Wednesday, March 21, 2007

step 2: check!

completing a PhD is kind of like completely an epic backpack - a Pacific Crest or Appalachian Trail backpack. it doesn't proceed as one would expect and years can be spent struggling without achieving any appreciable progress. there are heady moments when one finishes writing a grant or gets results back from the statistician, but more often days are filled with abusive reviewer comments*, incomprehensible experimental technique failures, and long periods of slow slogging.

to keep from getting lost in the hugeness of it all, i made a 'To Do' list when i started the PhD. this list broke down everything for every project in play and planned and i update it regularly. it is this list that has kept me going, because a PhD is huge, but 'Finish literature search' and 'Follow-up with statistician' are manageable. recognizing this, i have taken the same approach to the Defense. step 1 was getting it to my boss. step 2 is getting it to my committee. step 3 - prepare slides for my talk, study and plan follow-up experiments so i can field potential questions best. step 4 - defend. step 5 - either celebrate or fall in front of a truck (or perhaps one too many margs to temporarily drown my sorrows). the steps definitely help, especially given my new friends Insomnia and Probable Gastric Ulcer.

yesterday morning i turned my dissertation in to my committee. to celebrate with me, Mom sent me these lovely flowers. they really brighten up the place and my spirits. i started my slides yesterday, but didn't push myself too hard. i was pretty fried and figured it would be better to recuperate than work inefficiently. the weather was nice enough that i was also able to fit in a 7 mile bike ride in doing errands. today i have an appointment to recheck my 'niece' Zane and then home to work on slides and future research 'directions'.

Rainbow trouts
Originally uploaded by jacquichris.
last night i did finish the fish socks. they are Knitty Pomatomus pattern using Marks and Kattens Clown on US 1s. i think they turned out very nicely and take pleasure in thinking of them as 'Rainbow trout' - even though no one else seems to appreciate the almost humor. cast on the yarn for a sock swap sock. pretty excited about it, and i think i ended up with just the right yarn.

have to get back to work now... sigh.

*anonymity can release otherwise normal people from social constraints, allowing them to say things both undeserved and beyond the pale.

1 comment:

Denise said...

my bloglines seems to be malfunctioning - it didn't tell me you'd updated your blog. Good thing I decided to check anyway.

I can't believe how incredibly organized you are.

Sending lots of positive energy your way as you get closer to your to PhD-Day! Now where did I put those pompoms?

Go Jacqui! Oh, and nice socks!