Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Temporary Relief

First, I want to express my heartfelt thanks for all the support I've received since I wrote the "rainy" post. I forgot to mention in it that after the Saturday night rain, Sunday was a gorgeously sunny day, but the metaphor stayed with me nevertheless. It's still metaphorically raining in my life, but, to cite another clichéd optimistic song, I know that "The sun will come out tomorrow."I just think that this "tomorrow" will take a while to get here.

I just wanted to let you know that this morning I finally faced my problem head on and emailed the committee member back. I'm glad I waited nearly two weeks to respond because the time elapsed has allowed to put things into perspective. I finally emailed my advisor about this yesterday and he thought that the committee member's suggestions were actually helpful! So I made an extra effort to try and see some good in them and this helped me write a response.

I still don't think I over-reacted to the feedback since this person's words were quite strong (as they usually are -- I included some examples in this post, under "First Reader"). I was debating whether I should summarize them here, but I don't want to concentrate on these negative statements about my work. I want to address them, if at all possible, and then move on.

Questions for all those former and current dissertators out there:

- Were you able to have a nice, supportive, relatively cohesive committee?

- Isn't there a way to make this whole process less painful?

- Why -- I always wonder -- do we have to finish the dissertation and just HAVE to get sick and tired of it because of all the struggles we need to go through in order to finish?

I was hoping that I could finish and not just "loathe" my work and not be able to go back to it. I was hoping I'd still be able to feel excited about it to the very end and cheerfully go to work immediately (or soon thereafter) to turn it into a book. My hopes are just fading away. I just may have to compromise too much of myself and the hard won -- but still extremely fragile -- confidence that I know anything, that I'm contributing something and, as a result, I may just feel utterly spent and unable to go back to this project. I so didn't/don't want this to happen!!

I feel slightly relieved after sending this email, but I know that the worse may be yet to come. I want to steel myself so I can withstand it, but I just don't know how to do it. I'm just too sensitive, and I don't necessarily want to change since I value who I am. I have already developed more of a thick skin that I even thought I would, but even that may not be enough.

Well, brace yourselves, I'll let you know when I get an email back. Meanwhile, I'll be posting about lots of other things that I've wanted to post, but haven't had the chance to do it yet.


Space Mom said...

Dissertations are a pain, in my opinion. They take too long and there are too many cooks.

Most committees want to have conflict to give the student different points of view.

My committee (for MS) had two members who NEVER talked to each other. They actually had a fight (verbal) at my thesis defense talk.

I found it best to rely on my advisor for the most helpful comments. In the end, it is your work, not theirs.

I hope the rain ends soon

Prisca said...

I'm just starting the writing process of my diss. so I'm VERY sympathetic. I'm actually learning from you.

I'm equally idealistic about enjoying the topic after it's all over. The burnout feels like it will be inevitable.

Hang in there!

Zabrina said...

I have no much to say..I am a high school gal. No dissertations for me. You are so discret and you made me think about that " I hope it doesn't rain". Now you really made me think. In a concern, I corrected that last phrase. Ha!
I wish I could be your neighbour and take my kids to your kids birthday's parties. Happy belated birthday to Linton. Your kids are so big. Erik is 5 in few weeks and Daniel 3 by September. No kids around here to party, but they are going to school soon. Hope they get great friends and me as well...
Good Luck and think positive. Good things will come. This time will pass soon.
Take Care!

Brikebrok said...

Reading you it makes me think how far it seems to me now all that stress about thesis ... i'm getting old, snif, snif