Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Dissertation Girl Official Announcement!

Yesterday I drove the two hours to Carbondale to see my fabulous, fabulous adviser Dr M in order to talk about my most recent revisions of chapters 4 (Results) and 5 (Analysis).  For those of you who don't know, I have been working at SIUC as a PhD student for about 12 years, but working hard on my dissertation (post coursework and comps) since 2008 (so about 5 years).  I did an ethnographic study that was difficult to complete in terms of problems in early 2010 and then I was diagnosed with cancer just after completing the first part of that study (the actual fieldwork component).  It probably took me a year to get back to my research and I was lucky enough to get selected in 2012 to attend the Dartmouth College Summer Seminar for Composition Research that served as the pivotal component to get me back to working on writing up and analyzing my study.

And so here we are today  -- almost done.

I applied for graduation before (last year) and it didn't work out so I am little hesitant to report that I have, indeed, applied for graduation again.  As in "May 10" of this year.  I figured that writing about this situation in this very public forum might make me more accountable -- and many of you know that I work best under peer pressure and deadlines.  It is just the way I work.

So here is the deal -- I can graduate in May if -- and only if -- I manage to pull the entire study together by next week.  And that is -- in theory -- quite do-able.  As you can see below, Dr M and I worked yesterday for a few hours in going through these chapters and detailing every little thing that needs to be added/ deleted/ further explored.  Since I have chapters 1-3 already done (though there are a few minor revisions to be made), I can work on these two chapters this weekend, as well as finishing up the reshaping of the last chapter draft (the conclusion).  By next week,  I need to sent the entire package to Dr M as one document (about 250 pages, I think).


If she believes that I am ready for the Defense after reading the entire document (and you do not want to go into one of these NOT prepared!), then she will work with my committee to schedule the Defense -- right now this looks like it could happen the last week of March.  I will then have a deadline for Format Check through the graduate office on April 4 and then the Final Submission deadline on April 11.  If I meet all of those deadlines, I graduate in May.  If I don't, I graduate in December.

So I suppose the good news is that I will graduate in 2014.  I would like the month to be May so I just have to work my ass off this next week.  And I can do that.  And I will.  Thankfully, there are no huge sporting events for me this weekend (I am going to practice my swimming on Sunday morning, though, so I know that I will have a break over the weekend).  I know what I need to do and I just need to sit down and do it.

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