Tuesday, February 9, 2010

He said that he would make me cry

My adviser just returned Chapter 3 to me with revisions and comments. When we embarked on the dissertation stage of this process, he said that he would make me cry, that he has made all his doctoral students cry! I asked him if I should just start crying now and get it over with!

Thankfully, as an older student, I have had other people make me cry - personally, or professionally, even as a student at a different institution. After awhile, you just say, hey, he or she made a comment - wonder what I can get out of it.

The good news is that he tore up Chapter 3, AND gave me specific directions on what he wants and where he wants it. He is known for his attention to detail, which is one of the many reasons I wanted him as my adviser.

I do get to giggle, though. Since my dissertation is a replication and extension of one of my advisers most recent dissertations, I forwarded that dissertation's research list to my helpful librarian. The librarian is not affiliated with the college that I am attending for my Ph.D. She took the time to point out numerous APA errors - what a delightful time that was! Considering that my adviser missed some of those details when he approved the document - however, I won't tell him.... I might make him cry!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Working the plan inside out - but still working....

Life just doesn't happen as it should, does it?

My timetable was to complete my three-chapter proposal by October 2009. The reality was that I barely got Chapter 1 done by mid-December, then asked my dissertation committee to meet so that I could provide them with an update to see if I was on track or not. My six-month sabbatical was about to start at that time, along with the experiment part of the dissertation was also to begin, so the timing was crucial.

Because my topic is a replication and expansion of another dissertation under the same professor, much grace was allowed. As of today, my experiment is 25% done, I just submitted Chapter 3 - now I go backwards to complete the partially-written Chapter 2.

I must say that it did take a few days (weeks?) to adjust to NOT going to work - sounds crazy, huh? Moving from days of insane pace to one of reflective study is not a switch that I made easily. However, I feel 'in the groove' now and hope that I can accelerate my speed with the writing. Actually, keeping this blog helps me - even if no one other than me reads it - some sense of sanity, I guess!

Friday, January 29, 2010

First Month of Sabbatical

My initial timetable was to complete Chapter 2 of my proposal by today. Since that initial plan, a few events changed the order of the list. My adviser (who hasn't given up on me - yet!) asked that I temporarily suspend work on Chapter 2 and switch to working on Chapter 3. And the experiment is going full-speed-ahead. My adviser asked that the end-of-term survey be divided, administer half of the survey now and the remainder at the end of the term. That small task turned into a two-week event - however, it is mostly complete.

So the progress has been focused on Chapter 3. As it turns out, if you actually work on the document, you can progress. That is, once I am stopped worrying about it, complaining about it, trying to organize it, or do anything other than just write it, progress happened!

Luckily, I have a number of people who were kind enough to kick my butt - especially my husband, who reminds me that I can make anything difficult if I try. He recommended that I just sit down and get it done and you know, I think he's right.

So Chapter 3 is nearly done - I'll do more work this weekend, then email the draft to my adviser on Monday with an update on the surveys. It does feel good to make progress!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Still plugging along - SABBATICAL is wonderous

Since the last posting, I applied for and was awarded a paid, full-time, 6-month sabbatical from work to focus on my degree. What a gift!!! Studying is much easier to do in daylight hours while I am awake and alert. I am enjoying it enough that I may apply for another....

The school requires a 3-chapter dissertation proposal approved by my dissertation committee prior to being considered ABD (All But Dissertation). My timetable was to complete my proposal by October, 2009. However, planning to leave my office took more personal time than I had budgeted. The reality of the situation was that I did complete Chapter 1 by October, 2009. Wanting input from my committee and wanting them to know of my progress, my advisor and I contacted the committee members for an update meeting in late November. That was a good idea to touch base with everyone - and I received good feedback with strong suggestions.

My updated gameplan is to complete Chapter 2 by the end of January, 2010 (Yikes! that's in less than three weeks!). I am operating a bit out-of-order as part of my experiment is being conducted now even though I don't have final approval on my proposal. The risk is that my committee has the ability to challenge any part of my proposal, which may mean that I may have to redo my research and consider current research a pilot study.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Focus - or lack thereof

I was really committed to the fifteen minute a day thing -- until my poor spouse asked me to view a movie together. I have neglected my marriage partner for some time and it seemed so easy to please him by saying yes. However, it meant saying no to my 15-minute a day dissertation exercise.

Tomorrow! for sure.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ready for Chapter 1

Today I got the green light to proceed with Chapter 1 of my dissertation. I am definitely abiding by spending at least fifteen minutes a day order to make small steps of progress along the way.

While I was taking the last year of classes, I had the opportunity to work on outside data for another faculty member on our campus, along with my advisor. What a great way to incorporate some of the learning that I was absorbing. We met today for nearly the last time. I have a few more items to add to the list, but it is primarily done. When it is published, my name will be on the list of authors, which is a good way to start!

Ready for my fifteen minutes...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Supportive Reading

So now that we are finished with the written and oral exams (omg - does that one event define the periods of my life, before the written and oral exams (bwoe) and after the written and oral exams (awoe)?), some time is available for relaxing reading. So what do I delve into? Some great reading that I would NEVER have picked up bwoe period of my life. Top on my list is "Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day" by Joan Bolker, Ed.D. - a reassuring, relaxing approach to getting it all done. Another book that was highly (and continuously) recommended by a peer is "The Black Swan" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I am on my first of what I expect to be many reading of this incredible tome. Ah, for the days of enjoying a good mystery.....