Monday, November 5, 2007

A long overdue update

What have I been working on these days? I realize that it is time for a long overdue update on the work front. The diss word count bar, you may have noticed, hasn't budged for a few weeks. And yet I assure you dissertation work is being done, progress is still being made. In fact the motors have been moving more quickly than ever.

Within a period of two weeks I experienced both the highest and lowest moment of my dissertation writing career thus far. First I was awarded the TMC award from the G Foundation. An amazing boost to my esteem, a reinforcement of my status as scholar in training, future professor extraordinaire and a move in all ways to reinvigorate my productivity.

Then... a week (maybe two?) later. I receive the infamous email from the advisor-who-must-not-be-named with intensely (and uneccessary) harsh critical words toward some pages I gave him to read of my first chapter. At that point I considered returning the money, notifying the foundation and my school that, "I QUIT!" I can't do it anymore, yada yada yada. If my advisor knows that I'm a fraud how come nobody else seems to recognize it?

Well, the long bit of it is that while advisor-who-must-not-be-named might be socially inept, he knows of what he speaks. Maybe he believes in tough love. And the truth of the matter is that, even though I was close to pulling myself out of the ring, I think I really needed the awakening. In the past two weeks I have been so productive. I have been emailing contacts right and left, requesting new texts from libraries up and down California, and have been reading/writing/reworking non-stop. If people don't have high expectations of you then you probably won't raise the bar. As an editor for the graduate journal in our program I have read a wide range of graduate level work in my field. From those of questionable quality to really impressive high quality stuff—and I'm glad that my advisors expect me to fall at the top end of this spectrum. Why should I allow them to let me simply sneak by? Why shouldn't they push me to the max?

So even the though the little bar on the right has not moved, do not let this deceive you. I am hard at work. And I promised super-smart-but-absentminded advisor that I will give her a reworking of the chapter by November 20. That is my goal, but she probably won't remember either way... ya gotta love academia.


St. Eph said...

This? "If my advisor knows that I'm a fraud how come nobody else seems to recognize it?" Oh, hell, how I hear you. I had exactly that moment recently, and I haven't processed it with nearly the grace you show here. There's still much gnashing of teeth in my world. I'm taking you as a positive example of How to Be a Better Person.

Congratulations on the award! That's where the focus and celebration is deserved.

(Oh, hi. I lurk, and I was moved to respond.)

eloise said...

hi, thanks. i guess i'm pretty good at that self-pep, motivational crap... I try to stay positive.

It's the really the only way... it's either that or wait tables.