To take a break from the non-stop reading, I thought I might write a little blog post to update my readership on life and living in this academic wunderland. Life these days is occupied by reading for my dissertation exams, teaching my two sections of intermediate, reading for the exams, and oh.wait. and….. reading for the exams. I take them on the 17th of November to the 25th. Yes, that’s the week of Thanksgiving. Yes, that was my choice. And yes, that’s 9 consecutive days. My other option was to take them right after classes (the ones we teach), which is around/on my birthday. Somehow the thought of turning 31 whilst taking a 9 day exam was less than thrilling. It’s hard enough to be 31 and still in school, let alone turning 31 while completing one of the more insane ‘hoop of fire’ routines we are asked to perform in this 5 year endeavor.
Of the 7 of us that are taking the exams, I am the only one who chose the 3 week early option, which makes me feel mildly crazy/special. Maybe those extra three weeks will give them all a moment of utter enlightenment, but you know what? I really don’t care. This was never a competition for me. It was a life choice, and hard and long one at that. I suppose you could see me as a ‘finish the marathon kinda girl’ (proverbially speaking) rather than a ‘win the marathon kinda girl.’ There are both types of student in our program and I’d definitely fall into the latter group.
There are two ways to pass the exam. Pass and high pass. Guess which one I am aiming for? Yep. You got that right. Pass. Pass me and push me along to the proposal, people. After the exam, I will take 30 days to decompress, a time-frame falling coincidentally right around Christmas and 9 days post-birthday. After Christmas I’ll probably go to the Hudson library, seeing that the Swede and I will celebrate in Ohio this year, and take my laptop, a bunch of books and start writing my proposal. The proposal will shift between me and my two advisors via email until I get the green light to propose it. This has to happen before the end of Feb. 2013 (i.e. when I jump on a plane to Brasilia for 9 months). Goal with the proposal? (see goal of diss. exams).
Following that hoop-o-fire, I’ll achieve a status called ABD (all but dissertation for those of you who do not have a friend doing a Ph.D. and if I haven’t mentioned it in an earlier post). The obvious goal is to be ABD (with proposal successfully presented) prior to Brazil in order to leave the country with a plan (proposal) for the thesis, and without any unattended to items and loose ends (rings of fire). In Brazil, the goal is to write a couple of chapters of the dissertation at the very least and in the very best case scenario, write the majority of it. After that it’s back here for at least another semester and 18 months (3 more semesters) at the most. I come back in January of 2014 (December, 2013 will be spent in Ohio/Sweden reconnect with family).
Wow. This ended up being more of a laundry list than anything else. Welcome to life of the dissertation exams. Modernism? Check. Romanticism? Check. Surrealism? Check… Transnationalism… you get my drift. On the bright side, I’ve been baking loads of bread in between studies and even had a chance to go to an Oktoberfest yesterday with the Swede and my gay BFF. It was rather marvelous. I drank beer and people watched. What more could a girl as for? It also reminded me that there is a life waiting for me on the other side of these exams. And it is pretty spectacular (siiiiiigh.)
With love from the academic bumperland from your eternally avoiding-collisions-and-hoops-of-fire,