redzils: (Default)
Oh yeah, I think I forgot to tell you, innernet:  I passed my dissertation defense last Monday, and am now Dr. Red Zils, Ph.D. (The only person who calls me Dr. Anything is my mother, and she likes "Dr. Red" instead of "Dr. Zils").

Well, I didn't actually forget to tell you, but it felt so big that I didn't know how to box it into words that day. Then a day passed, and another, and I have been busy doing the Snoopy dance (accompanied by the mantra 'I did it! I did it! I did it!'), touring OurNation'sCapitol with my mother, eating great food with people I love, working on the minor revisions my committee asked for, jumping through paperwork hoops, interviewing for jobs via telephone, planning an on campus interview for a job in OrangeGrowingState, trying not to freeze to death in the garret, and generally living my same life.

Having a Ph.D. doesn't make me smarter, or faster, or richer (ha!). It doesn't make me a better person, or a more interesting one. And I am gleeful about it anyway - I wanted this so badly; I worked really hard to make it happen; and I accomplished my goal. That right there makes me happy and proud. I am glad I did it, even if this economy means I go home to work in the family business, instead of ever using my degree.

I'll be in Footballsburg one week out of every month from now until May, and probably wherever TDaC is the rest of the time (OurNation'sCapitol at the moment, OrangeGrowingState, probably, after that). I'm telecommuting for the job that pays me, working on three or four manuscripts with my advisor, and taking advantage of the flexibility to do so from places that make me happy. Please let me know if you are here or there or anywhere we might meet - I'd love to see you.
redzils: (Default)
How am I?

Well, I am here.

I cant wait to have internet at home, so I dont have to take my computer places to get anything done. I called the evil company tonight to check my order status, and was assured that (contrary to the packaging) it would not hurt to plug everything into the wall before they flipped the magic switch (which apparently takes 6 working days, 8 real days).  Following that call, I tried to set it all up and discovered the modem power cord would not plug into the modem.  One phone call later, a replacement should be arriving tomorrow. They are lucky I found that out today, so I will (hopefully, knock wood) have the pieces I need by the time my internet is supposed to work.

What if...

Jun. 5th, 2007 03:34 pm
redzils: (Default)
Now that I am free of The Wicked Witch of the South-East, I can move on to worrying about getting into the DBP program.  Well, I could... but I am not.

There are a couple of reasons for this:

a) I think I am in, and there is not a damn thing I can do at this point to change whatever outcome.

b) if I am not accepted, I will still be okay. I'll cry some angry tears, decide it's a signal from the universe that I should be doing something else, and move on.  These first weeks of summer have reminded me that life outside grad school can be really fun. I'd have to find a different job when my internship ran out at the end of the summer, but I could probably get used to making real money, having evenings and weekends off, and working with people who respect my skills.
redzils: (Default)
To borrow a line from Eliza, FRANKENSTEIN HALLELUJAH!

In my inbox:

Hi Red; your packet is complete and has been forwarded to the Director of Graduate Programs.  It  will be distributed among our area faculty and then we will send it on to the doctoral admissions committee.

Have a great summer,
Dr. Division Head

This means I am FINALLY FREE of my old advisor, the uhoh program itself, and all the badness.   I'm FREE!
redzils: (Default)

I got all my thesis paperwork in on the last day of the semester, and submitted my application to the new program I want to join within an hour.

The next week I sent a reminder to my thesis committee about the letters of recommendation they had agreed to write (in our department letters are required from all thre members of the committee), setting a deadline. I received two "okay, it is submitted now" emails and a one "thanks for the reminder - I will have it in by the end of the week."  So, guess whose letter is still missing a week after the deadline?

My advisor's, of course.

I just re-reminded her, and hopefully she will be ashamed enough to make good on it right away.  Gah. This is the last thing I need before I am free of her forever, and letting it drag out this way is making me crazy.
redzils: (Default)
Today was the first day of business-back-to-(almost)-usual here at Virginia Tech, and I think it went okay.  I was in our building for about 5 hours, and it was subdued.  We had volunteers - grad students and faculty - sitting at a card table in the lobby wearing ribbon armbands and name tags asking "May I Help?" I did not have an official shift, but spent about two hours sitting at that table, talking to Greg-the-Great and participating in occasional student interactions. 

An obviously stressed person asked us about counseling resources, and got a handout.  One of my students from last year stopped in to talk - she lost a dear friend and is very sad, but trying to navigate the rest of the semester wisely. I was glad to see her, and hug her.  Another student wanted to talk about feeling guilty that students are being encouraged to take their grades-as-of-Monday as semester grades, rather than completing the rest of the semester.  She feels horrible about personally benefiting from this great tragedy, and I can see her point.

Students have been offered the option to base their semester grade on work completed before April 15, on that same work plus some chosen assignments that are left, or on the semester as originally planned.  Very few are planning to complete the originally planned work, and many instructors are not even asking for those assignments.  This makes sense. After all, our students are anxious and sad, grieving, and unsettled.  They are not performing at an optimal level, and we dont want academic pressure to create additional stress.  However, I dont think letting their semesters be done as of the tragedy is the way to go either. In my totally bullshit opinion, it is healthier for most people to continue coming to class (i.e. Being In Community) and have official academic outlets for the energy they may be attempting to manage.  I worry about students who are going home now, with no plan to return this semester. After all, it is only going to get harder to come back as we get further and further from the incident and it gets bigger and bigger in their heads.

I have no better solution to offer - some people have nothing left to give right now and should obviously be excused from the rest of the semester.  Since I am very, very uncomfortable with trying to develop  an objective rating scale for other people's pain (to determine who deserves that consideration), it must be offered to everybody.  I guess my ideal solution would involve no one dying last Monday, but in the absence of that best-possible-alternative, we just have to figure out what flawed, screwed-up compromises work best.
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I am creeping up on a decision.

I talked to my parents last night.

I activated the KM network to see about a job here next year.

I asked my roommates to figure out if I would need a new place to live.

None of these are a decision, but I am sidling towards one.
redzils: (Default)
I hate it when I outsmart myself.

I pulled a bunch of files and notebooks out over the last two days of preparing to move, and have been shifting them around ever since. They were on my bed.  Then I made two piles - each a foot and a half high - over by the bookshelves to get the mess out of the way overnight.  It's always the last ten percent that takes the longest, because everything I didn't quite know how to deal with is in this pile, and I really dont feel ike dealing with it.

I started going through them earlier, and now paper covers every surface.  I am writing this with my elbows on heaps, and a scatter of loose notepaper on top of my hands over the keyboard.  The bed is even worse.  So I cant do anything, really, including go to bed until I fight back the paper monster.  Yick.

It will feel good to wake up knowing that I am as ready as I can be, at this stage, though. It will feel good to wake up knowing that and end tomorrow with my decisions executed (thrift store drop off done, papers shredded or recycled, etc.).

[I took a break from writing this, and progress has been made. I may get to bed at a decent hour after all].


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