Monday, March 18, 2013

State of the Dissertation update (March)

The last time I posted an update about my dissertation, things were a lot less settled than I had hoped they would be by that stage. Truth be told, they still are . . . hence the lack of updates. There have been several frustrating ups and downs even since the beginning of this semester. And now we're approaching the end of the semester with alarming speed.

The upshot is, I have about a month to finish writing my proposal draft. There's really no wiggle room on that. I have to complete it before the end of my third year. And after the draft is complete, I have to submit it and defend it before a committee of about five faculty members. This is frightening, because it's hard for me to imagine that I will be prepared to pass a rigorous oral defense in six weeks' time.

The good news is that I seem to have a better developed thesis than I did a few months ago. Also, one of my professors helped me break down the parts of my draft and assign due dates over the next several weeks, so that I have a path for getting the entire thing written and critiqued in an organized way.

I think it can be done. It does mean that I will have to work harder than I have done all year, basically. Because, truthfully, my brainpower, energy, and engagement with this project has been effectively halved since last summer; I've been aware all along that I am operating at half my capacity, at best. I'm not really able to account for that. I have some inklings about what's at the root of some of it, but I can't really explain it. Not that there would be an excuse, even if I could explain it. It doesn't change the fact that I have to get this done.

I'm praying that I will gain the physical energy to concentrate on this project, as well as the renewed sense of investment I need to really own it and have confidence in what I'm doing. Also faith that the Holy Spirit is supplying what I need through this process. Any piece of that would feel like a miracle at this point. I just want to do what I need to do in order to pass my defense, advance to candidacy, and begin actual writing. Less than two months, now, in which to pull that off.

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