Still no word. As the hours ticked away on Friday, my hopes steadily declined. My advisor thinks that it’s not necessarily a bad sign, and that the delay could be due to a number of other factors that do not involve rejection. I hope he’s right. The spouse has been a champ at making me (the eternal pessimist) think positively. Whatever the outcome, I know that I did the best I could, and that there will probably be other opportunities out there.
Meanwhile, I’m plugging away at a number of projects, such as the final formatting of my dissertation, starting on conference papers, submitting conference proposals, and other miscellaneous tasks. Here’s a hint for all you dissertation writers out there: Pace yourself on getting your edits done, because you WILL be sick of the damn thing by the time it’s over. I’m currently struggling with getting all the required sections completed (table of contents, acknowledgments, abstract, etc.) and I’m so ready to be done. The abstract shouldn’t be too bad, but the acknowledgments are stressing me out. It seems like such a minor thing, but this is my one chance to properly thank the many people who contributed to the process. I want to make sure that 1) I don’t leave anybody out and 2) I write it well. I have so many people to whom I am deeply grateful, and I want to do them justice. I hope to have everything done by the end of the month so that I can submit it to the graduate school with plenty of time left in case there are any problems. Which leads me to another topic…
Editors. Almost everybody I know who has written a dissertation hired an editor, whether it was to take care of all the nitpicky formatting or to do more substantial usage and style edits. I have elected to go rogue and do everything on my own. The upside is that I feel like the work is all truly mine and I will save hundreds of dollars. The downside is that I have to be particularly vigilant because the graduate school will likely go through my manuscript with a fine tooth comb in the absence of a letter from an approved editor saying that all requirements have been met. I may come to regret this decision, but I really don’t see why I am not capable of editing my own work. I’ll certainly enlist the help of the spouse and perhaps a well-meaning friend or two for the purposes of quality control, but I can pay them in cookies and my undying affections.
Also, I’m thinking of making a few changes to this blog, namely:
- Creating a few posts that give specific advice for different steps of the dissertation process and other aspects of early academic life.
- Changing the appearance of the blog itself (suggestions welcome).
- Posting more regularly, and perhaps being a little more open about things.
- Boosting my readership by actually telling more of my friends about the blog. When I mention to my IRL friends that I do actually have a blog, most of them look quite surprised. It’s not like I have anything to hide, I just don’t know if many of them would find it interesting. However, in talking to some of my fellow students, it seems like a lot of them could use some guidance or stories about what it’s like to go through the dissertation process. I know I certainly could have.
I probably won’t do too much any time soon, given the amount of stuff I need to accomplish over the next month or so. However, I’ll gradually change things as I have the time and motivation to do them. It will be a nice marker of my transition from graduate student to (God, I hope) tenure-track academic.