suck those can be, but clearly I blocked out the whole grading aspect that goes along with those duties.
I have a HUGE class this term, so I have broken the students into sections so that I will not be slammed with 8000000000 papers at once. The bits of grading then that I will do each week won’t kill me, but they do still eat up precious writing time. Ugh. I want a fellowship for next year!