Sunday, April 6, 2008

Checking in (again and again)

Hey, folks-- It's been a while since I've posted, but I think about you all (and this blog) just about everyday. I just returned from a conference in New Orleans where I was fortunate enough to meet Chris, Meagan, Jason (ok, I already knew Jason), K8, Tamika, and a whole host of other dissertation writers. It was so nice to meet others who are in the same boat. While I haven't written here as much as I would have liked (and I'm about to change that), I am so glad to know you all. I appreciate what you are experiencing, and I appreciate that you appreciate what I'm experiencing.

Right before New Orleans, I chatted with my advisor who was very supportive of my work thus far, and while in New Orleans, I was able to meet with one member of my committee. She, too, was supportive. I'm not exactly sure that I'll be able to pull it off, but our plan is for me to finish this summer. It's a huge task, but it just might be doable . . . doable now that I have reconfigured the dissertation.

Now, that sounds uncomfortable. I'm not really changing as much as I am limiting. And given that I'm working with sports, basic writing, and collegiate-level athletics, limiting the work has become an important activity. What I have produced thus far are methodology and case study chapters. The next chapter was to be about "alternative pedagogy" and alternative assignments, but I've decided to wait on that and let the data and that informs this chapter become other potentially publishable work. What I'll do now is take what I have and focus on how the fairly traditional assignments I have highlighted in the case study chapter were taught in with "alternative pedagogy." I hope that made sense.

But the point is to focus and finish. Focus and Finish. That's my new mantra.

While finishing and focusing on the dissertation is first and foremost (what's with all the "fs"?) on my schedule, I do have a few other writing projects bubbling to the surface. Chris and I are working on a collaborative article on student athletes and surveillance, and I'm finishing another collaborative piece with a local colleague on reflexive photography. I'm also drafting an article that is not dissertation related, but is related to my current full-time job: dissertation-writing groups in a writing center.

OK, I have about 3.5 months to finish my dissertation work. I think I can do it, but it'll be hard. I do have a tendency to be a bit soft emotionally . . . and I anticipate that to be a challenge, but I'll get this done. I'll get it done if I focus and finish. Expect me to post here quite often.

Oh, and I've been using an analogy for writing the dissertation for about a year: wrestling an alligator. I now have a picture. A real alligator. I've already kicked its ass so hard, it's color is gone. (Pic taken at the New Orleans Aquarium.)

1 comment:

Abby said...

Focus and finish. I like it. I have around 6-8 weeks to do just that (depending upon when my committee members want my dissertation). So I'm on board. Focus and finish. Will do.