Saturday, February 21, 2009

Meeeeemories

Hello there my PhD student advisee! You look like absolute fucking hell. Is that peanut butter on your shirt? What happened to your hair? Or should I say what hasn’t happened to your hair (contact with shampoo or a brush I suspect)? I am picking up on a strong sense of fear, and a whiff of stale beer. Look sit down, relax, I am not going to hurt you. Yes, I am going to ask you THE QUESTION, that question all dissertators fear most in the world. But we’ll ease into things. I remember very well the pain this question will cause you. Will a walk down memory lane help? Let me assure you, I was essentially you once. Yep. I wore the same pair of shorts and tattered shirt damn near every day. The only days I remember not wearing this uniform were the days I didn’t even bother to get dressed. I lived on coffee and Johnny Walker. I was a hermit, as time progressed I lost all social skills, I had the same shifty eyes you do right now. My world consisted of a small room that was decorated in a style we can best explain as “library bomb” modern. Articles, books, and assorted papers were literally exploding onto every available surface. Any receptacles capable of holding my fluids of choice (coffee and my best friend Johnny) were littered throughout. There was a small window. Just outside this window you could find the items I had tossed, primarily my self-esteem, personal hygiene standards, ability to consume nourishing foods, and all awareness of the outside world. I understand, really I do. But, I have avoided asking you THE QUESTION for a few months now. As your advisor, I have to do it. You can understand that can’t you? So, brace yourself (and please crawl out from under my desk), here it goes: How is your dissertation coming along?

15 comments:

  1. Empathy to all dissertation-writing people...I never want to return to those days, during which I lost all sense of time, identity, current events, and fashion. True story: once I set off to teach comp and was halfway to my car before I realized that I still was wearing my jammies (had started working at 5 am and only looked up at the clock to see it was almost class time, so grabbed my bag and ran). Yes, I changed. But it was scary. ::shiver::

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  2. Of course the worst thing the student can say to you in answer to the question is: "I've finished." Because then you've got to read it all the way through...

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  3. Ssshhhh! If any students in the midst of dissertating read this and realize just how much we dread reading the finished product they will certainly sink even further into insanity!

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  4. Given yesterday's post, I can't help but wonder what a grad student seeking refuge from the dissertation process might do with a bedazzler...

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  5. What happened to Barrrrbraaa? She looks horrible?! Damn, girl... get yahsef a baf!

    I want to bedazzle my dissertation. The binding needs razzle dazzle.

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  6. Damn. Thanks for triggering my PTSD.

    Does "library bomb modern" include "unmade bed" as a design element?

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  7. Ok, it took me *hours* to figure out that the pic is from that hysterical Brit show...what was it called? I remember that spiky-haired guy was named Vivian and this is the supermellowish guy whose name I can't recall. Wait! (insert sound of brain creaking into action) Was it called The Young Ones or something like that? Please confirm or deny...

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  8. Dr. Bluestocking: It's OK, it's over now. Library Bomb Modern must include an unmade bed (and an area rug made of dirty clothes)

    Ink: YES! The Young Ones (pictured is Neil)

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  9. How does one balance being supportive and encouraging with being a nag of an advisor? I'd like to think of myself as the former, but after two semesters of almost zero (o) production, my gravitas comes out in full force.

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  10. This does not bode well for me.

    Oh, look! I just found peanut butter on my pants. And my gut is burning a bit from all of my chai lattes. I think that smell is actually stale milk. And my dog and kids went after the large fan-shaped explosion of articles and books around the desk, and now suddenly I have drawings of frogs and sharks mixed in with the research. Man, my head itches. Maybe I should go take a shower. But wait, I think I should grade these comp essays first. Did you ask me a question? Oh, look. On the counter! Cheese puffs!

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  11. Hang in there, Good Enough! The misery and confusion is all part of the process...hey, I bet a few hours of The Young Ones will make you feel much better! :)

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  12. Dr. No: Oh yes, Neil (pronounced, sneeringly, by Viv as Neeeeeew). That was an amazing piece of television history, eh?

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  13. Gay Prof has posed THE QUESTION for those of us on the other side of the desk...and I have no fucking idea. I feel comfortable in the academic advisor and colleague role, but at times a coach, psychiatrist, and/or parent role appears called for (or wanted, or needed, or required?) and then I start feeling woefully unqualified.

    See Good Enough Woman, even after the angst of your own dissertation is over you then get to worry about your students dissertations! Wait, sorry, that's not very encouraging is it? Listen to Ink, settle into a Young Ones marathon with a big bowl of lentil soup. An amazing show indeed.

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  14. I keep trying to congratulate Prof-Like Substance on his 100th post (and make bad jokes about how oooooold his blog is now, e.g., is he posting via Jitterbug phone?) but I can't seem to leave him a comment...so if you're out there PLS, CONGRATS!

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