Saturday, May 29, 2010

Focus

Things I'm trying really really hard to ignore right now: constant morning sickness; aversions to most food that S suggests for dinner each night; a horribly aching back; the pending arrival of both sets of parents in less than two weeks; and the dawning realization that I need to hire a lawyer to handle the medical claim against the other guy's auto insurance.

Things that I'm vainly attempting to focus on while ignoring those other things: my thesis. Which needs to be turned in to the university in approximately ten weeks.

So far, I have written 148 pages of my thesis. These 148 pages are very much a draft, and thus are in varying degrees of "doneness". Some of those pages are in excellent shape awaiting comments from my committee. Other sections are still in early draft form, and will probably be rewritten once or twice before going out for review.

I separate my thesis into ten major chunks, and seven of them are at the 90%-or-more done stage, with maybe one minor section in each that I'm still tweaking. (Chapter 2 needs a better conclusion; Chapter 5 needs a little more polishing in its transitions; that sort of thing.) I estimate that the thesis draft itself is approximately 75% done, with most of the remaining 25% needing to happen in the last three chunks, which are at much lower levels of doneness. (For example, my concluding chapter doesn't exist yet. At all. 0% done. I hate conclusions.) Also, the 75% number might be wildly optimistic if my committee hates what I have. Though my committee will only be able to hate what I have if they ever freakin' read the darn thing!

To date, I have sent exactly one chapter out for review. My committee unanimously agreed that they want to see my introduction, then they want to go through several rounds of revision with me on the introduction, and then they want to see the rest of the thesis all at once. So, I dutifully finished a draft of my introduction and sent it out for review. AdvisorB had many thoughtful comments and changes. I updated the chapter slowly while waiting for comments from other committee members. When it became apparent that nobody else was reading it, I sent out a new version and asked my committee members to review the new version. AdvisorB is meeting with me on Monday for another set of reviews. Everybody else: deafening silence. In particular, AdvisorA, my primary research advisor, has given me zero feedback. None. I keep sending her reminders, asking her if she's had a chance to look, and she's completely ignoring me. Last week, I got an email from her, out of the blue, asking me what I'm working on, and if there's anything that she should be aware of. I quickly responded with YES! I'm writing my thesis, and I need your feedback! Please read the chapter I sent you! Nothing.

Also, writing a 200 page document in 20-minute intervals does not work very well, but 20 minutes is about the limit of how long I can sit in front of my computer before my back gives out and I have to walk around and stretch a bit. Back injuries suck. I've been trying to think of a worse time for this car accident to have happened, and I can't think of anything. Pregnant, writing my thesis, planning my dissertation defense, looking for a job, and planning a move. Yeah, excellent timing.

Anyway, ten weeks. Yikes.

5 comments:

HereWeGoAJen said...

That's terrible that you can't get any thesis advice from your ADVISORS.

But ten weeks! Yeah!

Rachel said...

Yay for 10 weeks! I am so impressed that you've got SO much written given what you're going through. If at all possible, I'd try to clue AdvisorB and anyone else on the committee into the fact that AdvisorA is MIA. That way, hopefully you'll get a little extra sympathy if AdvisorA is behind closed doors after the defense being super-critical - after all, they have to vote as a group for you to graduate (it's worked for me before). But yay to 10 weeks!

ScientistMother said...

Good Luck. you're almost there!

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Louella Trent said...

Focus can really be a good trait to have when writing academic paper. And with all the distractive things around you (not referring to your family because they are motivators), I think it is really hard to focus writing the phd dissertation. Anyway, what happened to your paper? I hope everything went well even with your hectic schedule.