Sunday, December 16, 2012

First Submission of Entire Dissertation



There were many times this semester when I didn't think I was going to make it this far -- but viola!  I just submitted (late last night!) the six chapters of my dissertation.  If you count the appendices, I am pretty sure I am around the 230 page area in terms of length.  NOT that this is the most important consideration, of course!  (But it is kinda cool to think that I have NEVER written anything this long EVER!  Even if it is a huge piece of crap, there is still that little victory to think about!).

So how do I feel about what I submitted?  Meh.  I worked as hard as I could on each chapter but by the time I got to the last chapter (the conclusion) I think I was just wiped out.  I looked up some info online and peeked at a few examples of dissertations that were rhet/comp based but I just feel like that chapter is the most "mechanical."  I guess what I really need at this point is to know what I have done wrong (or not well) and then just to change it to how it needs to be in order to make it to the next step ...

... which is defending the whole thing.  In person.  In front of very smart people.  Sounds like fun, eh?  I am almost at the point of thinking that my entire research is crap but I know this is coming from the person who has been "married" to it for far too long.  I want a divorce.  I want my own place to live!  I might be willing to take the dissertation back but only after she (why do I think that she is a "she"?) attends marriage counseling and comes back a happier camper!

OK, so maybe the marriage analogy is a bit goofy!  I have had a bunch of people ask me about the next step so here it is!  First, the great Dr M tells me what I need to change to make this project more readable and overall better, I make the changes (perhaps we redo this steps a few times!), I defend the whole thing in one scary meeting at SIU, I make any other changes that the committee asks for, and then I graduate!  (and the goal is for this to happen in May!).  My only issues right now is trying to figure out how I want to sign up for my last 3 dissertation credit hours (the goal here is not to have to pay SIUC more than I need to!).  So do I sign up for all 3 remaining credit hours in the Spring and make sure I am done by May no matter what -- or do I pay for 2 in the Spring and save one for Summer just in case things go badly?

But in the meantime -- I am  taking a recharging break (after one of the most difficult semesters ever when you combine dissertating all the time + problem students).  Next week I off to Chicago for a few days with my good pal, Peggy, and then just lots of home time with Jim.  The idea of being a 1950's Mad Men-inspired housewife sounds like fun for a few weeks!


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