Saturday, January 07, 2012

this time, with feeling

I had a really nice meeting with my advisor on Friday. A positive one, at least! Not that we don't always have positive meetings, but this one did re-motivate me for spring. I had myself worked up in such a knot. Here are some factors that had me feeling that way.

  • The first week back at work after my week in the east was sooooooo busy.

  • The semester starts Monday and that is always a very busy couple of weeks for me, my advisor, and pretty much everyone else in any higher ed setting.

  • This semester is curiously short-looking, when I peep at the calendar. The number of weeks is the same (I counted, to make sure), but it seems like everything is happening sooner this term. Spring break seems like it's a week earlier, for example.

So all this stuff and more had me up all night worrying. My consensus to myself was "I'm not going to graduate in May. It's practically April 12 (the spring preliminary approval deadline) already!"

On Friday I had to meet with my advisor for an unrelated reason, and I decided to bring it up. I rattled up all the stuff I just listed to you guys (I tend to 'rattle off' a lot when I'm faced with him because I usually have a lot to say), and he ended my sentence with "And it'll be February before we know it."

YES. EXACTLY! And with me wanting to give my committee ample time to review my paper and suggest revisions if they see fit, I'd like to have it to them in early March if at all possible. So that'd be...a month (and a short one) to work on it? Plus, take in to account that--just like in the fall--it needs to be volleyed back and forth between me and my advisor, each of us taking several days to reread, revise, suggest, edit, etc. And we're giving it a nice hefty overhaul--it isn't as though this paper is almost done. I had also convinced myself that he was thinking we would 'take our time' this year (in other words, he didn't necessarily have a 'May' date in mind). (I had interpreted through several emails of his that we had a TON of work left to do and it was going to take us a long time to do it. I could not find a solid "May is a good goal," anywhere. In retrospect, it's probably because he didn't want me to go nuts like I did in the fall, trying to make the December dates!) With all this running through my head, my muscles were tight from head to toe and I wasn't sleeping a wink... And the semester hasn't even STARTED yet.

What a great begin to my "this will be a balanced, optimistic year," internal proclamations.

But we met and it was a good meeting. We talked through the process of the changes, what needs to be changed and how long each part will probably take. He made some estimates and I made some clarifications and he told me he did think we would be done in time for May deadlines--and without pushing the bleeding edge of the deadline like we were doing in the fall. I really, really needed to hear it. (I have absolutely no reason to believe he was leading me on by telling me this, but I just wanted to say: if he happens to stretching the truth of that, he's smart to do it because deadlines like that are the motivation I require stay in gear.)

As I left, I reminded him that he has the revisions in "his" court (he has had it since before Christmas; we both took a bit of a break but I didn't want that thing hanging over MY head!) and it would be super extra great if he'd take a look at it at his earliest convenience. I figured I'd be very lucky to have it by the end of this coming week, since it's the first week of classes and all. "Besides," I joked. "I'm too busy prepping for my class. If you send it to me tomorrow, I'll smack my forehead and cuss." It wasn't 3 hours later that he sent the thing to me, with subject "Tag, you're it," and a comment like "You didn't want it tomorrow, so I sent it today!"

My move.

And did you catch that? I'm teaching a class. See, in the fall, I felt awfully under-booked, with just working my job all day and working on my dissertation all night and all through the weekends. I needed something to DO, ya know? Heh. So I'm teaching a class. Which is pretty much like taking a class, except it's exponentially more work (since you have to pay attention to each student's progress and evaluate their assignments).

In all seriousness, this is going to be a whole new level of time management for me. (Now with more caffeine and even less sleep!) You guys remember October, right? This spring will be like that, plus teaching a class! Wooooooo.

I really really wanted the opportunity to teach though. Since I'm not a GRA/GTA due to my other employment, I have rarely had an opportunity to teach. When this one arose, I wanted it. Had I graduated in December, I'd be teaching it alone. When I didn't graduate, I said I still wanted to teach it. I still can, except that I teach it under supervision of my advisor. (Teaching the class free and clear would require a doctorate.) I do get a lot of freedom to make the class my own though. I'm excited!

It's going to be a really fun, interesting, and (again) very draining semester. I'm going to need 'balance' and 'optimism' to pull me through. I'm still worked up in a knot, but at least it's a "I have a lot to accomplish!" knot, as opposed to a "the world is closing in on me and I'll never ever finish!" knot. Right?!

Now I'd better get back to my revisions. I spent the entire day working on class prep, but since my advisor gave me the opportunity, I want to turn those revisions around this weekend too. No rest for the wicked.