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Saturday, 30 December 2006
Knock wood
Topic: Uni

I'm done.  Barring the kind of catastrophic technological failure that only occurs in my most paranoid imaginings, in which no computer anywhere in the greater Melbourne metropolitan will work on Tuesday, thereby rendering my thesis incapable of being printed.  Because my thesis is at the printer.  It is out of my hands.  It is done, and I'm submitting it on Tuesday. 

I will be celebrating this New Year's Eve in style!

Sunday, 3 December 2006
The homestretch
Topic: Uni

I'm struggling with my thesis today.  My goal is to have a fairly final draft by Thursday, since I'm babysitting all day Friday, and my parents arrive on Saturday and will be here until the 21st, so obviously I won't be getting much work done while they're here.  The good news is that I've got a draft of all three chapters, plus the introduction.  The bad news is that I'm 1,200 words over my maximum word count already, so there's a fair bit of editing to be done.

I've just finished outlining what I've written to see where the gaps are, and again, there's good news - I'm pretty confident that I've covered what I need to cover in terms of research.  I don't think I'm missing any major pieces.  But I'm not sure I've connected the dots in a way that's obvious to a reader who hasn't spent nearly a year working on all this.  I might have a lot of work to do in terms of how things are put together to make the right connections.  I'm not sure, though, because I don't have the energy right now to go over my outline and see how things fit.  

It's a lovely afternoon here - bright blue sky, sunshine, not too hot.  And my mother is keen on doing walking tours of Melbourne while she's here, which should be fun - as long as I have a suitable pair of shoes, which I don't at the moment.  I'm thinking it's time for a shopping break.   

5:20 AM GMT | Post Comment | Permalink
Tuesday, 7 November 2006
Completely atypical
Topic: Uni

I handed in both my essays today, well ahead of time.  That never happens.  I'd say I don't know who this person who handed those essays in is, but as a friend was kind enough to point out, I've more than made up for submitting my essays early by getting a nearly two-month extension on my thesis.  These are, possibly, the last essays I will ever write.  At least for an academic mark.  I'd be more excited about that if I didn't have the thesis to get back to.

And I read what I've written for my thesis this afternoon.  I was not encouraged.  The good news is that I seem to have a fairly clear idea about what I want to say, but the way I've said it so far is a mess.  My current draft chapters aren't well-structured, the argument is all over the place - there's a lot to be done, in other words.  And there's still plenty of work in tying the various bits of my argument together in a reasonably coherent way, which is going to include additional research to bridge some of the current gaps.  Yeah, a lot of work. 

I don't see much of that work getting done this week, as I'm in Sydney from Thursday to Friday morning, on what is possibly the sweetest babysitting job ever.  The family I sit for in my neighborhood are flying me up to Sydney to mind their son while dad and mom go to the premiere of a play based on a book written by dad's brother.  So we'll run around Sydney on Thursday, then I've got Friday morning to myself and then it's back to Melbourne in time to possibly (possibly) be virtuous and do a bit of a work on my thesis ahead of the weekend.  

Sunday, 5 November 2006
Attention deficit
Topic: Uni

A friend read my philosophy essay and said that it was actually coherent and did have an argument, and basically, it's fine.  Which is such a relief, because I re-read it myself on Wednesday, and I seriously couldn't tell if it was making any sense.  My brain is over-strained, or something.  I've got one more essay that I'm trying to finish today, and I just haven't been able to get started yet because I'm feeling so spacy.  My attention span has a duration of about three and a half seconds - and weirdly, that's the case even when I'm not procrastinating.  The other night, I kept starting to wash dishes, then putting them down because I remembered I needed to hang up my laundry, go do that for three and a half seconds, see something else that needed straightening up, go take care of that, go back to sink, realise I still hadn't finished hanging up the laundry . . . round and round the flat until I felt a bit dizzy.  

On Friday night, for some reason, we had a discussion about what breeds of dogs we would be, and I was nominated as (in Flor's highly technical terminology) a 'pyjama dog - you know, the kind of dog that looks like its always wearing silky pyjamas'.  I don't know, I think the Afghan hound has much better hair than I do:

There's been a minor rash of weird search results ending up here lately.  Here's a sampling:

  • examine what is said not him who speaks it lyrics (satisfyingly gnomic, somehow)
  • Jessica Simpsons vocal cord examination (I would think a head examination would be more productive, but what do I know)
  • modest pictures of female legs (I shudder to think what this poor, modest soul probably come across on Google)
  • now nothing looks better than a pair of gold pants (too true)
This one about broke my heart, though: +love "forgiven for leaving"

Right, then.  That's probably enough randomness for the moment.  I should try to get that essay finished. 

1:33 AM GMT | Post Comment | Permalink
Tuesday, 31 October 2006
Stuff and nonsense
Topic: Uni
I finally finished the draft of my philosophy essay, but haven't been able to make myself read it because I'm convinced it borders on the nonsensical.  I was hoping I'd feel like working on my next essay this evening, but by the time I got home I was too tired to even think about it.  And when I got home, I found I'd been mailed the paperwork for the December graduation that will not be attending because I won't even have handed in my thesis by then.  Why, then, at 9:30 on a Tuesday night when I'm already home and halfway into my pyjamas, am I so sorely tempted to take a friend up on his invitation to go out for drinks?  My brain is seriously malfunctioning.  

10:48 AM GMT | Post Comment | Permalink
Wednesday, 25 October 2006
Topic: Uni

I got an extension on my thesis, which I think is a good thing because I was getting to the point of just churning out words trying to make it long enough and not really thinking about what I was writing.  I shudder at the thought of the inevitable upcoming re-reading of what I wrote in the past few weeks because I'm not at all sure of what I actually said.  

On the down side, I think the sense of reprieve has robbed me of adrenaline.  I'm so tired all the time.  This afternoon, I totally shamelessly took a nap under my desk in my office.  Like, it didn't even occur to me to be embarrassed about it, despite the fact that I share the office with three other people and pretty much anybody could walk in at any time.  My body was just: 'Sleep.  Now.'  So I did.

I'm on a self-imposed break from the thesis at the moment because my end-of-term essays are due, and are they a chore and a half.  I'm really having to force myself to care about them at all.  I just want to get them over with so I can get back to fussing over my thesis. 

10:34 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Tuesday, 26 September 2006
Argh. Just . . . argh
Topic: Uni

So, yesterday.  Not easy.  Not productive.  But, knowing I'd need a break, I made plans with a friend.  We had a few drinks, saw a movie, and generally had a lovely evening.  

I had high hopes that today would be better, but I wasn't able to churn out much.  Between my mental and emotional distractions at the weekend, I also managed to lose about half of what I was working on Saturday, and spent Sunday attempting to recreate what I'd lost.  So I'm way behind where I had hoped to be at this point and feeling very frustrated.  

But maybe this is good, in a way.  I'm too far behind to even realistically think I'll be able to make up the word count, so it's time to switch tactics.  I'm feeling like I've gotten so hung up on producing a massive quantity of words that I haven't been thinking enough about the quality of what I'm writing.  Maybe it's just time to admit that there's no way I'm going to have a full draft of my thesis by the end of the month, and just focus on improving what I do have.  I don't know.  I know I can't hand over a chapter to my supervisor today, as I was hoping, because it makes no sense in its current state.

I tried, at least.  And I did get one chapter drafted, and who knows, maybe I'll have a sudden spate of brilliance tomorrow and knock off another chapter.  It could happen.   But even if it doesn't, I can at least say that I gave it the ol' college try.  

8:35 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 23 September 2006
Slow start
Topic: Uni

2:12 pm and my brain is still sleepy.  Too late a night last night, too early a waking this morning, and too long a week preceding it. 

It took me all week to get the introduction and first chapter of my thesis drafted. Neither is particularly good, but at least they're done.  But if I stick with that pace, there's no way I'm going to get a full draft done by the end of the month.  I don't know if I'm capable of picking the pace up, either.  I'd hate to disappoint my supervisor, but I just don't think I can do it. 

Spring feels like its off to a slow start, too.  We've had some wonderful days, but they're invariably followed by rain and/or a cold turn.  I have no idea how to dress most mornings, and usually find that I've managed to miss the mark - short sleeves on a sunny day that turns out to have a biting wind, long sleeves and sweater on an overcast day that ends up being warm and muggy.  Maybe it's just as well, though - once the weather turns warm for good, I'm going to have a terrible time making myself sit inside and get work done.  And there's still so much work to be done . . . 

5:25 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 15 September 2006
A sign
Topic: Uni
It's official.  My current essay is evil.  Last word count: 3,666.  If I'm lucky, the four horsemen will start riding before I have to figure out where on earth I am going to find 366 words to cut to get this thing down to the maximum word count before 5:00 p.m. today.

Friday, 8 September 2006
Time to panic? Time to panic.
Topic: Uni

Yesterday morning, I had a meeting with my thesis supervisor, the first meeting in a while that I didn't have anything written for, because I've been working on essays for my classes.  I didn't want to go in totally empty-handed, so I came up with a new outline for my thesis Wednesday night.  It felt pretty good as I was writing it - much less of a struggle to put together than the previous one I'd drafted.  But it does mean that I'm going to have to cut way back on the length of some of the sections I'd already drafted.  

Anyway, my supervisor also though the draft outline looked good.  And then she reminded me that she's going overseas at the beginning of next month, which is not a surprise - she discussed that with me before she formally agreed to take me on.  What was a surprise was '...and I'm going to want a draft of your thesis by then.'  I don't remember that having been discussed before - although, who knows, my brain hasn't been the most reliable lately.  

I haven't even properly drafted a chapter yet!  And I have an essay due a week from today!  Which will leave me about two weeks to draft my whole damn thesis!  Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!

(Okay, yes, I have stuff written - quite a lot in terms of total word count, but most of that is going to have to be mercilessly edited, and I am not good with editing down my own work.  It often takes me much longer to cut my work than to write it in the first place.  It could be worse, but it's still not a happy-making situation.)

My supervisor's a sharp woman.  I think she's figured me out.  All those 11 p.m. e-mails I've sent her with section drafts must have tipped her off to the fact that I don't get spectactularly productive until a deadline LOOMS in the most threatening way possible.

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4:50 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006 4:53 AM BST

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