I should be writing a dissertation rather than a blog. I should be working on a survey rather than writing about the fact that I have to write a survey. I should be mid-air in my jump rather than on my tippy-toes about to push into the air. I should share my story with other graduate students.
Since my first semester as a doctoral student, I quickly realized that this last and final degree (according to my husband anyway) is all about jumping through hoops. The endless amounts of reading books that use every GRE word I never thought I’d see again, the massive pile-up of ‘totally publishable IDEAS’ scribbled onto enough notebook paper that the Talladega National Forest finally complained that I should make a donation, and the constant feeling of fear in the fact that every word you write is being scrutinized by a professor who knows more than you – and God forbid the scrutiny come from a first-semester assistant professor who wants to PROVE that they do.
But the fact of the matter is if anything, working on a doctorate is a constant reminder of how much you DON’T know. Once you’ve realized that, you’ve successfully made it through another hoop.
So, I’ve made it to the final hoop. I successfully passed 30 wonderful hours of comprehensive exams – both written and oral. Wonderful? Some of you are saying. I say yes. The 30 hours of actually taking the exams passed so much quicker than the 30 weeks – 300 days of studying BEFORE the exams. A future blog will definitely be devoted to that process.
However, today is a simple introduction of what The Final Hoop is all about. I met with my methodologist yesterday – a brilliant man by the name of Dr. Rick Travis who has no idea that his graduate students ADORE him for realizing not every brain is meant to completely understand multivariate analysis. I asked if he thought I could defend my prospectus on July 12 – if I’d actually make that deadline – and he said yes. What a relief. My mentor and current dissertation head is leaving the university after spending 5 years holding my hand, molding my brain, and scolding my OCD-ness, and I have to have the prospectus defended before he leaves so he can stay on my committee. Luckily, his alter-ego and lunch buddy is taking over – the smoothest transition ever to be made in the history of a doctoral student who has lost his or her dissertation head.
So, I barely have time to write this so I’m definitely not going to proof it. (I just heard all of my journalism professors gasp for air, but as I tell my current journalism students who ask if they can have extra credit for finding mistakes in my syllabus – I already suffered through that scrutiny and have the 2.69 undergraduate, underachieving gpa to prove it, followed by several award-winning stories that emerged when I finally did graduate and quit studying Alcohol 101.
Until next time…