Oh dear

March 30th, 2010

I realized yesterday that I am not meant to do great things for one simple reason: I am not willing (or able) to pull all-nighters.  Not even my feeble attempts throughout college have had success.  Usually if I try it, I sleep for at least two hours in the middle.  And, though I might work a great deal, and while in school I never have any sort of social life, I honestly admire the French for their insistence that 35 hours a week is too much to work.  I look forward to the day when I can keep work at work, and spend honest quality fun time at home not thinking about The Office or Business.

For the moment, I’m trying my best to edit the thesis.  Actually, I’m more impressed than I thought I’d be by my own writing.  [[That sounds quite vain.  I think I’m just ready to get out of here – I’ve been more impressed by my A- work lately than I’ve ever been in my life.  When did I lower my standards?]]  Chapters 1-2 of 7 are finished for the final time, and I’m working on getting a room in which to defend myself from the three villains who’ll be reading this stack of pages.  Tomorrow morning before class, I’ll try to get through chapter 3 and possibly 4, and then in the evening I’ll get 5-7 done.  Sounds reasonable.  Much more so after having finished a major research project/presentation, seen the opening in my schedule for the weekend to do reading for a three-book/three website Indian history review project (peppered with reading for yet another research project, this time on China), and just eaten a nice bowl of chocolate pudding.  Yum.

*Sigh*  The end is bittersweet.  Mostly because I am still unemployed, no matter how well my thesis goes, and am looking at the lowest grades I’ve ever earned for at least two of the five classes I’m in.  (Which doesn’t help to bring up the GPA for graduate schools.)  Know this:  Competition is fierce, and not for the feeble

End of the road, for now

December 3rd, 2008

Yesterday (Tuesday) was an interesting experience for me.  I presented my work (in)formally at the opening of the new GIS Centre to be housed in Swem, alongside a slew of other (science-based) projects.  My humanities poster was definitely the black sheep of the crowd, but I still enjoyed to some extent the few people who wandered over and asked questions about my work.  I can explain it to others, which is a sign of how well I (may) have mastered my own material.  Score one for Liz.

Today, through some emails with my advisor, I managed to work out a reasonable schedule for the Winter break.  I’ll end up writing one more chapter (so 2 down of 7) and stretching the outline for another through note-taking and reviewing.  This latter chapter is the other main chapter of my thesis, focusing on cultural expressions and integration of Haitians over the years.  In spite of how long it took me to get a good copy of the politics chapter, I feel that I have learned well from all the mistakes I made to considerably reduce the writing time of this other one.  (The other five chapters should be pretty easy to hash out, since they’re largely background stuff.)  I’m happy that I can (finally) develop reasonable timelines for myself; it’s something I’ve not come to easily over the years.  With the family interruptions (in a good way), I should be able to relax and still make headway on the thesis.  I’m feeling really good about this for the moment.  It’s nice to end on a positive note.

Questionable

November 29th, 2008

I realized today, as I submitted my first grad school application to the University of Michigan, that I do not question my intelligence in class or when writing “applications” (as a generic term).  But whenever I go beyond doing something I find repetitive – since I have been in school for sixteen years now, including grade school (= 13, not 12; don’t forget kindergarten); and I have worked at a scholarship/research office for two, editing people’s essays and apps – I get nervous to an absurd degree.  Hence when talking with my fiance’s dad (an esteemed marketing researcher/university prof) I was filled with doubt about getting into grad school, and questioned the value of my research.  But when I sent off the application today, all I could think of was, “Well, bugger, that’s sixty bucks I’m out for a while…”  My sanity must be questionable.

Thanksgiving was a welcome break.  I excused myself from the two classes that were still “on” for Monday and Tuesday, since I haven’t used the allowed absences, and buried myself in work.  The thesis got edited, the presentation for next Tuesday’s GIS Center launch (see the ENSP website; it’s free!) was finished – with no changes, I might add -, I polished the essays for grad apps, and I have the rest of my research in order, including one of two ILL books that got in on Monday.  (The other ILL book came in after I’d picked up the first, and I forgot it.)  Then I left Wednesday morning and didn’t look back.  I brought a book to finish reading (for a different class) but played Skip-Bo and Hand-and-Foot (a “granny” game – a type of canasta) instead.  Wonderful.

So, aside from editing out Chapter Six from my thesis, and then gathering materials for the rest, I didn’t get much accomplished.  I’d wanted to do more this weekend, now that I’ve returned from the mountains, but can’t seem to get over the fact that this is vacation.

Up this week: 1) Finish the two ILL books/take notes, since they can’t be returned and apparently are due this Friday (?!?  less than two weeks for checkout – what’s up with that?); 2) get through classes/start final papers; 3) GIS presentation on Tuesday; 4) get edits from whoever’s thesis back in a reasonable time; and 5) eat cookies.

Where there’s smoke…

October 24th, 2008

There is a burnt-out college student in the middle of a thesis project.  I already know I’m not doing anything until I hear back from peoples who are editing my chapter.  Two reasons: 1- I’m on strike for mental health awareness; and 2- I have to focus on my scholarship app for the moment.  I could give  two more: 3- Homecoming weekend is painful; and 4- I have a concert tomorrow night.  The excuses never end.

That is all.