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Posts Tagged ‘discouragement’

Oh dissertation. How I avoid you! You make me break out in a cold sweat. You have come to haunt my every waking thought and many of my sleeping thoughts as well…. and yet, I just can’t seem to quit you…. or rather to FINISH you….

I realized recently that until this dissertation is done, signed, sealed and delivered, I will have no peace and no rest. I will never be able to TRULY relax and enjoy a real day off. Sure there will be other projects and other priorities – articles, hopefully a book or two – that will replicate this feeling of dread and doom hanging over me in the future – but that’s in the future. And in the meantime, after I finish the diss I can take at lease a couple of weeks off. At least. 

Last week I wrote a preface to the dissertation. I realize that the preface is something that most people write last, but I felt I had to do it for a number of reasons. First and foremost, recent events in ResearchLocation, particularly as they relate to my interview subjects, have made it difficult for me to contain the scope of the dissertation.

In other words, do I include a discussion of recent political events or not? How do I account for NOT including them if I don’t – or alternatively how do I finesse the fact that I WASN’T there to observe and interview on these events if I do? After some serious consideration, I decided to limit the scope of the dissertation to the time frame leading up to and including the research. Hence the preface in which I address recent dramatic political events, point out how my research informants have been central to these upheavals, and justify my decision theoretically. All in all I think I’ve done a pretty decent job of it and it clears the deck in a way. 

In other news I received comments back on the introduction from my advisor. I didn’t really want to write the introduction before finishing all of the chapters but she insisted and in a way it WAS helpful. However, now she has come back with a bunch of comments, which while insightful as usual, make me tired just thinking about reading through them and making the necessary changes. Especially since I was somewhat leery of the whole exercise in the first place.

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Tuesday, nap time. Buddy is still in his jammies after a busy morning playing with nana at our house. He’s sacked out on “the big bed” – the place he dreams of sleeping all the time. He is, however, always denied this dream at bedtime – poor kid!

I did get almost everything done for my class but yesterday morning I came home after dropping Buddy off at daycare and went back to bed for a couple of hours. Such is the price for staying up until 12:30 am writing a lecture for class (not to mention grading – oh the humanity). Staying up so late really doesn’t work if you have to get up between 3-4:30 and convince your toddler to go back to sleep until 5:30 or so. 

Tuesday is no day care so this morning was a lost cause work-wise. Buddy and I did some painting and then spent some time playing hide-and-seek in the “big bed” amongst all the pillows. 

Tomorrow however, I will do my (at least) an hour’s worth of work on the diss first thing in the morning. Which means that tonight I need to finish the discussion handout and preview the films I got from the library. I can’t believe how fast this month is going. I’m feeling that familiar sense of panic in my stomach – it is always there but now it is stronger. I’m coming to realize that I need to finish the diss not only to get a job, but because I want to know what it is like to not have this constant feeling of dread and low-grade panic with me all the freaking time. I’m coming to the conclusion that I will have no peace in my life until it is done.

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What a week. I was sick. Then Buddy got sick. Then I started teaching my new, self-designed, and extremely labor-intensive class on Monday (and SG had to take a break to watch Buddy because fever = no daycare for the poor little guy. Then I had to actually teach class on Wednesday (Monday I just went through the syllabus and called it a day). Yesterday I was so wiped out that after I dropped Buddy off I spent the whole day sleeping. I feel somewhat guilty about that but I honestly don’t think I could have done anything useful anyway.

Today I got back on the horse, cleared a path through the toys in the living room, threw some of the dishes in the dishwasher and did some work on my diss. Here, in no coherent order are some random thoughts and events from my life at the moment:

  • Buddy is going to spend time with his old babysitter tomorrow (yeah!) so that I can get caught up on lesson planning (boo!) and SG can do the taxes (double boo!).
  • Since he’s been sick Buddy has revised his usual wake-up time of 5 or 5:30 am to 4 or 4:30 am. We went through this for a while when we were night-weaning him, and we got through it,  but since he’s been sick he hasn’t been eating as much, so he wakes up and then he wants comfort and he flat-out refuses to go back to sleep. Basically he stands up in his crib and screams and jumps for an hour until it is “time to get up.” (We have a no getting up before 5 am rule – you have to draw the line in the sand somewhere).  I should mention that while we don’t co-sleep, his crib is approximately 5 inches away from my side of the bed – we live in a very small two-bedroom house, and the bedrooms are on separate floors (I use the downstairs one as an office). So it is pretty hard to ignore.
  • The 4 am screaming sessions, combined with his revived interest in nursing (although to be honest he has always loved it), mixed with my feeling like death on a sticke, has brought me to the end of my rope. It is time to wean. We will take it slow and gentle and it can take a couple of months, but it WILL happen before my 40th birthday in May. I. CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE. 
  • I’ve made little or no progress on the Self-Improvement Experiment – we have been in survival mode around here for a week. I’ll pick it up again over the weekend and have a couple of posts about moving forward.
  • On Wednesday a couple of emails went around our department list-serv congratulating two of my colleagues on landing tenure track jobs. While I’m happy for them, it is sort of like twisting the knife. Then yesterday, another friend of mine announced that she was invited to interview for a very prestigious department in the UK. Never mind that because of our family situation SG and I agreed to stay in North America, so I decided not to apply anyway, this person is not even close to being finished and she was INVITED to apply. I know that I can’t compare myself to others and that my turn will come (at least I hope it will) but I’ll admit it – my self-esteem has taken quite a blow this past week.
  • On the plus side I posted to FaceBook that while I was happy for friends that I was down about giving two GREAT interviews and getting NEITHER job and a lot of people responded both intelligently and sympathetically. Also one of my best friends, who teaches in the Bay area, sent me some super fancy Easter chocolates in the mail. I started to cry because it is nice to know that there are people out there who understand and who have my back.

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Turns out that the waiting isn’t the hardest part. On the one hand it just totally sucks that I didn’t get either job, especially since I did well in the interviews (I think – they said). On the other hand I am secretly relieved that I won’t have to pack up Buddy and SuperGuy and move across country while trying to finish my diss and do a million other things. But I need to regroup.

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