11 August 2011

Can’t write, too busy writing

So tomorrow I have a meeting that is kind of a big deal. I’m asking for permission to write, which is one of those phrases like “qualifying exam” or “all but dissertation” that has weighty significance to academics, but sounds only vaguely familiar and otherwise meaningless to the rest of the world. WELL. If you fall into the second group, then all you need to know is that permission to write is the most important thing in the world, EVER. At least to me, at least right now.

Permission to write means “girrrrrrl, you get to set a defense date!”

Oh yeah, and write a thesis. That little thing.

I was feeling a healthy amount of stress about this meeting – you know, that cheerful, productive, “whew, this is hard but I’m up for the challenge” sort of stress. But the events of the last week have bumped it into the realm of straight-up overwhelmed, so now I am dealing with the situation by monitoring the freezer for the sudden and spontaneous appearance of more ice cream and watching this video over and over. I can particularly relate to the part starting around 3:50, but you should watch the whole thing for insight into the life choice I made six years ago.

So there’s that. Then there’s also the fact that this:

Has become this:

Which is AWESOME with a capital awesome! It means my paper wasn’t rejected! It’s on its way to publication!

Oh yeah, except I have to write the revisions. And the letter explaining my revisions. And it has to also include why I am not revising certain sections per the reviewers’ critique (“the reviewers are stupidheads” is, unfortunately, not an acceptable rebuttal).

And what will I do AFTER I complete publication of that paper, AFTER I write my thesis and defend it, AFTER I graduate? Well, I need a job. What do I need to do to get a job? More writing! I’ve written my CV, my research statement, my letters asking for a job, my emails for networking and recommendations, my notes on their papers so I sound coherent in interviews. I still have to write to apply for some teaching jobs. And then down the line I have to write a grant for my next research position. Write write write.

But even with that? I’m going to keep writing here. I promise you, dear reader. It’s not the easiest thing to do when I have these other commitments, and I don’t know what I’ll write some days, because even though I do in fact have a color-coded spreadsheet scheduling out my post ideas – would you expect any less from me? – lately I have been too brain-dead to bring the clever and funnies here. So you get posts like today’s, about the less-fun projects. But I’m going to keep doing the fun projects too, to keep my sanity, and I am going to keep writing about them. I am.

I sincerely hope you stick around to read it.


Miranda said...

That video was pretty awesome. And I meant to comment on "don't cry for me, Mama Tina", but I'm flakey. I still think of it and giggle. :)

Shanna said...

Loved the video...will be praying for words to flow out of your head and onto the paper! :) Keep your chin up, I know you'll come through with flying colors!!! [do people still say that anymore?]

Matthew Cook said...

Hi Sarah,
Sadly I can relate to the feeling of grad school stress! One of my fellow grad students found this video last semester and posted it to Facebook... Little did she know that she would be the one to ditch her project this summer and start all over because it was too similar to her advisor's previous work!
Good luck with the revisions. I'm just hitting the initial writing stages for my thesis and a couple of conference papers.