Thursday, January 12, 2006

Last Day of Hell

Sorry to have been out of touch, and thanks for those of you who offered encouragement!! So...I turned it in last Friday, hoping the professors would not have time to read the really crappy parts I wrote last minute. Tomorrow is my defense. Yep, Friday the 13th...at 9am no less (I am not a morning person). Of course, due to my last post, I have a bad cold. I thought I would spend the past week making revisions and preparing for the defense, but instead I took a break and watched TV and took naps, trying to recover from the cold. Today I have to prepare my talk. I wish my mind were a bit less fuzzy from the cold, but I think it's going to be OK. I had a meeting with my dissertation advisor yesterday, and to my surprise she said that my first chapter especially is so good that I need to send the dissertation off to get published immediately...that she thinks Harvard UP is the place to try first. Hmm.... This could very well be merely a ploy to boost my self-confidence, but I appreciate her comment none the less. I'm still worried, but surprisingly not nervous. Which is not necessarily a good thing! I thrive on stress. She wants me to dazzle the committee with my intro tomorrow...and its hard to feel dazzly with a kleenex stuck to your drippy nose. I am going to buy one of those power drinks to take a bit before the exam, though. I don't want to take cold medicine because it will make me loopy.
Anyway...I'm going to get to work now preparing the talk and reading through my dissertation and trying to anticipate questions they might ask.

M asked how I balance this with my life. The truth is I never did! I did practically nothing for several years, letting the rest of life take over--teaching responsibilities, side projects, etc. Then something clicked and I did this for three or so months 8 to 14 hours a day every day of the week. My aunt died of leukemia during that time, but I had promised her I would finish so the night I found out I doubled my efforts and kept on going. EVERYTHING got put on hold. This is not the best way to do it. If I had worked 1 to 2 hours a day, even every other day, I could have gotten this done and it would have been less traumatic. Starting is the worst part. I think the advantage of doing it obsessively like I did is that you enter this intense thinking phase...you can really focus on just one thing. I tend to be obsessive compulsive anyway. My body went into emergency mode. The day after I turned the dissertation in I got sick. It was like my body was holding out for me.

I need to make revisions before turning in the final draft to the grad school, and I'm hoping to do a more relaxed work-on-it-a-couple-hours-a-day thing for that. I think the key is working on something every day, even if it's only for fifteen minutes. Just like exercise, it's hard to do if you're not in the rhythm, and its more likely you won't do it today if you didn't do it yesterday. Once you get the rhythm going, though, it becomes where you are at the moment. I had the luxury of not having children and only one pet to worry about.

Anyway...off to overcome the hump of not having worked the past week!

I'll report more details when it's over. WOW--my hell is going to be over!!!

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