Friday, September 11, 2015

September 11 dissertation notes (week 3)

This week, I’m back to feeling how little I know what I’m doing, and how little energy I have to fake it.

Following an enjoyable Labor Day weekend, I lost the earlier part of the workweek to sickness, to one of those colds that often hits once campus fills up with people again, then retreats as quickly as it struck. I more or less sleepwalked through working in the library on Tuesday and Wednesday (though I avoided knocking over any priceless manuscript displays as far as I know), then was able to sleep more than 12 hours on Wednesday night into Thursday, which helped a great deal! I’ll probably be feeling back to normal by the time the weekend is through.

The thing that really made the bottom fall out of this week, though, was my advisor’s call to submit excerpts of our work for a group feedback session next week. We do this three times a year, and it has a history of going rather poorly for me, filling the previous two weeks with anticipatory dread. I’m supposed to submit something by the end of today, so I’ve been cobbling together a section on Gregory’s preaching in the context of baptism…mostly culling portions from older drafts and trying to make them fit into the restructured format I worked on over the summer. But I’ve realized it feels like such a waste of everyone’s time to ask for feedback on a slapped-together ten pages when I don’t know if the new structure/refined focus (what I sent to my professor a week ago Tuesday) is in good shape. It would probably feel less shameful to say that although I should have written a bunch more pages over the summer anyway, I don’t feel comfortable moving forward until I know if the outline is on the right track. That's mostly an excuse, though.

So, I don’t know what to do. When I have to deal with the dissertation itself and talk about it (instead of busying myself with slowpoke research), there’s such a sense of shame, dread, and confusion—of knowing that I’m quite capable of writing a publishable dissertation, but that I somehow keep failing to follow through on the steps needed to make that happen.

Well, that’s what’s happening this week.

1 comment:

  1. Don't doubt yourself. Your mind (and your expressed thoughts) are top-knotch.