So tomorrow is an important day for me in the course of completing my dissertation -- I will be presenting my project's prospectus and making sure that all the committee members give me the green light! I actually wrote most of the prospectus more than a year ago, just before my cancer diagnosis, so completing this step is also sort of a symbolic way of saying "Life is back on track." I am a little nervous but I am also excited to get the chance to talk to folks about what I am doing and to get feedback on possible areas that I am neglecting. I was doing a pretty good job there for a few weeks in writing and working on the writing of the dissertation but then .... well, work got in the way. I have been evaluating essays and research steps non-stop for about three weeks now and it's hard to get motivated when I am done just because I am tired. However, tonight -- after my night class -- I will spending time rereading the entire prospectus one more time so I will be able to sound smart and sensible in the morning! :D
So I am off to Carbondale early tomorrow morning (about 2 hours+ from downtown St Louis). Also -- I think Jim and I will be camping this weekend so I will try and bring some articles with me to read -- but I think I might get some "real" time in this next week since I am off to a conference in Ohio -- the Teaching English in the Two-Year College Mid-West Conference in Columbus, Ohio, from October 13-15. I am doing a presentation titled "Writing a New Page as a Composition Instructor: Race in the Writing Classroom." Nothing new here since this is pretty much the research that I have been working on. I will be leaving on Thursday morning to make the trek to Columbus from here in St Louis (8-ish hours I think?) but the conference doesn't officially start until Friday morning. This means, of course, that I will have a quiet evening in the hotel to work on the dissertation -- and a bunch of time on Friday -- hopefully! There are some sessions in the program that look interesting but I will spend any free time just "being a student." It's so much easier to do that when you are away from home. The conference pretty much ends on Saturday at about noon and I will then reverse my trek and head home to St Louis (and this is how I will be spending my birthday! But -- no fears -- a friend who will be going to the same conference said that there is an IKEA on route! I sense a stop coming up! A birthday treat for myself!).
And I need a break. Conferences are so great for picking up new ideas but I am also recognizing that I am just plain tired and it's not even the middle of the semester yet! I think that teaching the extra classes -- and heading up the honors program -- is a lot for me right now, not even counting the dissertation writing and the sporting events. So a few night of doing "nothing" (though I am sure I will have some papers to grade) will do my body "good."