The Long Road to Doc
Actually, the road isn't too long anymore, with only 20 days to go before my defense, on June 20. All y'all well-wishers out there warm my heart every time you offer an encouragement or a kind word, so you—just as much as Madonna & Co.—are really getting me through this last push. Really, thank you!
Of course, "last push" is deceptive in two directions. Defending on the 20th means I have to have absolutely everything handed in to my advisors by June 13th at the latest, so I'm down to two weeks of writing and revising. At this point, 233 pages are written, of which 143 are in their final, proofed form. So I still have to copy-edit, rephrase, and in some cases restructure those other 90, plus write the last 30 pages of Chapter 3, all in the next 13 days. (O, unlucky number!) And then, even if I pass the defense, which pretty much everyone in our department does, it's usually on the condition that you revise again, based on your advisors' recommendations. So it ain't really over till that whole kaboodle goes to the Dissertation Filing Office on or before August 1. That's just some background for people who've been writing in to ask how these things work.
In terms of how this whole process feels, especially in these last weeks, the best answer I can give is, you don't ever get to being Doc without also being Happy, Grumpy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, and Dopey along the way. Refer to the diagram above: the Dissertation Fairy wakes up every morning, waves her capricious hand, and sets the mood of how your writing suddenly looks to you, how you feel about your entire idea and everything you've done to try to prove it, and what other factors in your life are either helping or hindering you from doing good work.
Today, the Fairy was pretty kind. I am 50% Happy and 50% Sleepy. These days, that's a good ratio. (Sunday, I was 60% Grumpy, 10% Sneezy, and 30% Bashful...as in, how will I possibly ever show this swill I've written to people I respect?) To make this all a little easier to follow, because I'm sure you are all positively entranced, I've added the Dwarf-o-Meter up top.
(Finally, just FYI, there will be only light blogging between now and Monday... beyond dissertation hysteria, I'll be in New York City helping my partner move and then down in Georgia with half the Cornell English Department, past and present, watching Lady and Lord Shazizzle get married. On that day, which is Saturday, June 4, you can infer that I am 100% Happy.)