Thursday, January 19, 2017

Winter is Coming . . .

. . . aaaaaaaaand it's over.

Winter break at MTSU has always been the most deadly boring part of the year for me. Library's closed, gym's closed, town's empty, and there ain't a whole lot to do. (Not even I can work all the time.) In the past, I've managed to visit *M in London once -- and of course we got married in New York last year -- but otherwise my only resort has been to putz around and eat horribly.

All that's done now, though, as this week opens up the start of MY VERY LAST SEMESTER AT MTSU

Less than 6 weeks before I defend the diss -- and, I gotta admit, the general situation is starting to make me nervous. The diss itself is fine, and I'm pretty proud of it. But I'm more than a little dismayed by the fact that, although two committee members have started reading my diss, no one has actually finished it, much less provided feedback. 

My current director, of course, had a remarkably late start, since she had to take over directing duties after Dr. Lavery's sudden passing last fall. She had originally earmarked this last month for devoting proper attention to reading it, but a major family situation in addition to a minor illness have delayed things awfully. Now, the prognosis is "comments in a few weeks." The third position on my committee is also in upheaval. Two days ago, one professor agreed to act as the fourth member of my committee -- and now he's the third member, since I received word this morning that my previous third committee member has been forced by unavoidable circumstances to drop out. 

The good news? I still have three committee members, which is what I need. The bad news? By the time everyone finishes reading Mister Diss, there's going to be virtually no turnaround time for me to actually make changes. If substantive revisions are required, there goes everything. Fortunately, and it might be premature to say this, but I think Ole Dissy is strong enough as stands that things will turn out all right. Still, this situation could easily have been a disaster for most people. Writing an entire dissertation without any professorial feedback whatsoever could have sunk quite a few. I know one girl, who like me was orphaned by Dr. L's passing, wrote her entire MA thesis last semester without guidance, but it was such a meandering mess that her new director wouldn't sign off on it. Hence she has to redo it and, by necessity, delay graduation.

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