Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Back in the Saddle and Already Sore

In addition to working a full day and spending tremendous amounts of money ordering furniture online, I have spent several hours tonight doing some preliminary bibliographic research for my prospectus by running online library catalog searches and printing out interesting entries. I plan to go home and curl up with my gigantic stack of paper for a few more hours while I winnow wheat from chaff, segregate those items I need to locate within my own library's system, and divide the remainder up into orderly stacks according to library and location.

Tomorrow, I'm going on a preliminary library blitz while I still have the car. I expect at least one rolling suitcase to be involved. And I'll be heading over to another specialized library on Saturday to do more of the same.

This hasn't been a painless experience, not only because of the inevitable near-hyperventilation it's inducing as I realize
1) how much I have to do in the next two weeks if I'm going to meet my deadline for producing an annotated bibliography draft;
2) how much I have to do in order to complete the dissertation, which is going to involve at least two gigantic cultural areas about which I currently know nearly nothing; and
3) how intensely lonely all this work is going to be
but also because I'm forced to recognize how much it sucks that OP has washed his hands of me. It's true that I don't miss maintaining his ego, and it's true that I'd have had to fight him tooth and nail to produce a potentially publishable diss, but it's also true that large portions of the bibliography--and of the project itself--will be about issues my new committee has little to no experience with. I've already found myself wondering how in the world I'll field the potential job-committee question as to why--with a dissertation that so clearly fits into OP's area of interest--he wasn't on my diss committee.

I also wonder how I'm going to muster up either the enthusiasm--or, failing that, the dogged stoicism--to get through this final stage of my degree. That's particularly true since I really can't allow myself much down-time. I know I have to push myself hard to finish inside of two years if I'm going to have half a chance of getting through at all. Because, if I don't, I really think I'll just be too demoralized to keep going.

But maybe the lack of down-time will be my salvation, after all. If I can just manage to keep slogging through this damn thing and not let inertia set in between stages, maybe the simple fact of making progress will keep my head up.

Ugh. I so want this all to be over with already.