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Stack of Books
Posted on Wednesday 18 February 2009 at 11:12 am

Dissertation Paralysis

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I'm starting to think I should have an icon that says "Hey! I'm alive." that I can use when I make one of these posts where I offer up excuses for why I haven't been around in ages. Hmmm... maybe Indiana Jones looking for the non-existent bullet wound in his chest when Marion shoots the guy with the gun aimed at Indy in the bar in Raiders? I'll have to think about that.

Anywho, I'm alive. The bronchitis is doing better. The cough isn't completely gone and I'm still a bit tired, but I'm really feeling much better overall and I can usually make it through the day without napping and am able to focus and get some work done again. Which is good because I desperately need to get some work done and bad because I'm way behind now so I just feel stressed and don't want to work because it seems so overwhelming. *sigh* The more I have to do, the less I can do. There's a paradox for you.

Right now I'm mostly focusing on a grant application due at the end of February. The two main things I have to do for it are a 3-to-5-page project proposal and a no-more-than-25-page writing sample. I've got a draft done of both of them, which is good and actually ahead of schedule for me since I am the Empress of Procrastination and would usually be finishing my first draft approximately two hours before the final deadline for getting it in the mail. One of the drafts is decent and the other one completely sucks, which is BAD and the reason I feel like I'm behind even though I'm kind of ahead. Plus there is the whole point of this is the first thing I'm sending out about my dissertation to the wider scholarly community and kind of the start of getting my name and research out there and is so much more important than anything I've ever written. I think all those feelings are the main reason the draft of the short proposal sucks so much. I had so much writer's block and panic trying to get anything on paper and I just couldn't express myself coherently at all. I've never been that bad writing anything before, and this was a stupid little five pages. I'm really nervous and anxious about the entire thing.

On the plus side, there is a meeting tonight of four grad students who are all working on grant applications right now and three professors. We are going to critique the four proposals and try to help make everyone's better. On the down side, I'm nervous about this meeting. I keep telling myself I shouldn't be because no one is judging me. They know this is just a draft and they're there to help me make it better. But I know this draft royally sucks and I'm kind of worried they're going to think I'm an idiot and rake me over the coals. Anyway, after I get the feedback from the meeting tonight, I'll do some revising on both papers tomorrow and then send the whole thing to my advisor. He'll look it over, get it back to me, I'll make any changes he suggests, and then I can get the whole thing in the mail and get back to actually working on the dissertation itself. At least that's the plan. Here's hoping it works.

EDIT: Back from the meeting. It was everything I hoped and nothing I feared. Everyone had good things to say about my paper and thought it was good but, more importantly, were also able to hone in on the problem areas and help me figure out how to fix them. So I've got a lot of work to do tomorrow, but now I know that I've got a more solid base to start with than I thought and i know what to do to fix the problems. It isn't going to be easy, but I've got much better ideas than I did a few hours ago.


labellerose at 7:43 pm on 18 February 2009 (UTC) (Link)
Good luck at the meeting. The draft is probably lots better than you think. And if it isn't hey..it's a draft, right?
From the wilds of the 5-extra-Math-credits OSPI-decided-I- had-to-have, I'll be pulling for you!
bratty_jedi at 3:02 am on 19 February 2009 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I'm back from the meeting and, based on the feedback I got, the draft was much better than I thought and I've got some good stuff to run with to hopefully make it even better. I'm pleased. And very tired.

EDIT: fixed a typo

Edited at 2009-02-19 03:03 am (UTC)

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