Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Defense Date Unofficially Set

Given my distance from University, I could not go through the proper administrative procedure to get all the signatures properly signed for confirmation of Readiness for Defense.

So I did the next best thing: Asked my reviewers to give me an informal indication of my readiness.

As of tonight, all reviewers came back saying "yes."


My defense date is thus set (unofficially) for May 13th. There is no reason to believe that any of my committee members will change their minds, and so I will be purchasing my plane ticket tomorrow.

The countdown begins: two weeks and two days left to go...

Will I have any fingernails left to bite by then?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Anxiously Awaiting

At first, the plan was end-May to early-June. Three members of my committee were okay with that. Then the 4th came back to say that s/he was not available then, and suggested up-to-mid-May or after-mid-June.

So on Friday, I sent out an email asking for the two weeks leading up to mid-May.

So far, two of the committee members have agreed. It being the weekend, I'm not going to push the other two. But if they agree, then I'll be defending in less than 3 weeks.


I'm not sure which is more anxiety provoking: not being able to set the date or being able to set the date!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In Between Done and Defended

Sunday, April 18, late into the night. The Lonely Dissertator sent in the final, final i's-dotted-tees-crossed version of his dissertation to his committee.

Monday, April 19. With very little sleep, the Lonely Dissertator entered into the office to fully assume his new role as the Reflective Director of a Center of Excellence at Local University.

Tuesday, April 20, 5:30am. With little sleep again, the Reflective Director woke up to all kinds of dreams and thoughts associated with his new job, and wonders to himself: "I thought things were going to get easier post-dissertation."

In the meantime, the Lonely Dissertator awaits the the reading of his dissertation by Committee Members before setting up a defense date. Adviser has informally agreed that his dissertation is ready for defense.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

You Know You Are A Geek When...

You know you are geek when you happen upon a scholarly journal article, utter a little bow-tie exclamation to your illustrious self, "oh my! I wonder what this article has to say?" and then print it out just for reading.

Yes, just for reading.

Not reading to write a paper; not reading to teach a class; not reading to publish another article.

J u s t f o r r e a d i n g.

- g e e k -

(I really ought to invest in looking geeky so that there is more congruence between how I think and how I look.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010


On Friday, I sent in the full draft of my dissertation write-up to Adviser.

In other words, I am, practically, done.

There is still the references I have to put in, a couple of minor figures and appendices, and I have to figure out the formating for the front matter. But the write-up is complete. And it's been through a few rounds of editing as well.

I had imagined different kinds of feelings I would have at this stage. Euphoria, a sense of lightness, a big smile of accomplishment... all those positive feelings. But I never imagined this: blah.

Yeah, I feel kind of blah.

Maybe its because I still have about 4-6 more hours of work to do on it (all the references and front/back matter)?

Maybe its because I am not sure if Bigshot Outside Committee Member will be okay with my dissertation?

Maybe its because I have yet to defend and pass?

Maybe its because I have a ton of work to do at the office?

ding dong

Someone's downstairs. I think I'll take that as an excuse to go get a bottle of red wine and chill out for the rest of the night. Tomorrow begins a very busy week at work.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Light

Adviser wrote back that s/he read my theory chapter (chapter 5).

Adviser is normally quite subdued in hir emails, often with an air of professional encouragement.

But this time, s/he used CAPS and !!!!!!!!!!!! to tell me just how much s/he like my theory chapter.

My THEORY chapter! That's the meat, and s/he really liked it!

I wrote hir back saying that lit background (chapter 2) is pretty solid too.

Yep, it is pretty solid.

After reading through over 50 journal articles and book chapters, a critical review of each, and then combining them into a table with analysis of "research area," "type of article," "findings," "regional specificity," etc,. I feel like I can finally say, "I know this field, and I have something new and exciting to contribute."

This is what they told me Ph.D.s are supposed to be all about. Contributing to new knowledge.

I'm glad I'm feeling this way about my dissertation. It was not a mistake to change advisers two years ago and go towards an area that I knew I would not get sick of. I'm already thinking of all kinds of follow-up research and publications I can do.

Nope, I'm definitely not sick of this work!

(Okay, okay, so I was sick of it for a couple of months in Jan and Feb. Okay, most of March too. But I knew I would feel better about it after.)

I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and I think I need sunglasses. B-)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Close to Finishing

One of the things to do in order to legitimize one's classic GT in the academic world is to "retrofit" your theory to the existing literature. Most GT scholars are irreverent about doing this. They are more interested in how the theory has fit and grab for the participants than they are in how it fits in which the trail of academic research that preceded.

Well, I am very much in academia, and so I need to know the rules and play by them (as SW put it: be in the game but not of it.)

Well, lo and behold, my theory is pretty "big" (I don't have the mind for a more apt word, after writing for over 12 hours), so my literature review has taken over 3 weeks to do. This is not literature that is completely new to me as I was already fairly familiar with the field. But when you have a theory to "retrofit," the literature you read take on a new lens. You start to look for and see things you did not see before. And of course, with each new search, another piece of literature pops up.

It's exciting. But it's also exhausting.

This dissertation has got to be done, and soon! The literature background section has taken me three days to write (after 3 weeks of reading and re-reading), and I am still not done. Sure, the chapter is brilliant--it really is, IMHO--but I'm fed up with the work. As they say in Caprica, this is taking too fracking long.

On Resurrection Sunday, I will wake up and not go to church. Instead, I will hit my computer with my fingers to finish up chapter 2. And when chapter 2 is done, I will re-read it together with chapter 3, 4, and 5, and edit. After that, Monday will come, and I will begin writing my conclusion and discussion chapter, 6. It should be a significantly easier chapter to write. Hopefully, I can finish it in one day. And finally, after that is done, I will pull it all together by writing chapter 1.

The kids' Easter break will be over next weekend. I owe them big time--about 7 years of absence. I will send off the entire draft of the dissertation to my adviser by Thursday, and then, take a long weekend off to some beach hotel and just relax for the entire weekend.

Now, that would be a holyday [sic]--spending real connecting time with family.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Rhetorical Question

"What does it mean when you feel embarrassed for a journal in your field that it recently allowed a substandard article to be published?"

I mean, really. It contributed nothing to the field.

*shakes head*

Probably some academic/political thing happening there.