Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Deadlines looming

I have been told that finishing your PhD is anti-climatic, because there is no single deadline. There are bunches of them. For example:

My first submission deadline is in 2 weeks. That means I have to submit the manuscript to the university for review of formatting issues and such. It will be incredibly difficult (if not impossible) for me to meet that deadline. There is no way I can put all my data in, and I don't have time to work on my data right now. All I can do is write. So I will hopefully submit the first draft to my adviser next week, so that he can sign off on that. This is necessary for me to do the first submission.

Once I've killed nearly myself meeting that deadline, I have to go back to the lab, gather more data, and revise the manuscript in about 2 weeks, so that I can submit the revised version to the rest of my committee too. More killing of myself to get it to them on time.

Time to sit back and relax? Hell, no! Of course, I will not manage to get all the data in on time, so there will be more crunching of data, statistics, quick repeats of experiments that need confirmation, and putting in the final data as I go along. Oh yeah, and prepare to defend. That would be the next deadline. In the third week of November I'm scheduled to defend my work. That means I have to convince a group of 5 or 6 faculty members that I am worthy of carrying the same degree they have. How am I going to fool these people into thinking that I am worthy?

Big sigh and a break after that? Hell, no! My committee members will give me a list of things to change in the final document, and I will work for a full week to implement those. There might even be some last minute data to be added. I would be surprised if there will not be any of that. The final submission deadline is in early December.

So you see, it's not one final burst of activity, culminating in this big sense of freedom. Right now, the road is blocked by 4 major hurdles, with hardly any time to breathe in between. Who ever thought this was a good idea?

Adding insult to injury, P1 is leaving for the weekend. As in: going out of town, and I'm stuck at home with a couple of little kids when I'm supposed to be working on this. Anybody want some kids for the weekend?


Anonymous said...

um...sure. dump them off here for a while. maybe i can get my mom to come over and help some too.

EcoGeoFemme said...

Of course you are worthy! Don't be silly! Or so hard on yourself.

It's amazing that you are defending so soon after your quals. We have to have at least two years in between, I think.

Anyway, hang in there! It will feel so good when you're done.

makita said...

Hi Knobody! Thanks for the offer. But you know I didn't really mean that. Especially F1-2 doesn't do so well in unfamiliar environments.

This is not unusual in my program. There is little point in taking your quals until you're finished with all coursework, which is no earlier than during the third year of your program. There has to be a minimum of 2 semesters between finishing quals and graduation. If you pass the quals before the term midpoint, that term counts toward the minimum. So, I can just barely do this, but I am cutting it a bit close.