Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Breathing a sigh ...

but I don't know if it's relief.  I may have mentioned that I had the last chapter of my dissertation left to complete. I gave myself till the end of December to complete it and mail it off to my supervisor but after giving my self-imposed deadline another look, I decided that realistically, I was not going to get any work done while I was in Florida in a house of 12 people. So I worked really hard after I got back from Hawaii and completed the chapter by December 18. I then read and edited it for several days and by Dec. 22, I emailed it to my supervisor with a note that I wanted to be bale to graduate by June. 

She wrote me back and said that June was doable and she would read the chapter as quickly as she could. Then I started to get anxious about the time lines I set for myself. She gave me back the chapter to edit on January 15 and after spending pretty well every evening at work doing the edits, I compiled the whole dissertation - all 511 pages of it - and emailed it on Jan 21 to the entire committee of three to read and give me feedback. That should take about 2 weeks but it is a lot to read. I will then do some final edits (hopefully no more than a week) and send off the final draft to my supervisor who will then send it off to the examiners. They have 4 weeks to read and prepare questions for the oral exam which I expect will be set for sometime in the middle of March. 

The hardest part of any of this was to write a 350 word abstract for my dissertation. I had to sum up my 511 pages into 350 words. Then I had to find a title of 15-20 words that would capture the essence of those 511 pages. Then it came down to 75 characters including letters and spaces (this has to go on the spine of the book). That was really hard! I thought of simply submitting the title for the spine of the book and telling the exam committee to interpret what I was saying from those few words but that would be something NOT to say in your dissertation defense. Here are some more  THINGS NOT TO SAY AT YOUR DISSERTATION DEFENSE. I was telling a friend that I was feeling a bit anxious about this stage and she said that she was glad to know that I was normal like everyone else. That's funny.

Last week I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with my schedule because I have so many other things going on. My schedule at work is getting quite busy with projects and we are back to being one consultant short in our department of 7 people so we are all having to do a bit more. Then I have to teach a course at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon (about 2.5 hours from here) for three alternate weekends starting this weekend - which really means that for the next 5 weekends, I'll either be busy teaching or marking assignments. Last summer when I agreed to teach the course, I didn't think that I would be at this stage of my dissertation so I tried to give it away to another colleague but she couldn't do it so I'll be quite busy in the next month. Then there's the consulting work for another organization who is hiring me to lead them through their strategic planning for the next five years.

Okay, so I am very busy but I am looking forward to March when Sunita and the kids come to visit (trip booked today) for a week and we'll have Sharm's kids for a week while they are away. If I can get through my exam before that, it will be a great Spring Break. If not, it will still be a great Spring Break. Managing four kids will be a good distraction.

So that's my next four weeks. How is yours after the holidays? I keep asking questions and hoping for a response but no one seems to be reading. I keep writing anyway. It's very cathartic.