Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sick of it

I am sick of talking about my dissertation with other people. It's getting humiliating, actually. Not the work itself, but the time its taken me to complete it. Technically I'm two years ahead of my final deadline, which for me as a last-minute type of guy is a pretty big deal. Still, I'm sick of the judgmental looks I get from people when they ask about it. I'm sick of sharing small personal victories for myself about my progress that no one else really seems to believe are that big a deal. It feels like I'm being looked down upon when I talk about the progress I'm making, even though my progress has been decent lately. For example, instead of being happy for me that I've received feedback on this second-to-last chapter, and that it went well, I have seen colleagues roll their eyes. Or, they simply say nothing. Perhaps they are skeptical that I'll ever finish. Perhaps they wonder why I'm still bothering to work on this. I've even seen others literally fall asleep right in front of me when I do discuss the finding or the progress I am making, even when they were the ones who asked. Apparently, I have that effect on people. When did I become boring?

It hardly makes me want to walk at graduation because I won't be finished by then, and I don't think anyone is really going to understand that.

At this point, I'd rather end all of this dissertation stuff quietly, without anyone knowing about it, without all the pomp and circumstance, without hearing all the, "Finally," or, "At last!" comments I'm going to hear. I guess they'd be well-meant comments, but really, I don't think I'll want to hear that shit. From my point of view, I'm going as quickly as I can and still maintain a decent life at home and at work. This is not my top priority, and it never has been. The fact that I've still stuck with it, for me, is a pretty big deal.

So perhaps it's easier if I just stop talking about it till about a month or two after it's all over and done. I dunno, though. Wish I were better about keeping my big mouth shut.


chad said...

I remember, in my first or second year of coursework, fantasizing about the day I'd commence and get my diploma and all that. Then I got to the dissertation and no one besides a very select few were all that interested anymore. It's not an accessible experience for many folks. And colleagues either haven't done it or, if they have, they are already self-absorbed academics who can't show true empathy for others anyway.

There are plenty of us behind you. It's been a long road. And you'll run the last few laps on fumes. But you'll be degreed, and that's going to have implications for the rest of your career that you can't really estimate now.

chin up man. And also, stop bitching.

Rob said...

Thanks, Chad. That was really helpful. I'll shut up now. :-)

Breena Ronan said...

I'm not so far along as you, but my mantra is just to keep doing the next step, no matter how crappy things seem. I'm hoping that continues to work for me.