One more time…

I did not get around to posting on this year’s compsiversary… partly because the game was just awful (like REALLY awful), but also because I found it slightly depressing that we’re at the FOURTH freaking compsiversary and I STILL DON’T HAVE A PHD. Yes, I know. It’s all very close and all that. BUT REALLY. It’s been FOUR YEARS since I completed comps… and I don’t have a PHD. You get the idea.

In happier news, I’m heading to Puerto Rico (again) on Tuesday for NWSA. I intend to be a part of a roundtable on women and/in music, attend the keynote address featuring bell hooks, and spend the rest of the time on the beach & hopefully taking an official tour of something or other.1 

In less happier but very necessary news, my defense is scheduled for the following Monday morning… at 8 a.m.2  You have no idea how happy I will be when this is over. Unless I fail, and then I will just be very sad… like way more sad than this:

But let’s not think of such things right now. I should probably go write things for the conference next week, and/or work on my presentation for the defense. And think happy thoughts about scenes like this one 🙂

View from the Malecon Esperanza

View from the Malecon Esperanza


1. To the great surprise of no one, I have not finished my paper/presentation for this conference. We present on Thursday, so there’s plenty of time!

2. I will never not link to the McSweeney’s “Snake Fight” essay when discussing my defense. I find it hilarious, and frighteningly apropos of many aspects of grad school. Also, if you know me at all, I clearly, clearly did not choose the time for this snake fight.

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Three Years

Three years ago yesterday (three years!!!), I was in Jacksonville, FL, with Violin Doctor at a sad and sorry football game. I texted her after yesterday’s game: “Our presence in J-ville three years ago really turned the series around.” Since we were there, the Dawgs have won three straight against that other team.

EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL (2010)

EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL (2010)

Know what hasn’t changed since that game three years ago? I still don’t have a phd. I know, right? It’s not that I haven’t been doing trying-to-graduate-things since the two year compsiversary, mind you, I just haven’t finished… yet.1 I am MUCH closer to graduating than I was a year ago, but I still have some Things to write, and Lots of Things to re-write and revise. 

In the past year, I’ve applied for fellowships, traveled to new and not so new-to-me places (New Orleans, Puerto Rico, Charleston, Texas and SXSW, and of course Chicago a few times), found my time with the Writing Intensive Program officially come to an end, and moved out of my office at school. I’ve also written a lot of words and many, many pages.

But then, my dad died in August, which puts all of these things in a different perspective. Life is moving on, but I have found myself less willing to freak out about school, less willing to sacrifice sanity for school, and less willing to make school the Most Important Thing.2 I decided to forego attending any national conferences because the thought of them (the stress, travel, and all those academics) seemed completely overwhelming to me.3 While this might not be the best academic decision, I will call it a successful season once our family makes it through the holidays.

So unless something unexpected intervenes, I will write a dissertation. I will finish the requirements of my degree, like I said I would. I will graduate in May 2014 (MAY!!!). But for now, even though three years since comps seems like a LONG time (and plenty of time in which to write a dissertation), I think I’m just where I’m supposed to be.

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1. Thanks to friend and fellow musicologist T for naming the event!
2. I know part of this is the grief and sadness, with maybe a little bit of depression thrown in for good measure, but for now, I’m going to allow the procrastination of Academic Crazy. It’ll get here soon enough. #professionalprocrastinator
3. Also, they rejected my abstracts anyway.

One year

One year ago today, I was incredibly relieved and ridiculously sleep-deprived, riding in a car with Violin Doctor and heading to Jacksonville, Florida, for a football game. At approximately 4:30 a.m. that morning I emailed the last of my comps questions to one of my committee members, concluding the two-week ordeal of written comps for my degree (the oral portion of my comps happened a few weeks later). I’m guessing that henceforth, the annual Georgia-Florida game will always remind me of comps and the trip to Jacksonville.

Some associated memories from that weekend that came to mind this morning (in no particular order):

  • Violin Doctor picked me up that morning and after we had been on the road for fifteen or twenty minutes, I realized that I had forgotten my ticket for the game. We promptly turned and went back to my house to get my ticket.
  • We ate an AMAZING meal at Cantina Laredo and had a lovely stay at Hotel Indigo.
  • We met up with one of our professors before the game (my committee member to whom I emailed the comps essay) and he had already read the essay.
  • At one point, I called Professor’s wife’s phone, and they were on the beach flying kites. Of course.
  • The game was, as has been the case recently for Georgia fans, disappointing, and replete with intoxicated folk.
  • The drive back from Jacksonville was not an exciting one… especially after the whole ‘losing the game’ thing.
  • It was a fabulous way to finish up comps.

I can’t believe it has already been a year. I also can’t believe I still haven’t submitted the prospectus to the committee. I confess that I didn’t really get very much accomplished the rest of that semester last year. In the Spring semester, I started putting together fabricated bits and pieces of a (faux) prospectus, but about halfway through the semester, Advisor and I realized that I could go to Chicago over the summer and get some data on which to base the (real?) prospectus.

And that’s where we are. I’m sending Advisor the first complete-ish draft early next week… so I’ll be at the library all afternoon to (hopefully) shore some of the important missing pieces. And while in one way, it seems like (academically) not a whole lot has happened in this past year, I know I’m making progress (I think?)… just progress at the speed of the tortoise, not the hare. Aesop, let’s hope you’re right on this one.