Sunday, February 14, 2010

Kitchen Table Dissertation

I've been gone for three weeks, thereabouts, which is a record for me. Part of the time I was traveling to Milwaukee for business, part of it I was freaked out about an abnormal mammogram (which after a series of films and an ultrasound turned out to be "probably benign", whatever that means, but the Cleveland Clinic thoughtfully got me an appointment within a week of getting the news), part of it was dealing with schoolwork (no wonder professors are nutty--surviving the dissertation takes a certain amount of insanity).

My big complaint right now is that I am trying to write a dissertation online. Yes, I can get questions answered, but communication is done in the courseroom via email, so there is a delay in responses, much like a transatlantic call to Mars might be. Then, it never helps to have the response be, "I normally refer people to the textbook." Uh, do you think it might be something I already did? Now we have one more delay while I point that out.

Anyway, this whole process is rather like trying to build an airplane on a short deadline with a list of requirements and no illustrations, plus having to find your own supplies by foraging within your own neighborhood. And those directions are something like, "Find a metal morganzerizer." So, you consult the textbook, which does not give you a picture of the thing, but defines it as "a metal item used in building an airplane; used for morganzering." So, off goes an email to the instructor who says, "I usually refer people to the textbook because it gives a definition of the item." Eventually, you find a powerpoint slide show which shows what the item looks like, and you find after much aggravation that it is a simple table fork.

That thwacking sound you've been hearing is me banging my head on the table.

Add to that three kids with cabin fever who perversely want a snow day so they can stay indoors even more and share that with each other by screaming and fighting and finding out while in Milwaukee that I had been signed up at the beginning of the school year to do my daughter's class's Valentine's day party (not the romantic surprise I was dreaming of), and you have a person with little energy to blog, for crying out loud.

But, I'm back. And I'll keep coming back. But I wonder how many people wrote their dissertation at the kitchen table.


maeve said...

Yah, I wrote a master's thesis at my dining room table with a couple of RADDY rugrats crawling around. Not the best time of my life, I'll tell you that, but worth it in the end. Hope you're almost there!!!

Munchkin Mom said...

Just starting. Sigh. However, the new topic makes me respond with passion, so I don't feel the pain.