Thursday, May 1, 2008

The stresses of waiting

Hi all. So my chair (who lives in a different state) has had my revised first two chapters for about a week now. She told me that she would get back to me on Monday about the first chapter (my lit review).

As of this morning, I still hadn't heard from her.

Now, she has a baby, a pretty old dog, and it's the end of her semester. these all seem like valid reasons for not finishing my chapters. but, in my dissertation-induced insanity, I decided that the chapters are SO BAD that she couldn't figure out what to say to me. That it was taking her MUCH longer than she had anticipated because of all of the very long comments she had to write.

I have literally been breaking out in hives (something I do when I'm stressed. Fun.). So I finally emailed her today telling her that I didn't need the comments -- I'm working on chapter 3 next -- but that I really needed her to tell me whether or not the first chapter was total crap and needed overhaul.

Happily, it doesn't (need major overhaul). she read it today and it's in good shape. There are nitpicky things throughout--clarifications, fleshing out, rewordings--and one major thing I need to do (write a few new pages on feminist pedagogy), but all of it can, i think, be done in a day.


I'm trying to finish the revision of chapter 4 today. It might take me until tomorrow morning, but I think it's possible to get it done today. We'll see. I'm here until 6 today, with one 1/2 hour coffee break in about an hour. Cuz that's what I need: MORE COFFEE!!!

Anyway, to those of you out there who aren't yet sending chapters to chairs, let me just say that waiting for comments, at least for me, is agonizing. But near the end of the process, when your chair or committee members start saying, "hey, this looks good," . . . well, that doesn't suck. :)

Write on, my friends.


Billie said...

Congrats, Abby! I was about to send you something on facebook or comment here -- telling you that it would all be OK -- then I read the rest of your post. :-) It's all gonna be fine! I'm glad she emailed you with the very good news. Very good, indeed.

As a quick update, I met my director earlier this week, and he apologize profusely, but he hasn't read my work -- two chapters, 150 pages -- and he's had it since early March. In fact, the whole committee has had those 150 pages since early March. It's all the same excuses, though: end of semester, their own work, lots of other people defending or whatnot. Yea, yea, yea. He said he'd get to it during the Summer I session. :-( I guess this counts out an August graduation.

The grad director told me to just keep writing.

I am not going to mention any names here as this is a fairly public blog, but if know where I'm in a Ph.D. program, you will probably know who I am writing about next . . . but there was scuttlebutt that when this person was at my institution (this person is no longer there), this person's grad students would write an entire dissertation, start to finish, then would give it to him. He would offer suggestions, revisions, whatever. Only after those suggestions/revisions were made did the diss go to other committee members. At that point, there wasn't much anyone could say but "pass." Grad director seems to think I might be in a hold over from that era. Maybe.

So, I will just keep writing.

Hootah said...

That is wonderful, that you're getting comments that are positive. My diss advisor is a well-respected educator and when he sent me feedback that looked as if a red pen exploded (I'm not kidding) on my first two chapters, I was crushed. That is what is keeping me down and discouraged these days. Instead of revising, I'm creating charts, which are necessary, but not at this moment. Anyway, I digress. It's a frustrating process and I am happy (although jealous) that you're getting a thumbs up. :)

Abby said...

Oh Hootah, I'm so with you. My chair is amazing -- I love her, but my first drafts look like somebody barfed suggestions all over them. It has taken me a long long time to get to a tentative thumbs up. Don't get me wrong -- she's very encouraging -- but my drafts tend to be chock full of "suggestions." You'll get there.

Our process is a little different than, it seems, EVERYWHERE ELSE. the only person who reads any of my drafts is my chair. The rest of my committee don't see anything until the "final" draft which I turn in a month before my defense. So, given that, there's a real chance I won't pass. They won't have seen anything until the make or break moment. Lovely.

Hootah said...


My chair won't let me send anything out either, but his reasoning is because he doesn't want me to "embarrass" myself. Ouch. Keep up the good work!