Monday, March 28, 2011

Revise. Re-vision. Envision. And Compromise

Last Friday I had a meeting with my advisor about my dissertation revisions.  Before I talk about that, let me back up a bit.

Normally what people do is take their general exams, then if they pass they write a prospectus.  Once the prospectus clears, then they write a dissertation.  The dissertation goes first to the advisor, then there is a revision.  Then it goes to the committee as a "reading copy" and a month later, the committee meets with the candidate and it's defended.  Successful or no, that's how it goes. It usually takes 3-500 semesters.

I defended my general exams last semester.  This semester I wrote and defended my prospectus. I also wrote my dissertation. One hundred-ninety pages to be exact. It's not perfect; it needs work.  Nothing I couldn't do in a week.  Seriously.

So I met with my advisor.  And he said it's the feeling of the committee that I need more time with the material.  He gave me some ideas.  I respect those ideas; they are good advice.  But nothing I couldn't do in a week and I could have gotten them to my advisor and the committee in time to defend this semester.  But it's not to be.  I wasn't really told why; I'll have to make an inference that two semesters isn't cool with the committee as far as graduating with a good product (the dissertation) is concerned.

I am disappointed.  I wanted to finish up and be done.  But graduating over the summer won't be a big deal. I can still, if I want to, do the hooding ceremony at graduation.  I can still get a job if I'm sure to be done by August.

It seems to be the year I learn to compromise, and to figure out which things are my principles and which are my ego.  Rather than looking at this as failure- I did everything I knew to do- I'd rather look at it from the standpoint of working with the world as it is rather than as I wish it to be.  I'm a work in progress.  Maybe I can have patience with me too.


  1. Mindie, It's been awhile since I perused your blog. I love how you write... but right now, I just want to cry. You are my hero. Thanks for sharing your soul, your struggles, your willingness to learn, and your tenacity. Thanks for not giving up or giving in. Thanks for facing life's disappointments and turning them into beautiful stories that cheer the rest of us on. I'm glad to call you friend!

  2. "More time with the material" sounds like something that is not do-able in a week. It sounds like there is some thinking/re-thinking the committee wants you to do. Definitely visit with your coordinator about what EXACTLY the committee's concerns are.

  3. Thank you for the kind words and thoughts.I'm going to spend my time wisely and come out with a good product. It is important to get it done, but also important to do a great job.