Wednesday, March 21, 2007
The PhD Timeline, doctor-t style
- Coursework -- 1 bibliography & research course (pass/fail); 3 one-term seminars (assignments vary, but a long [15-20 page] paper at the end of the course is pretty standard)
- Fulfill second and third language requirement -- most MAs require a second language, so only one additional language is required. This can be done by taking a course in German or French, sitting a translation exam, showing proof of 3rd year uni status in a language, or taking an advanced oral competency exam. The goal is reading knowledge of 2 languages other than English rather than fluency. Most people don't use their second or third languages unless they're native speakers.
- Choose candidacy exam areas, supervisor and committee members. Start reading for first exam -- read read read read read
- Make friends! Enjoy life on campus, because it will never be the same again.
- Write first candidacy exam in October (secondary field exam). Try not to freak out while waiting to hear results. Rethink how you study for exams because the next exam will be way better.
- Study for second exam (major field) -- read read read read read
- Write second candidacy exam. Results make you rethink again how you prepare.
- Devise special topics reading list for third (and final) exam.
- Study for last exam. Slowly realize your project has changed and oh my fucking god how am I going to write an exam I don't even care about anymore?
- Write final candidacy exam. Once again, results leave you miffed -- then you realize that it's an experience that isn't supposed to feel good. No matter how well you do, you will still suck in some way. Deal with it. Try to get over it.
- Get a TA position in another department in the fall. Love the work, but it's a great procrastination tool for dissertation stuff.
- Do a bunch of RA work in your field. Love it.
- Revise dissertation proposal twice. Start work on the dissertation anyway.
- Be happy goddamnit!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I read a book
I woke up at 6:30 am after five hours of somewhat fitful sleep, dragged my ass our of bed, cleaned myself up, had coffee and a bagel and then hit the couch to read/nap after Mike left for work at 9. I managed to get some extra sleep but woke up with that groggy-what-the-hell-time-is-it feeling and gross coffee mouth. Coffee mouth isn't as bad as nap-after-a-beer-mouth (because even though I KNOW having a beer in the afternoon will make me sleepy I still indulge in the summer), or sick mouth, but it's gross enough.
I finished a book of short stories for the diss and then felt a migraine creeping up my neck so made some black tea in a mad dash to stave off the pain. Did some laundry, loaded the dishwasher, will read a chapter of criticism before I vacuum, then I'm headed out the door to buy groceries and hit good ole WW.
It's a beautiful day and normally I work very well on lovely days -- the view out the window is gorgeous and makes me happy -- but today is just meh. Bleah. Ungh. Not quite Bleargh, megh, or Urgh. Mehbleaungh.
Friday, March 09, 2007
Notes to Faculty.....
*Do develop some empathy. Not everyone has the privilege of attending university. People in difficult circumstances aren't in a blessed position in terms of being politically engaged. Maybe you knew some folks who were worse off than you and were politically active and very happy, but that doesn't mean people who don't have money have the luxury of less social propriety and thus more freedom. Not being able to pay the rent does not equal freedom.
*Do Stop praising each other so blatantly. It makes me want to puke. What happened to being critical?
*Do remember my name even when it's not directly to your benefit. It's not that hard to pronounce, really.
*Don't forget what you felt like as a grad student. Remember when you couldn't get your hands on enough money to go on a research trip? Remember when people rejected your proposals repeatedly? Remember how shitty it felt?
*Do tell me it's worth it. Please. Even if you don't mean it, I just need to hear it sometimes.