Tag Archives: revision

Submitting the Dissertation

I submitted my dissertation to my committee yesterday (can I get a what what?!)

 GIF credit: sqider-man.tumblr.com

Let’s pause for a second so I can tell you what that was like. Because it was really unlike any other submission experience of my life. All day I was thinking “okay, so I’ll go home, finish checking references, and submit. NBD.” It was going to be like when I submitted my first year exam or something. Send an email, sit back in my chair, sigh.

Then I actually entered the last page number in my list of figures and went to save it as a PDF, and my world came crashing down around me.

 GIF credit: gifovea.tumblr.com

My thoughts included:

  1. I forgot something. No, I forgot all the things. They’re never going to let me graduate with this piece of crap.
  2. This is easily the best thing I’ve ever written.
  3. I can’t let go of my baby! Why are they taking my baby?!
  4. THANK GOD this thing is being excised from my life.
  5. Nope, not ready. Not ready at all. Maybe I’ll just wait till tomorrow.
  6. Is that a typo? Nope, just a speck of dust on the screen.
  7. HOLY SNOWBALLS, my title sucks.

That heart-in-throat, blood-pressure-rising, omg-I-can’t-even-hit-the-send-button, if-I-fail-at-this-I-fail-at-life feeling was easily unlike any other I’ve experienced up to this point. Once I actually managed to hit “send,” it felt like the world’s largest elephant had been lifted off of my shoulders (but he was quickly replaced with a second, slightly smaller elephant, whose name strangely happened to be Defense). I called my partner, made some zucchini-and-onions (a comfort food fave from my childhood), poured a glass of wine, and collapsed on the couch.

And this morning is weird. I had settled into something of a routine, getting up at 4:15 or so to feed the pup, work on the diss for a couple hours, go for a very short run with my furry best friend, and head to work. But this morning I’m not sure what to do with myself. So I made coffee. Window shopped on Amazon. Checked Facebook (but nobody’s up, so once you look at your newsfeed once, it’s not like there will be new posts the next time you hit “refresh”). Checked Twitter (same problem).

I’m sure I’ll find things to do in the coming weeks (my list is long… now I have to prepare for the defense, among articles that need to be submitted and other such things). But this morning, I’m happy to blog, enjoy social media, drink coffee, and bask in the awesomeness of no more revisions (at least for the next month).

 GIF credit: reactiongifs.com

Tackling the To-Do List

There are actually a number of strange to-do lists occupying my life right now, not just the one I’m going to talk about here. They include:

  1. The Packing To-Do List. You know, cuz I’m moving to Boston in 5 days (OMG).
  2. The Dissertation To-Do List. That’s the one I’ll talk about in a sec — hold tight.
  3. The CV/Cover Letter/Teaching Statement/etc.etc.etc. To-Do List. Because the academic job market kicks into high gear soon, and the partner-person and I might need to go hunting for jobs in the same city, depending on how some things hash out over the next few months.
  4. The What-Do-I-Want-to-Publish To-Do List. Now that I’ve written a dissertation, I should really publish some of this stuff.
  5. The Must-go-to-all-the-Places To-Do List. Because it’s imperative that I eat at all my favorite Ann Arbor restaurants before I leave.

But for this post — The Dissertation To-Do List.

I’ve hit that funny point in the process where there’s simultaneously very little and TONS left to do. Here’s my list as of this very moment:

to do list

Not too bad, right? I mean once you get about halfway down, all I have to do is format (hahaha — I’ve heard so many horror stories about formatting). Really, there’s relatively little writing and revising left to be done (depending, of course, on a bit of pending feedback from committee members). This list feels manageable. I could knock out a few of these in a single sitting, if I dedicated a few hours to the task.

And at the same time, this list feels downright huge. In part because of all the other to-do lists, and all the to-do lists that I’m going to acquire in about one week when I arrive in Boston and start my new job (again, OMG). So sure — not too bad. But still oh-so intimidating.

It’s okay, though. I have a plan.

My plan is going to sound crazy, but here it is: every morning before work, I’m going to get up at 4:30 a.m. and work on this sucker for an hour and a half. YES. I’m going to. I have multiple things that will motivate me to do this:

  1. The dog. Because she’s a weimaraner and thus extremely high-energy, my dog needs a run every morning. But because she’s a weimaraner and thus prone to an awful and deadly condition called bloat, she also needs to rest before and after every meal. This presents a timing conundrum that can be solved by getting her up and feeding her early, then running her right before I leave for work.

    me and my pup after our daily run

    after our daily run

  2. I’m a morning person. You know, once I convince myself to get out of bed, wash my face, and make some coffee. I get a lot of my best writing done in the morning, when my mind is fresh and the world is quiet (including social media).
  3. I’m NOT an evening person. Around 7pm every day, my body starts to shut down, brain first. I have held many jobs that require me to be “on” well past 7pm, including evening teaching jobs, but I have always struggled with working after the sun has set on the day. This means working in the morning is a far better move for me than planning on working after work, which will inevitably just not happen.

So that’s my plan. What do you think? Too ambitious? Probably. I’m hoping, though, that sticking to a schedule and allowing for occasional slip-ups will enable me to get through this particular to-do list without too much trouble. How have you tackled scary to-do lists, I wonder? Tell me on twitter!

 

New Link: The Revision Project!

Check out the new link in the right-hand navigation bar to my latest project!

I have been working, last semester and this summer, on a project with a few of my colleagues here at the University. We created a website that we have entitled The Revision Project. We interviewed undergraduates here at UM and asked them to talk about their revision processes — the site features their thoughts, along with some teacher resources (these are still under construction, but a few are there!). We’re still working on the site, but since we’re showing it to the EDWP instructors today in colloquium, I figured what better day to tell others, too?!

We hope people will find it a useful resource in their composition classrooms! 🙂 Check it out and tell us your thoughts!