So, it’s printed. The forms are filled out. It’s done. I’m really, really a Ph.D. I feel a little like skookumchick. Now I don’t really know what to do with myself. I’m not off to become a professor, but I do have several new irons in the fire. The world does indeed seem a little different.

In my formal acknowledgements, I thanked the usual people–my husband (though not for typing), my adviser and committee, other faculty members, various helpful colleagues. But I also thanked my blog readers. I told profgrrrrl a while back that I really didn’t think I could have finished my Ph.D. without my readers. I felt supported by my readers and also felt accountable to them. I didn’t want to let you all down–though I also knew you’d be there if I did fall down. Some of you even gave me specific comments and ideas. But also, I felt like blogging and reading all your blogs kept me intellectually active in a way that worked for me. Even though I didn’t write specifically about my work here, you all made me think. And the practice of writing every day didn’t hurt either (though I’m told my voice is not academic enough). I didn’t feel isolated the way I’d felt years ago when I tried to finish the degree on my own.

So, thank you all for being there, virtually or otherwise. I am sincerely grateful.

Revision inferno

I’ve moved from the 7th level of revision hell. I’m now in limbo. I already heard back from the grad school who had a few minor things for me to fix–and yet another form to fill out. I’m waiting to hear back from the advisor–mainly about a 2-page section I had to add, which, quite frankly, isn’t very good and kind of opens a can of worms, but hey, it’s mostly done.

I spent 7 hours on Saturday and about 8 or so on Sunday fighting with M$ Word revising. Then I worked another 4 hours on Monday and another 7 today. Crap, that’s a lot of hours. I know you academics out there are laughing at me right now, but keep in mind, I also clocked some regular hours in there as well. I won’t feel like it’s done until I print it out on pretty paper and mail it to the grad school.

Note to self: don’t go getting another degree.

3000 miles later

Thanks everyone for the warm congratulations! I feel mostly relieved. I have loose ends to tie up. That will all be done within a week, I’m guessing. While driving back home today, Mr. Geeky and I calculated the miles we drove to complete this whole trip: a little over 3000. I have seen a lot of America these last two weeks.

I’m too tired to write much more, though I have a lot in my head. The defense itself was fairly uneventful. I wouldn’t say it was fun, exactly, but after about 5 minutes I was no longer nervous at least. They asked some hard questions that made me think–a very good thing in my mind. And, for the most part, I felt like an expert. I think one thing this whole process has taught me is how much I don’t know. And how much more I want to know. I’m very much looking forward to the next stage of my life, whatever that may be.

Defensive Stance

I can’t believe it’s Friday already. In case you’re wondering where I disappeared to, I’ve been prepping for my defense. Also, work has been crazy busy. It’s been a mostly productive week, though I didn’t get everything I wanted to get done completed. I am kind of wigging out about the defense. There are parts of my thesis I’m really confident about and there are parts that I’m less so. I’ve read it so many times now, I’m acutely aware of its weaknesses. I do plan to do something with the thesis–an article, a book maybe–so I’m holding off on changing anything until the defense is over.

Mostly, I’m trying not to feel ill. I’ll be on vacation the next week, and unfortunately, I think I’ll still be doing a little bit of work for my defense. Maybe our fellow houseguests will allow me a run through. I’m hoping I can relax a little and not stress out too much over the defense. It’s hard to believe that in just over a week, it will be over.


I printed it. I went to New York. I’m copying it and mailing it today. I did all the important things in New York. Went to the Museum of Art and FAO Schwartz. Wandered through Central Park, followed by dinner at Friday’s. Doesn’t everyone go to Friday’s when they go to New York? Geeky Girl completely passed out in the car on the way home. We walked at least 6 miles yesterday. That’s a lot for a 7-year old with short legs.

I don’t yet feel completely celebratory about finishing the dissertation. I am pretty sure I’ll be asked to do some revisions. I don’t think they’ll be major, but who knows. It seems like there’s always another form to fill out, which drives me crazy. Until there are no more of those, I won’t be satisfied. My defense is not scheduled yet. The earliest date is May 14. The latest date is July. So I could be hanging out for a few weeks or a couple of months. I’m hoping for May. I’d like to get this whole thing over with. Then, I’ll celebrate.

The Home Stretch?

I think that later this afternoon or evening I may be able to announce that I’ve sent off my dissertation to my committee. I finally finished revisions on the final chapter. I fixed the figures. I spell checked. I double-checked the bibliography and appendices. I’m still working on the conclusion. I’m not sure entirely what to say, so if anyone has any tips about how to end a dissertation, I’d love to hear them. Right now, it’s a pretty short conclusion. I guess I just figured I’d said everything already.

Also this week is going to be less busy at work. I’m taking tomorrow off, possibly going to New York with the family or staying home with the kids while Mr. Geeky goes to New York. We haven’t decided yet. Later this week, we’re traveling to see the in-laws. I haven’t been there except for necessary occasions (i.e. funerals) in a long time. I might also see some old friends from grad school days. Some much needed time off sooner than I thought.

#$*&@ Figures!

I spent the weekend revising a couple of dissertation chapters. I had hoped to finish both of them, but the second one I was working on had figures and they did not want to stay put. I’m so glad I don’t work in a field that requires figures on a regular basis because I’d probably go insane. I’d also probably find a better program to manage my figures. InDesign comes to mind. Most word processing programs can handle the occasional image, but I have something like 20 in this chapter. Okay, maybe just fifteen, but still.

I’ve also misplaced my camera’s connection cable and am having to borrow the school’s card reader to do my 365 project. I missed Saturday because basically I was inside staring at a computer screen all day. Sunday, it occurred to me to snap a photo of the screen. I took one when the computer crashed (as a result of rearranging figures), and another one after the documents had been recovered. Luckily, I save often, so I only lost a couple of sentences.

The 365 project has made me realize how much I stick to a routine and similar surroundings every day. Partly, that’s due to the dissertation project which has kept me at home inside. Partly, too, it’s the weather. I’m not a cold weather person, so I haven’t been outside much. By March, I think the outlook will improve. The dissertation will be out of my hands; the weather will be improving; and I’ll try to do more interesting things.

On Vacation, Kind of

Yesterday was my last day of work for almost 3 weeks. I always have tons of vacation to use up by the end of the year. Even taking today and all of next week, I will roll over a few days of vacation. That’s one thing I would never complain about at work. We get more than enough vacation. It’s a good time to take vacation since everyone else is taking exams, grading and definitely not needing my services. I was able to tie up my projects yesterday and now I’m sitting here in my bathrobe, ready to embark on over 2 weeks of freedom.

Only it won’t be complete freedom for at least two more days. There’s this dissertation thing to finish. The plan is to work on it today and tomorrow and be done. I *must* be done by tomorrow. I can’t take it anymore. I think it will get done. It won’t be the most wonderful thing in the world, but it will get done.

I am so looking forward to really being on vacation. I’ve let go so much and I’m looking forward to getting back to some form of normal. Here’s just a sampling of things I am looking forward to in the days to come:

  • getting clothes out of drawers and closets instead of laundry baskets
  • meals with lower than 50% fat and sodium content
  • no more writing paragraphs in my head
  • baking Christmas cookies and fudge
  • playing games with the kids
  • reading for pleasure
  • time with Mr. Geeky

In 48 hours, I’ll be there. See ya on the flip side.