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Discussion in 'Education and Academia' started by Michael K., Jan 8, 2008.
Who's with me?
I hate you. I almost want to neg-rep you for starting this thread in the first place!
I'm scheduled to take my exams next October (after a year's delay). Can't wait.
I was...the key is to get to the D part. I started going crazy, and left grad school.
I think I should neg-rep myself, to be honest. Technically, I've been ABD for a couple months now, and I've been doing tons of preparation and planning and reading and not anything in the way of writing. I should be doing that, not starting flippant threads about it
Along the way I had some delays I thought were long - almost 3 months between doing comp exams and defending them - but a year sounds like something else. Good luck with those!
Did that work out for you, Anteaters? Hopefully, yes. I figure I'm in a pretty good place now, work-wise and psyche-wise, but I also like to think I'd have the good sense to get out, if pressing on was going to make me break down.
Well, I changed grad programs (but stayed at Duke) and moved back a year. A small price to pay, really, for what was an incredible stroke of luck that made my transfer possible. Just started studying, but I also started teaching 5 days per week...still trying to figure out a schedule that will let me get work done without losing my mind.
I'm happier now...the grad advisor in our department started leaning on people pretty heavily to finish, and something just seemed to change that made it not as enjoyable as it used to be.
Plus, I had a kid, my wife and I were moving so I was going to be pretty far from campus, there was no guarantee I'd be able to TA if I stayed for this year...everything seemed to be telling me to make a new start. Besides, I did my coursework, I'm still interested in my topic, so maybe one day I can go back.
Kind of funny. You guys can't wait to finish grad school, and I'm already counting the days until I can start. I'm taking the GRE in April or May, the subject test in the fall, getting my letters of rec during the summer and sending out applications to my short list in December. Hoping to be in grad school by Fall '09, and I can't wait (granted, I already have an idea of what I want to research for my thesis and diss. )
90 percent of my dissertation was written after 10 pm. Probably explains why the expression "******** me" occurred so often in the first draft.
I have no memory of how I got my dissertation done. Of course, I was teaching 3/3 at the time. That year is a total blur. It took me 5 years from exams to defense. I will say that in my field (history) good seems to be more important than fast.
Well, everyone needs a real good dissertation disaster story, so here's mine.
I left my office for 5 minutes to use the gents this afternoon, and my ********ing laptop was stolen clean off my desk, along with the couple thousand words of pretty decent writing I'd done to start the thing, and files full of notes and pictures and what-have-you.
Good thing that I'd at least had the sense to save the dissertation on my flash drive.
Bad thing that the flash drive was stuck in the back of the ********ing computer.
My laptop isn't my principal computer, and I'll get over this (already reconstructing the parts that I lost), but, yeah....
I am really, really, really sorry to hear that. I had virtually all my photographs taken during my dissertation fieldwork stolen and to this day thinking about it can drive me to rage and despair. Your response sounds more useful and I hope the reconstruction ends up being a net gain.
So, yeah, I'm thinking mine was neither.
Wow...props to you for handling this in a mature and constructive manner. I know I wouldn't have. Then again, I'm not a mature person.*
*If you believe what my ex-girlfriends say. (Which you shouldn't!!)
I've followed along here since the thread started with one overriding thought in my mind: poor bastards! I can't think of any more frustrating time in my life than being ABD and on the job market at the same time. Plenty of chances to teach adjunct, but not much chance of getting a full time job until the thing was done. Like needs, I was a history guy, and in history, you have to be ready for the jobs on essentially one weekend in early January (the American Historical Association meetings). I went to the meeting and met up with about a dozen other folks who were ABD, all on track to be done by July and with both teaching and low level publishing on their CVs, and we netted a grand total of two interviews (none for me!). As soon as we were finished, we had opportunities. But traveling home from that meeting was as low as I can remember being - all while ABD.
So I offer my empathy and sympathy and best wishes. I think what was hardest was that we were led to believe that we were in good positions, and the expectations being so truly crushed was awful. I can't imagine being in a better professional position than I am now, but I didn't know how that would play out in January 2000.
As for finishing under pressure, I wrote the whole thing on a 3/3 as well, and the final three weeks int he same little bedroom as my convalescing wife and newborn second daughter. Those were some loooong days (18-20 hours), but if I felt like stopping I just had to look over my shoulder or listen to them breathing and know that I had to get back at it.
Happy ending? The job I ended up getting was posted the very same day on which I defended my dissertation in mid-July. Had I been ABD, I would not have been eligible for the position. So there's a positive ending here at least!
Well, that's a nice ending to the story, Ismitje.
I was also history, and about a year after passing my orals, I realized that I really had no desire to do the big AHA interview madness. Unlike a lot of my collegues, I couldn't really pack up and move across the country for a tenure-track job. I did some lecturing at a local state college, and I would have been happy to get a job there or at a community college--levels of education that I think a lot of people thought were beneath them, but because of my situation (my wife has a much more reliable and better-paying job; we were thinking about having a kid at that point) I wanted to stay local.
I love working in an academic setting, and I would have continued to be a lecturer if paid enough for what I am willing to go through for a hellish commute--when I first started teaching there, I lived much closer than I did at the end. I have an interview next week for a job in the admissions department of a university nearby.
I'm not caught up with some of the lingo on here: 3/3?
3/3 refers to the number of classes taught each semester - 3/3 would be three in the Fall and three in the Spring.
I started as Program Coordinator for something called the Martin Institute (which soon also became the Martin School of International Studies) at the University of Idaho - I applied only because the job was eight miles from my home university (and town) of Washington State/Pullman - it really was all about the proximity. But the job ended up being ideal, and what I thought might be a short term opportunity is now a place I'd be happy to spend my professional career.
Yeah, I went through the AHA interview process 4 years in a row, the first 3 while ABD.
Year 1: 2 interviews (one with one of the interviewees sitting on her unmade hotel bed, one in the hallway connecting the old and new wings of the Marriot Wardman Park in DC), ended up getting visiting replacement job at small liberal arts college.
Year 2: nada, visiting position got extended for a second year, defended in December of that year.
Year 3: 1 interview, ended up getting a postdoc
Year 4: 7 interviews, got very good job.
Everything Anteaters and Istimje said is true. The process is demeaning and extremely anxiety producing, especially the first time. The convention is a collection of the most nervous and socially awkward people in the country. No one doing the interviewing really believes that ABDs will actually get done by the time the job begins (an impression I didn't do a great job dispelling in my first couple years). But being done by the time you're applying to jobs (unlike my third year, where I was done but not defended) does seem to make a big difference.
3/3 is 3 courses per semester, both semesters. (And usually 3 preps). Which is doable while not trying to finish, and I guess people can finish teaching 3/3 as Istijme and I demonstrate, but it's certainly not ideal or conducive to sanity or relationships or life in general.
See, I was teaching at a Cal State on the semester system, but going to school at a UC on the quarter system. I only lectured for one course, because I was also TAing at my school. Made for a strange schedule.
My girlfriend is also ABD and went to the MLA Convention this year.
She's got a hot topic and sizzling letters of rec, decent publications but extremely promising and groundbreaking projects on the backburner. She's got campus interviews in stellar places, so I'll probably be the trailing spouse next year in either Miami, Houston or Chicago.
I, on the other, being a BS addict who recently finished the body of my dissertation (yeah! but it was sooooo anti-climactic) didn't get shit. Growl.
I've got a killer job prospect in LA at a huge community college, but my baby ain't got nothing in LA. She was a finalist for a job that just got canceled.
I have to reconstitute my defense committee b/c one of my guys up and died this summer, along w/ another prof, so all the PhD students are scrambling.
Yikes, that sucks. Good luck with the job!
I'm going to go ahead and sign off BS for the day and get more prelim studying done. Thanks for the motivation.
OK, I was just starting to regain momentum - by the end of the weekend I had rewritten the bulk of the chapter that got lost with the computer. Just getting back on the road, right?
Then I went out to play hockey Sunday evening and fractured my left arm right at the shoulder joint.
You could make the case that I've had a bad week.
I'm up at 6 am today, not really my usual routine, because the painkillers wore off around then and it is really causing me some serious pain. Just waiting for the drugs to kick in (hurry the f up!), but they'll also make me drowsy, which doesn't help the writing and teaching.
I'm not in history - rather, I'm in communications (media studies), and pretty happy about the fact that my program isn't nearly as long as that you history types have to endure. I'm also feeling better about the fact that I'm not the only ABD who's slightly dubious about the prospects of finishing and defending on time, even as I plan on it and work hard towards it. Albeit with one hand, currently.
I'm still ABD. And you?
I'm still in prelim-purgatory, and without a really clear diss idea to boot.
I am getting a few publications out this summer, though, so it's not all negative.
That's pretty awesome. I'm way behind on that.
I got a job recently, so my last couple weeks have been occupied by thoughts of moving...and feeling fortunate and happy over things have turned out. Back to the dissertation...soon?
My committee ended up working out, but... I'm still ABD b/c the *********ing department chair is a *******ing control freak micro-manager who operates by the book and wouldn't allow me to have a prof sit in on the defense via conference call.
So now I have to wait until September when everybody is back and in person.
But what a relief when my advisor said "send it to the committee", which in my dept means "you've passed, let's meet for cocktails after an informal chat 'bout something or other. So d'ya see that Spain won the Euro Cup?!"
After a week of not sleeping b/c I hadn't slept without my dissertation for years and years, I finally had the clarity to give my thesis a decent title instead of the dissertationy title that I'd had for so many years.