I’m sure that every dissertator (especially those Very Special Dissertators like myself who are on the, ahem, Longerish Path to completion) can relate to what I’m about to say. OK, here it is:
I absolutely hate this whole dissertation thing. I totally hate my work. What made me think this shit was interesting anyway? I completely hate my job because it requires this dissertation. I hate the writing. I hate the research. I hate the summer. I hate the pressure. I hate how terrible I am at this and how inadequate I am to the task. I mean, if I was really good at this, wouldn’t I be done by now? Hate. Hate. Hate. And, by the way, uh oh.
Yep, just filled to the brim with a huge helping of self-loathing topped with a lovely misanthropic sauce, with a side order of bitchy sauteed in smelly fear over here in Stewgadland. (looking back at that extended metaphor makes me think I must also be a bit hungry…)
Here’s the dealio –
I’ve got until September 1 (the day when classes resume) to finish my degree. FINISH. Not just finish the damned dissertation but finish the whole kit and kaboodle — have had a defense and have submitted the stupid thing to the graduate school. Done. Fini. Complete.
And unlike my other nice little deadlines of the past that I could generally ignore in the interest of mental health, course preparation, baby having… etc. this one is final. Or else I lose my job. Period. Which seems pretty explicit.
Oh, and meanwhile, I have to finish an article THIS WEEK that I promised a bunch of folk I’d have done TWO YEARS ago.
Yes. I suck. And the worst part is that I don’t really want to do it. All I want to do is hang out with my kid. Because she is the cutest damned thing ever. And so much fun. She shakes her little booty whenever she hears music. She’s starting to get enough hair that it is curling. She eats Cheerios by the fistful. During naps she whacks her binky along the bars of her crib like a little prisoner with a tin cup trying to annoy the jailers. And she lights up when I walk into the room like I’m the second coming or maybe like I’m chocolate and springtime and dolphins and flowers and puppies all rolled into one. How on earth could anything else compete?
Nothing can, of course. So let me tell you the only thing that is motivating me to finish. Seriously, this is the only thing. I had this thought that if Spousal Unit kicks the big one and I’m stuck without him I have to support the Gadlet. In that case, I’m going to need a job. So, I might as well keep the one I’ve got, because I’m not going to find a better one anywhere. So, there it is. I’m going to finish so that I can keep my job for the just in case scenario where my husband dies and leaves me without a means of supporting my baby. How’s that for twisted?
(In saner moments I remember that I actually love my job and that that is also a good motivator.)
Where do I stand with this whole bunch of shit that I have to do?
Intro — Written, Approved by Advisor, Ready for Committee
Chapter 1 — Unwritten. But the chapter is synthetic, not original, so requires no challenging research.
Chapter 2 — Partially written, needs revision.
Chapter 3 — Written, Revised, Approved by Advisor, Ready for Committee.
Chapter 4 — Written, Revised, needs 1-2 concluding paragraphs before being sent to advisor.
Chapter 5 — Written, needs revision.
Conclusion — Unwritten
25 pages of 35 written.
Clean-up research partially done.
No idea how to come up with the additional 10 pages.
Well, that’s not true, really, I’ve got some ideas, but it needs work. The only good news is that it is a component of chapter 5, so any work I do on it can be translated into revisions for the final chapter.
I figure I’ll defend the third or fourth week in August, with the draft of the dissertation going to the committee the first week in August, so let’s make that August 1st. Hm. Maybe I better think about the timing of this whole thing…
It gives me: 8 weeks. Which given that I only have 3 day care days a week plus weekends is 40 days. Shitity shit. 40 days. Gulp. Double Gulp.
OK here is a Schedule:
Week 1: (this week) — Finish Chapter 4. All that is left is a bloody paragraph or two for fuck’s sake. Do that today. Send to advisor. Finish clean-up research, finish article.
Week 2: Really finish article. (hey, I know myself, ok?) Apply changes to Chapter 5.
Week 3: Really finish Chapter 5. Send to advisor on June 28th.
Week 4: Revise chapter 2.
Week 5: Finish revising Chapter 2. Start on Chapter 1.
Week 6: Finish chapter 1. Write Introduction.
Week 7: Revise, revise. Footnotes. (Oy vey, they’re a mess. When I started this fucking thing I was using a prehistoric version of Endnote. Then I switched to a prehistoric version of bookends. I need to choose one, fix it up. Oh god. I’m going to die doing this, aren’t I?
Week 8: Do all that other stuff that I thought I could do but didn’t until now.
Well, I thought that would help. Maybe it did. Maybe it just made me more panicked than I was when I started this post. But hey, panic drives away ennui, right? In fact, I think I better stop blogging and get my sorry ass back to work. I’ll resume daily update postings to keep myself honest and working during the days of the week that I have working time. So, tune in for the next few parts where I drag my sorry ass across the finish line with my fingernails while the Gadlet dances on the sidelines.