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Dissertating 15 October 4, 2009

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Academically Speaking.

A month overdue, Proposal Draft 2 is now live and in the wild. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it’s now in the hands of a higher power. Well, one of them anyway. That will determine if I get the green light to send it on for my readers’ review. Barring any violent objections — and I worry more about the “violence” than the “objections” — I still cling to the hope that I’ll get the go signal to officially present the proposal this term so I can move on to dissertation writing proper.

Presently, it’s touch and go. Time is not on my side right now, so I can just hope for the best. Much as I’m aware that there’s always next term, I’d much rather get it over and done with sooner rather than later. Besides, with what I’ve worked on so far I can’t think of how else to push the topic forward. So even in those terms I’m already itching to get some direction, usually of the type when you’re on the receiving end of an academic defense.

Since I’m waxing philosophical about this process, let me just say that a large part of the delay I’ve encountered has to do with the fact that I’ve never written anything as long before. Ever. At some point, I thought my difficulties had more to do with switching between “programming” mode and “writing” mode, with analysis taking place somewhere in between. There’s that, too. Yet I think the root of my problem is that I insisted on dissertating the same way I’d do most of my other research: lots of reading followed by a prolonged periods of writing. So what I’ve had to learn along the way is the discipline of writing in brief episodes, piecing together sections not necessarily in the order I intend to use them. By temperament, I tend to be more methodical, deliberate and linear (at least, when I write), so this has been a valuable if painful learning experience.

Thus I once again find myself in the uncomfortable position of waiting, hoping the powers that be look favorably upon my work and give me the thumbs up. Will be keeping my fingers crossed. In the meantime, it’s time to tie up some loose ends (I’m still writing the annexes to the main proposal) and do what little I can to set the approval processes in motion.


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